There’s no recipe for you today. I just couldn’t bear the thought of the tasty Chicken Saltimbocca that’s on deck being forever linked to my troubled skin.
Instead, I bring you a personal reflection about acne and my first encounter with a dermatologist. I almost wrote about the upcoming appointment weeks ago. For some reason, scheduling that appointment felt like failure. I couldn’t figure out why. Perhaps as a woman I’ve been trained by countless advertisements that as soon as I find the perfect facial care regimen my life will be filled with rainbows and unicorns, and, better yet, I’ll be able to splash water gleefully on to my face each time I wash it. Admitting I needed help with the seemingly intuitive gesture of washing my face, just reeked of failure… but so does the bevy of products I’ve left in my wake.
This isn’t even all of them. Some were more in the realm of sample sizes and were chucked months ago. I’ve bounced from Dermalogica (Winner for the most expensive face care I’ve every purchased) to Aveeno to Clinique (a standby from years past) to the Oil Cleansing Method (which yielded some success initially, but eventually faded) to smearing my face with raw honey. The raw honey felt like rock bottom because I couldn’t even explain to Hubster how this would supposedly help things. “This one girl with a blog said so” wasn’t convincing, nor should it be. So when he gently mentioned that maybe it was time to seek professional help, I was ready to listen.
Thanks to the wonders of social media, I quickly had a list of possible docs and chose the winner based the few online reviews of medical professionals online. Today was the day. I carefully cataloged all of my previous attempts at clear skin as I headed to the office. I pictured the doctor being interested in what I had tried, maybe even commending me for my solo efforts, and then steering my toward her favorite over-the-counter method or maybe suggesting I try a light prescription product.
Here’s how the approximately 10 minute visit actually* went.
Male student doctor: Are you on birth control?
Me: Not any more.
Male student doctor: Did it seem to help?
Me: Yes, I think so. Though I still had breakouts.
Male student doctor: You should probably get back on birth control.
He leaves and I wait.
Male student doctor, secondary male person in lab coat and physician enter room.
Physician (without really looking at anything): You should probably get back on birth control, which I can’t prescribe so you’ll need to see an Ob/Gyn. In the meantime, I can prescribe antibiotics and a few topicals that will dry you out. You should come see me in 3 months.
Secondary male person takes notes and they all leave.
*I may have paraphrased a little.
I was stunned and disappointed. Clearly my expectations were off. Maybe I should have stopped the doctor and laid out my laundry list of attempts to stay out of her office. Maybe I should have pointed out that it’s ridiculous that the clear solution here is hormones. But I didn’t. I left and cried tears of frustration on the way home for wasting $50 on the office visit.
There has to be some sort of middle ground here between smearing raw honey on my face and altering my body’s chemistry to take advantage of a side effect of clear skin, right? The choice can’t simply be “ugly face” or “pumped full of hormones”
TMI? Yeah, I know. Back to food tomorrow, I promise.