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Getting Acne in Your 20s: My Journey

I never had an acne problem in my teenage years. I know it sounds like I am boasting, but I think it explains my stupor when red dots started appearing around my mouth. It’s also the part of my face I am most insecure about, so thinking how everyone’s attention was going to that area has been the cause of much self-deprecation.

I never had an acne problem, until I moved to London. I don’t really know if it actually has to do with London — most likely it has to do with being in my 20s. I read lots of articles about acne affairs starting after your teen’s. Or maybe it’s just the stress of living alone for the first time, I’m not sure.

But I was in my 20s when I had to figure out how to battle acne for the first time. To this day, I have yet to figure out what exactly is that makes me break out. It’s been a long, never-ending journey and I made the promise to myself to forget the makeup for a while and focus on skincare solely.

Observe and take notice

When I realised the pimples where multiplying instead of going away, I had to start to take notice of what could be doing the damage. Yes, my eating habits were not the greatest (like, 2am greasy pizzas after work are a good example), but then I went vegan and started hoping all my problems were going to be solved (even the emotional ones). I was wrong.

A necessary outcome of the combination of being vegan and broke at the same time, it’s to eat lots of veggies. It turns out whole foods are actually the cheapest out there, especially when most of the fast junk food available is no longer an option (bye bye 2am pizzas). But even eating a mostly plant-based diet was not giving great results for my skin.

The unexpected culprit: toothpaste

I don’t know how, when or even where, but after a bit of research I found out that sulphites can cause red dots around your mouth. I frantically checked my toothpaste: it contained sulphites. Could that be the reason of my acne struggles?

Yes and no. I have exclusively used sulphite-free toothpaste for a couple of years now, and the redness did tame quite a bit. But it has never completely gone. It gets worse during my period, or when I’m stressed, but it definitely never leaves.

Not doing enough

I can honestly say I haven’t cared enough to take further action about it. Dermatologists are expensive and I’m fresh out of university, so you can’t blame me for putting off seeing one. Also, I don’t like using unnatural stuff on my face and I have this belief that they would make me buy creams I’d never use. As I talked about it in a previous post, I’m much easier on myself about the way I look since moving, so the redness has never been THAT big of an issue (also, concealers are of great help).

Where do I go from here?

I’ve now decided it is time to take the matter into my hands — literally. My skincare routine is about to receive a great boost and I can’t wait to see the results. I’m finally investing in some good products, keen to experiment until I win this pimple battle.


I will keep you updated.