Day 9 | The Art of Distraction

thrifted green blazer

It’s not a secret that I don’t have great skin. Acne is a condition that I’ve been dealing with for over 10 years, and I talk about it fairly frequently here and in my daily life.

Two months ago, I started earnestly on a regimen of prescription Retin-A, which, if you don’t know, is a wonderful and terrible medication that treats acne by significantly increasing the rate of skin cell turnover. It’s wonderful because it works. It’s terrible because it spends weeks, or sometimes even months, essentially exhuming your face of any and every possible future pimple, bringing them all to the surface in the Breakout to End All Breakouts that is known throughout internet skincare forums as the Retin-A Uglies or, more elegantly, the Purge.

All that is to say, my face is a purge planet right now. Every day I wake up with little white pus-filled pimples all around my mouth that pop and bleed at the slightest provocation. It’s tough to deal with, but I know that I need to push through this phase if I ever want to see the glassy cherub face that surely waits for me on the other side.

To distract myself from the uglies, I’ve been trying to have more fun with outfits and makeup. Eyeshadow is my go-to for days when the acne is particularly bad, because in my mind, it draws the eye up and away from my mouth, where the majority of my pimples are concentrated. Today, though, I went for a sparkly green shade I rarely ever wear, and by the time I realized it was too much, it was too late to take it off and start again. I just had to roll with the 80’s vibe and head to work like I planned it that way.

too much eyeshadow
My face when I realized it was too late to abandon ship.

I think the real nail in the coffin was that I matched my eyeshadow to my blazer pretty much exactly, and a lot of people noticed and mentioned it. Normally I don’t mind being a little extra at the office – I like compliments! What can I say? – but today I felt like I was wearing a costume.

Here’s the outfit sans eyeshadow. Actually kind of chic, I think!

green blazer black dress

I’m wearing a blazer from Goodwill, a thrifted J.Crew cami, and a thrifted Eileen Fisher skirt. My shoes are from Everlane.

Before I sign off for the evening, I would just like to ask that you please not offer me any acne advice in the comments. Remember that this has been on my mind (and face) for ten years, and that I’ve read it all, tried it all, and have opinions on it all. I have a doctor. I treat my acne like the medical condition that it is. Thank you in advance for not telling me to go vegan or attempt DIY alchemy on my face.

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11 thoughts on “Day 9 | The Art of Distraction

  1. I so appreciate you sharing your skincare journey with us! It’s not easy but hearing other people talk candidly about it makes it easier for me (and probably many others) to accept our own skin problems. I really love your writing style and tone 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. First of all, screw acne. Second, thank you for sharing about your journey with it. I get stuck feeling like I’m the only one who hasn’t figured out a skin care routine/diet/whatever that works for their face.


  3. I went through the purge last October and it has been 100% worth it. You can do it! I’m rooting for you 🙂




  4. As a 10-year veteran of Retin-A (0.1%) use, the purge/initial breakouts and dryness/peeling from when your skin is first adjusting is likely to get a lot better. I’ve generally not had side effects from the Retin-A after the first few (very, very difficult) months. The only other time was when I accidentally got some on my lips, that resulted in some really weird, dry, and scaly texture there for 1-2 weeks (completely resistant to lip balm, I was applying the heaviest moisturizer I had several times a day during that period).

    Only other long-term issue is that there seems to be a limit to how many harsher, more clinically proven and “active” skincare ingredients my skin can handle for regular use, and the Retin-A doesn’t leave much room for anything else, including other prescription topicals.


    1. Oh dang, .01% is strong! I use 0.025% and it still gives me scaly fingertips if I don’t wash my hands properly after applying! Glad to hear that you had success with it after the first few months!


  5. Long time reader, first time commenter, hi!
    I don’t have advice, I promise, but rather a word of encouragement for you. Keep sharing whatever struggles you’re comfortable with divulging (money/acne/etc), as it reminds those of us who also struggle that we’re not alone. It’s so eye-opening to read your blog and consistently see true honesty and self disclosure from you. It’s like learning a truth everyone else knew all along, a sense of “Where has this been my whole life?!”, as well as “What are the other bloggers even talking about?”. And it is so appreciated.
    On that note, you look lovely here, I think. It’s definitely a bolder look make-up wise than the normal, but who doesn’t love a little experimentation every now and then? And as someone who has changed their hair color dramatically more than a few times, I know firsthand how thrilling it can be to find something you previously thought impossible now looks amazing. Here’s to more branching out in every direction!


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