Bloody Sheets

By: Constanza Hernández Concha

MIGA Blog- Cotty owning acne

*** Blog has been translated from Spanish to English, scroll down for the Spanish version***My first breakout was when I was 9 years old. After a year, bumps started to appear in my face, back and chest. Soon after, it became nodular or severe acne. When I was 11, I started taking Isotretinoin, also known as Roaccutane. In that moment I did not know what I had so I would usually describe it as “several blemishes lumped together filled with blood that at any moment can explode.”It was always hard for me to control my acne at school. Very often my skin would stretch out to the point where it would break and stain my clothes, desk and exams with blood and pus. It was so unpredictable.

For two years, I slept on my back so that I would avoid the pain of bursting the blemishes at night and not stain my sheets.My acne gave me a lot of unwanted attention. Many were grossed out or scared because they thought that if they touched me they would get infected. I also received a lot of questions like: Did you burn your face? Aren’t people scared to touch you and get dirty? How can your mom kiss you with all of that? This last question has now become how can your boyfriend kiss you? And the answer is always the same, normal, just like anyone else would because acne is normal.

I have gone through many treatments of Intralesional Triamcinolone injections, over 100 peelings, and I took for four years uninterrupted, Isotretinoin of 80mg and 40mg daily. During the seven years I have had this condition, I have never gone out into the street without sunscreen or a hat that can protect me from the sun. Taking Isotretinoin helped me for a while but a month after I finished the treatment, I had a new breakout. This was a very low blow for me and I was sad for months. After nearly two years since I stopped the treatment, some side-effects remain like extreme dryness in my skin, lips, eyes and hair; stunted growth, since I took it during my development years, and significant eyesight loss. I understood that I can’t avoid something from happening, but what I can do is face it with a good attitude.

Something that has shocked me my whole life is the beauty standard that exists in Venezuela. In my country there are so many modeling agencies, filled with boys and girls that want to be famous, appear on TV, or simply be seen. Fortunately, my chilean parents were never taught that in order to go far in life you had to be good looking. That was the cultural difference that marked me, a small difference that helped me cope with my skin condition in a country with a culture that gives way too much importance to appearances.

In Venezuela and in many other parts of the world, it is common to see young girls wanting to be perfect like the girls on TV and they are taught by society to use makeup, be voluptuous and beautiful, instead of focusing on enjoying their youth. Most girls dream to become Miss Venezuela, I dream to be happy with what I have instead of carrying a label.I am proud of what I have. My friends and family have always supported and taken care of me. That is what really matters in life, not your problems or difficulties but who is by your side when the going gets tough.

My skin condition is hereditary and doesn’t have a cure but I don’t think it needs a cure because acne made me the resilient 16-year-old girl I am today. It made me feel comfortable with my scars and understand that having this condition is out of my control. Acne taught me how to defend and have confidence in myself. After being scared of something that caused me insecurity, pain and hate, I understood that the worst of times can only make us better.

You can follow Constanza @skinnoshame

Mi primer brote fue a los nueve años. Luego de un año fue que aparecieron los quistes en mi rostro, espalda y pecho. Poco después se convirtió en acné conglobata. A los once comencé a tomar Isotretinoina, o más conocida como Roaccutane. En ese entonces no sabía lo que tenía, usualmente lo describía como: ”varias bolas juntas repletas de sangre que en cualquier momento pueden explotar”.Siempre fue muy difícil controlar mi acné conglobata en la escuela. Muy seguido, mi piel se estiraba de tal manera que al romperse manchaba mi ropa, el escritorio y los exámenes con sangre y pus. Todo eso era impredecible.

Durante dos años, dormí boca arriba para evitar el dolor de explotar los quistes en la noche y así, no manchar mis sábanas.También, llamaba mucho la atención a causa de mi acné. A muchos les daba asco y miedo porque pensaban que si me tocaban los iba a infectar con enormes protuberancias. Además, he recibido preguntas como: ¿Te quemaste la cara?, ¿No les da asco tocarte y ensuciarse? y ¿Cómo tu mamá te besa con todo “eso”? el cual, ahora se convirtió en ¿cómo tu novio te besa?, y la respuesta será siempre la misma, normal, porque el acné es normal.

He pasado por varios tratamientos de inyección intralesional de triamcinolona, más de 100 peelings y tomé por 4 años ininterrumpidos, Isotretinoina de 80mg y 40mg diariamente. A lo largo de los 7 años en los que he tenido mi condición, no he salido a la calle sin protector solar o sin un sombrero que me cubra del sol. La Isotretinoina me ayudó en su momento, pero al mes de haber terminado mi tratamiento, volví a tener nuevos brotes. Eso fue un golpe muy duro y estuve muy triste por meses. Varios de los efectos secundarios que aún persisten después de casi 2 años de haber dejado las pastillas son: la sequedad extrema en mi piel, labios, ojos y cabello; la dificultad para crecer, ya que la tomé en etapa de crecimiento, y pérdida de la visión significativa y rápida durante mi tratamiento. Entendí que todo lo que sucede no puedo evitarlo, pero que sí puedo llevarlo con buena cara.

Algo que me ha sorprendido durante toda mi vida ha sido el estándar de belleza que existe en Venezuela. En mi país hay un montón de academias de modelaje, con chicas y chicos deseando ser famosos, aparecer en medios de comunicación o simplemente, ser observados. Afortunadamente, mis padres chilenos nunca fueron acostumbrados a tener que ser guapos para ser alguien en la vida, que ser reconocido por tu físico no es el premio gordo. Esa fue la diferencia cultural que me marcó, una diferencia mínima pero que me ayudó a sobrellevar mi condición en un país con una cultura que le da mucha importancia a las apariencias.

En Venezuela y en muchas partes del mundo, es común ver a niñas pequeñas queriendo ser perfectas como las chicas en la televisión y son incitadas por la sociedad a maquillarse, ser voluptuosas y hermosas, en lugar de enfocarse en divertirse en su corta juventud. Muchas chicas sueñan con llegar a ser Miss Venezuela, pero yo sueño en poder ser feliz con lo que tengo, en lugar de llevar una etiqueta.Y me siento orgullosa con lo que tengo. Mis amigos y familia siempre me han apoyado y se han preocupado por mí en cada momento. Eso es lo que de verdad importa en la vida, no los problemas o dificultades de uno, sino quienes están a tu lado en esas situaciones.

Mi condición es hereditaria y no tiene cura, pero siento que mi acné no necesita una cura porque me hizo la chica que soy hoy, a mis 16 años, y me hizo sentirme a gusto con mis cicatrices a lo largo de mi cuerpo y entender que no es mi culpa. Me hizo aprender a defenderme y tener confianza en mí misma. Luego de tenerle miedo a algo que me causa inseguridad, dolor y odio, comprendí que lo peor nos hace mejores.

Puedes seguir a Constanza @skinnoshame

1 comment

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