That Youthful Glow

When I was 15, my family took a vacation to Hawaii, which was a very big deal. It was one of the few vacations I remember that didn’t involve an epic cross-country road trip to visit relatives spread across the Midwest. Not that we didn’t enjoy those trips too.

But Hawaii.  H A W A I I. This was huge.

While we were on this much anticipated, memory-making trip, I acquired an unfortunate souvenir.

My very first case of pimples. Topped off with a very nasty sunburn, as a consolation prize.

So now when I tell people that I have the skin of a 15 year old, they think I’m kidding. I wish that were the case, but it’s not funny. Not at all.

See, now I have fought the good pimple fight for over 30 years. Even when I think I am winning the war, it’s only temporary. They get stronger, bring in their nasty in-laws, set up shop, and start their voodoo. Why they call it “adult acne” I have no idea, since this is the same acne I have had since way before adulthood. What, did it grow up with me or something?

I have tried so many pills/creams/potions/acne systems/witches brews over the years. Each time something works for a while, I relax and forget about my face.

And the zits get angry.

I think even my zits have zits. There is probably some dermatological term for that, but I’ll just call it zits on zits. When I spackle make up my face in the morning and attempt to cover them up, they wind up looking like small wasp nests on my chin, covered in mud. If they were on my forehead, I could go back to bangs and hide them, but I am NOT willing to grow a beard.

Since I work with elementary school kids, of course these trophies on my chin often become a source of discussion. Not in a polite way, either.

“Mrs. K, what is that thing on your chin? Does it hurt? Why do you have that? Eewwww!” It takes everything I have to keep from saying what I really want to say……. “Get ready kid, because by my calculations you are only about 7 years away from having a crop of your own!”

The last few prescriptions I had worked pretty well together if you did them in the right order. But now there’s a new catch. You could get these new prescriptions at a reduced price, using a special card, for three months.

And then they go up to $50 a month. Each.


I think the acne drug manufacturers must hire former drug dealers as their marketing and sales dudes. Think about it; the premise is almost the same. Lure you in with cheap promises of happiness and clear skin. String you along for a few months, as you keep coming back for more of that good-looking, zit-free skin.

And then…..BAM! Fifty bucks, please. Oh, times three.

You want it, you know you do. But there is that little voice inside your head speaking ever so softly “think of all the other things $150 could buy.” So maybe you do it once, but then you quit cold turkey. Swear you can do without them, those clear skin pushers.

It’s tough for a while; you try and go back to the basics of skin care and beat them at their own game. You feel victorious and proud; maybe buy yourself a few new jars of spackle makeup items to help. Things seem to be really going your way….maybe you are finally going to outgrow your teenage acne, after all these years!

And then they come back. With all their nastiness, bad karma, and voodoo. The Adult Zits.

Maybe they’ll give me some more free samples. You know, just to try them out for a while.


  1. I've fought with acne all my life ugh. I get your post.
    I find white paste toothpaste burns those suckers off. At night I dab a wee bit on it and by morning it's on it's way out the door.

  2. Thats gotta be so frustrating Sherri I'm sorry ๐Ÿ™

  3. Bethany @ Organic Enchilada says:

    That sucks. I wish I had a magic tip to cure you. Alas, all I can give you is my sympathy.

  4. Booyah's Momma says:

    Seriously… I thought after one got to a certain age, pimples went by the wayside. WRONG, says the little bugger currently smack dab in the middle of my face. Please let me know if the voodoo works.

  5. Zits…yuck!! HATE 'EM!

  6. Middle Aged Dreamer says:

    As I type this I am wearing my new glasses which my husband pointed out to me are the same exact style I had in 5th grade… Between that and other things I am definitely revisiting adolescence. PS The toothpaste really works…

  7. I have the same problem! I was kinda hoping that once I hit my 30's they'd magically disappear _- but I guess there's no guarantee. Can't believe the meds are so expensive — why can't our vanity come cheaper?!

  8. We need to commiserate.

    I too am a multi-decade battler. you describe the highs and lows of battling it so perfectly…how clear skin for a short time can just make you feel fabulous. And how down and frustrating it is when it's not clear.

    I, too, am currently on my third set of megaexpensive antibiotics and creams (tetracycline was never this expensive), I'm on those darn savings cards that are a pain, and nothing has worked so far. This round of acne is one of the worst I've had since being a teen.

    It's so bad that my husband thinks I should go back on the pill. I have the under the skin zits…that are literally covering my entire face. it's just bumps everywhere. The good news is, at least I don't have the giant painful ones right now. I'm an optimist, you know.

    ProActive worked for awhile while I was pregnant; thinking about going back to it but who knows. so frustrating!

  9. The Ninja says:

    Ughhh…now see, I would have called out the drugs so that maybe they would see the post and send me some freebies. Blogging 101..the mom blogger is very powerful.

  10. Lula Lola says:

    I recently saw my doctor. At our appointment, we discussed ADD, adult acne and possibly arthritis in my knees. I've got juvenile and geriatric stuff all at once. Where's the fairness? Can't there be a time that none of this stuff is a factor in my life. Next thing you know, I'm going to be incontinent!

    The drug companies really have us between a rock and a hard place. So wrong!
    Have you checked out Her skin stuff really is cool and works well!

  11. You know, I've gotten more zits as an adult than I ever did as a teenager. I'm actually lucky in that I only get one, maybe two, at a time. I count my blessings! By why am I getting ANY zits at 31? I mean, c'mon!

  12. Melissa (Confessions of a Dr. Mom) says:

    Ugh …me too! I find I have to change it up every now and's still hit or miss. I thought by now, I'd know what works. Seriously these darn hormones do me in! Retin A products work for me but it's not cheap!

  13. Mrs. Fine says:

    And here I thought I was the only adult still using an acne face wash as my every day face wash. The curse of 'staying young', I guess!

  14. kate asks me what they are when she sees them on my face!

  15. Polished Portrayal says:

    I'm so lucky to have never had to deal with the struggle of acne, although I did have my fair share of other issues as every teenager does. My skin is incredibly dry… Which means? Serious old lady wrinkles.

    And in response to your $50 a month prescription- I hear you. The only lotion that works for my horribly sensitive, dried out face is $120 a bottle- $50 a month. Sigh.

  16. Hey Sherri-

    Stop by my blog, I have a Chaos award to give you ๐Ÿ™‚

  17. Mrs.Mayhem says:

    Acne stinks. I have battled it since my teen years, and it seems to be getting worse as I get older!

  18. susie @newdaynewlesson says:

    Got to your blog through Mrs. Mayhem.

    Was thinking-have you ever read the book You can Heal your life by Lousie Hay?

    Think it may be interesting for you.

  19. Joey @ Big Teeth and Clouds says:

    I'm right with you except mine started a bit earlier. I did get a little break from age 25 to 29. Now it's back baby.

    I did accutane as a teenager. It was supposed to "cure" me. It only served to mess up my intestines.

    It's stinkin' 2010, you're telling me docs can't get rid of pimples???