My Battle With Bumps

My acne journey and how I learned to love my flaws.

My Battle With Bumps

At the age of 11, I had my first breakout, and by 13 I was on medication for full blown cystic acne. I tried Proactiv, Curology, day creams, night creams, every face wash you could think of, prescription oral medication, Proactiv again, dieting, prescription topical creams, Curology again, working out and dieting combined, oral medication, and prescription topicals combined, and anything else you could ever think of that would get rid of the bumps on my face. And yet, not one single thing completely took it away.

As the years went on, with each new so called “solution” I tried, my acne grew worse and worse, until my face, shoulders, neck, and chest were covered with big red raised zits that felt like deep bruises when even the softest of fabric touched them. What was worse was the scarring. Deep crevasses covered the minute amount skin that was not swollen, and turned my face into a living representation of the Himalayan Mountains. Before long, my acne was keeping me from going out in public what-so-ever. So much so that multiple times, I would consider quitting my job or calling in sick, cancelling plans with any friends, and sitting at home crying to myself about how I looked. Looking in the mirror became my worst nightmare, and yet I’d spend hours a day there, picking, scratching, and pinching in an attempt to fix even a fraction of the damage that acne had done. But alas, my efforts failed, and ended up actually worsening my condition. So finally, I’d had enough. I was going to the dermatologist and asking for the A word. The most feared drug in my family to this date. The drug that my extended family had to take more than once to see its effects. The drug that was partially the cause of my family member's depression. The drug that had so many side effects, it made you feel like living hell when you were on it. Or so I thought...

If I was going to take this drug, I needed to know that I was egging the best recommended one from the BEST dermatologist around. I went online and searched and searched for hours and hours, reading reviews, looking at pictures and stories and demonstrations for hundreds of dermatologists within and hour of me. Finally, I found a doctor that I trusted, and I booked an appointment to visit her the next available Monday. I also knew that, in order to take the big A word, I would have to be on birth control, so I booked an appointment to see my gynecologist the Friday before. Then, every day for the next week until my appointment, I studied all there is to know about the A word. I read articles, looked up books, I watched videos and demonstrations, I read monthly updates, and wrote down all the recommended products from every single person, I even contacted family members who had taken the drug, and interrogated them on what it was like. When my dermatology visit finally came, I was overcome with nerves about how the interaction might go, but I told myself that, if there’s anything that could clear up my skin for good, it was this. I walked in feeling prepared to hear anything the doctor might tell me, and thinking that I would get some sort of speech about how dangerous the big A word is. Once the doctor came in, I told her my history with acne, and what I had gone through, I explained the severity of my acne and how it was spreading as the years went by, and then I took a deep breath as I prepared to ask her the big question.

Instead she interrupted me and said, “Do you mind if I take a look at your skin up close for a second?”

I closed my mouth and nodded. She proceeded to turn my head and look at my back and chest. She did a few “hmm’s” and a few “ha’s” and then sat back in her chair. Before I could even open my mouth again she said the daunting words so easily, like it was no big deal:

“Have you tried accutane?”

I blinked at how easily she said, and recommended, it, considering that it was known for being the LAST resort when it came to skincare.

I laughed a bit and said, “Actually, that’s why I’m here!”

As I said those words, she was already grabbing a cup for me to pee in, and instantly handed it to me once I finished my sentence.

“Great! We’ll take your first pregnancy test today, and we can get you started in a month!”

So I did just that! And within a month, I was taking 40 mg a day of Myorisan (a generic brand of accutane) and it was already changing my life! Because I was so prepared, and knew all the things that could go wrong, I watched out for them, and had products that could help combat them in every way possible. I am now on my third month, and up to 80 mg a day, and I am THRIVING. Everyone on accutane talks about the side effects, and it’s scary to consider all of them. But once you actually start taking the medication, it’s not as bad as you think. Yes, you are VERY dry. Yes, you get VERY sunburned, VERY quickly. Yes, you will breakout before you start to get better.

BUTTTTT, you’re still living. You’re still breathing. You’re still yourself. You’re still okay. And the best part about going through all the annoying side effects is that you know that you’re getting better. And once you’re better, you’re all done! No prescription for life, no more medications galore, you’re done with accutane, and you can feel great about your skin again!

Yes, there are rare cases of people who have real problems because of accutane, but all you have to do is just watch very carefully for them, and know the necessary steps in order to do your best to avoid them. If you feel like they’re getting out of control, there’s an easy fix! Talk to your doctor! They are the experts!

Now just because my acne is almost non-existent now, doesn’t mean that I instantly felt completely okay with my body. If it’s not one thing, there’s always going to be another. So when my face started clearing up, I all of a sudden started feeling insecure about my weight, the shape of my face, the length of my legs, and a million other little things. The worst part about insecurities are that they're usually about parts of your body that you can’t change. So how was I ever going to get over this??

I decided that I was going to do three things:

1. I was going to do something about what I COULD change.

Let me explain: I was not going to change who I was in order to do this. Absolutely not. What I was going to do, was take the things that I felt were a good change in my life, and do them, in order to feel more confident and happier about the way I was treating my body.

So the way I did this was through exercise and healthy eating! I noticed that I was eating a lot of carbs and junk food, so I slowly cut that out of my diet, and replaced it with veggies and fruits instead! I also noticed that dairy often made me feel bloated and gross, and since it was a leading cause in my breakouts as well, I cut it out. I also made sure I was drinking plenty of water a day, since I had to do that while on accutane anyways! As far as working out, my goal was not to lose 50 pound or gain 100 pounds of muscle, but to do simple workouts every day where I could get my blood flowing, and make me feel more energized. As I did this, I began to feel better about myself, not because I saw any major changes, but because I was taking good care of my body and it was thanking me.

2. I was going to be thankful for the things I COULDN’T change:

Let me explain: If I were insecure about my face shape, I would thank the universe and God (or whatever you believe in) for the shape of my face every. single. day. If I were feeling insecure about my short legs that day, I would say thank you for them every single day.

Not only would I say that I was thankful, but I would say WHY I was thankful.

AKA—Thank you for my short legs, and my shortness in general. It helped me be a better gymnast, I get to wear any height of heels I want, and STILL not be taller than my fiancé, and it has helped me be more balanced and centered in my weight, which is GREAT for my posture and bones!

While this seems silly, it seriously helped me become happier with who I am, what I looked like, and how I treated other people as well! I started seeing other people’s insecurities as a positive for them, instead of judging them for them. If someone had big feet they were insecure about, I wouldn’t see that as a negative, rather a positive, because it also gave THEM more balance, just like me! I started seeing differences as similarities, and it not only helped me feel more confident, but compassionate and accepting as well!

3. Let the rest go with the wind.

Let me explain: Anything I could change, and I just could bring myself to be happy about, I let it go. I shut every thought down that made me think negatively about myself, and just changed the subject in my mind. If I was really feeling strange about the sound of my voice that day, I talked more than ever, and just ignored the voices in my head. Any time I would think anything that was negative, I changed the topic to things I loved about myself, or about the people around me. Having an attitude of not dealing with the bull{crap} got easier and easier to do, the more consistent I got. After a while, it got so second nature, that when others would express their grievances about their own bodies, I would instantly change the subject to the millions of things that I like about them, or the millions of things that make that insecurity a positive.

These three things may seem too simple in order to actually work, but I promise you that the second you give them your all, they are going to change your life. Yes, not having acne made me feel a tiny bit better about the way that I looked, but no matter what, we are ALWAYS going to have insecurities. It’s the fact of not feeding those insecurities, and instead feeding the positivity that will really decipher how much we allow them to affect us.

And if you ever need a pick me up, just contact me and I will list off a million and one things that make you special and who you are. :) Whether that be through my instagram @meg.borgholthaus or through email: [email protected], you are always welcome and you always have a friend in me. :)


Megs :)

Megan Borgholthaus
Megan Borgholthaus
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