What I Wore | Who Cares About My Outfit When All I Can See Is My Acne

author in an everlane cashmere crew sweater and black pants

I would give anything to get rid of my acne. I’d try any snake oil, any diet, any new experimental medication regimen. I’ve already tried a lot of these things, but the acne persists. It’s the gross kind of acne, too. Not just some redness or run-of-the mill closed comendones on my forehead – it’s the big, angry red things that show up all around my chin, mouth, and nose, that fill up with an oily head of white puss and sometimes pop when I talk or even smile. Did you recoil just reading that? Yeah, that’s how I feel when I look in the mirror most days.

Before you get all up in my comments to tell me the treatment or diet that works for you, I’m going to stop you. I’m glad it works for you, I really am, because no one should have to live like this. But it’s insulting when people assume that after having this condition for over a decade, I haven’t already explored all possible avenues, that I haven’t been down the rabbit hole of r/skincareaddition or that I haven’t sat crying in my doctor’s office for the umpteenth time while she prescribed me yet another medication.

Here’s what I know: my acne can be cured quickly and efficiently with hormonal birth control pills. It’s worked in the past, and I am sure it would work again in the future. But I can’t take that medication anymore because it exacerbates my migraines. When forced to choose one chronic health condition over another, well, at least I can go to work with a pimple (even if I do want to put a paper bag over my head).

So anyway, my outfit. I liked what I was wearing. I chose it specifically for my first day back at the office because I thought it was classically professional. This sweater lends itself very well to being tucked in. I’ve become friends with the lovely woman who is part-owner of the company that made these pants. It should have been a confident day.

But no matter how hard I tried to be happy with it, all I could see was my skin – red and puss-filled, and peeling thanks to a round of topical antibiotics and Benzoyl Peroxide I applied a few nights ago (very good at killing bacteria, also very good at making your face peely and itchy). It’s tough to see in the photo because I’m wearing makeup and I upped the exposure pretty heavily, but it’s there.

I came very close to dropping a bunch of money on a new K-Beauty haul from CVS after work (a bad habit I am prone to when I’m depressed about my skin) but thankfully I stopped myself, and my spirits were lifted after a good evening of rock climbing with my husband. I made a new friend in the locker room who said she loved my hair. Not a total wash of a day.

This post was a bit of a downer, but that’s real life sometimes, right?

Outfit Details

Sweater: Everlane Cotton Crew, Frost Donegal ($100, wearing size XS)

Pants: Bill + Jay Kate Pants ($174, wearing size S Petite)

Shoes: H&M (old, similar here)

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8 thoughts on “What I Wore | Who Cares About My Outfit When All I Can See Is My Acne

  1. Your outfit looks great! I had terrible cystic acne as
    a teenager( now I have scarring) back in the day they put me on large doses of antibiotics that came back to haunt me as severe vaginal infections. Sooo! I know how your feeling!! I went on a Paleo diet & too my surprise my Migraines fanished & now that I’m older and not so hormonal my skin has improved. There are so many choices & alternatives keep searching till you find something that works for you.🤗


  2. I went through a super intense bout of adult hormone acne RIGHT before my wedding last year and I used to just want to scream at people that told me to take care of my skin by eliminating stress or just not wearing makeup to let my skin breathe or whatever. All good advice but everyone’s skin is different! I feel (on a small scale) your pain with this. Just do what’s best for you and forget the rest!

    I also love love love your outfit today and you look so well put together. You really are lovely!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I want to echo others in saying your outfit is great and you look amazing! Acne is so terrible to deal with, on top of migraines too. So sorry you have to go through that. It seems like you’ve already thoroughly researched remedies, tried it all already, and don’t need any advice, but I happened to watch a video by a super knowledgeable dermatologist who I follow on youtube, on the topic of hormonal acne, that might be useful to other people: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=279a8Bxfav8


  4. Nailed the brief well with your outfit – I agree its classically professional! And P.S. I couldn’t see any acne in that pic.



  5. well you look amazing in your photo if that helps your mood any. i have a chronic skin condition (seb dermatitis) so i can totally empathize with your sadness. i have redness and bumps and flaky dryness on my face as we speak. and not to mention my hair is falling out because of the dermatitis on my scalp. i just try to find some perspective when things get bad. because things can always get worse. and it took me 2 years to find something to make my skin less worse, if that makes sense. so even though my skin isn’t amazing, it’s not the worse it’s ever been, and i’ll take it! hang in there. much like the weather, conditions change all the time.


  6. We all have something that we obsess over. It sucks. Mine is my stomach. I know it’s super cliche but no one notices stuff like that in the way that you do.

    Love your outfit here!


  7. Hormones are wonderful and also the pits. Echoing Laura’s statement that conditions change all the time. My hormonal acne in my 20s acted differently than that post-pill (that was 2 years of OMG), than that in my 30s, and now in my 40s. Different, ever-shifting hormonal imbalances in each case have led me to have to rejigger my approach (to that and my migraines) a number of times. The good news is…even if nothing’s working now, something may click and work amazingly well a few months from now. And the bad news is…each time I find something that works and get like eight months of relative relief…boom, my body shifts/charges, and I have to shift treatment for the “new” acne/migraines. :-/ So, I hear you on this. And I’m also a huge researcher, so I 100% understand how frustrating it is when someone says, “I dropped dairy and it all went away!” Like…I wish that’s all it took, and of course I tried that? So, if I give any advice off of my own experience, it’s to not write something off because it didn’t work previously (new year, new acne), and to give things long enough (like at least 2-3 months) before determining if they’re working. There were a few treatments I dropped early on, thinking they were having no effect after a month or so, that turned out to be my holy stinking grail once I stuck with them on a re-try. Also, food changes that I made helped a ton, but only after, like, 6 months away from the things I dropped (since it wasn’t a food intolerance, but allowing hormones to rebalance once I removed the foods).

    Love your outfit, love your honesty, and you’re making me miss rock climbing so bad that I’m thinking of looking for a gym where I am.


  8. My 25 year old daughter suffers with the same skin issues, and she too gets exasperated when people offer her endless suggestions, because believe me, the girl does her research and takes impeccable care of her skin and health! It’s just what she has to deal with for now, but she realizes she could have far worse problems.🤷🏽‍♀️ However, back to you…all I see is a beautiful young woman with fantastic style and gorgeous pictures!! And I love reading your blog! Amazing writing skills.👌🏼 Keep doing what your doing!!🙌


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