Going topless

"I wanted to lock myself away until the blemishes were gone."

I didn’t have bad acne on my face. My problem with acne was on my chest and the back of my neck. The acne on my chest was quite severe and very distressing especially during summer when it came time to hit the beach with friends. I would spend most summer swimming in a T-shirt.  

It was also very painful, I was unable to play any contact sports, as a knock on the chest would be agonizing and start several eruptions of bleeding pimples from my neck to my sternum.

The acne on the back of my neck was not as extensive, however some of the blemishes would grow to the size of a 20-cent piece. These would be very painful and constantly weep. I have scarring to this day and some reoccurring blemishes.

These times were extremely distressing for me, as this kind of acne seemed abnormal and a little freakish, at least to me anyway. The embarrassment I felt when people would point out the blemishes on my neck was insurmountable and if they got a look at my chest the screwed up look on their face and the groan of disgust would be enough to make me want to lock myself away until the blemishes were gone.

“This kind of acne seemed abnormal and a little freakish.”

The other solution was to go back to my GP for another seemingly worthless acne drug. Most of the drugs he could prescribe did very little. It was only when he referred me to a dermatologist who then prescribed Roaccutane (isotretinoin) that I started to see results.

In as little as two weeks the little amount of acne on my face was gone and after a month or two my chest was clearing along with my neck. By the time summer came around again I was able to walk around without a shirt on without any screwed up faces looking on. This was a great feeling compared to previous summers.

I still get a little acne on the back of my neck which come and go in times of stress, and get in the way a little when I get my haircut. But all things considered my acne is a lot tamer since my course of isotretinoin.

With respect to the claims that isotretinoin causes depression, in my case, they are wrong. If anything I have been less depressed since. At school I was shy, not very popular and a bit of an academic underachiever. After my acne cleared I was practically a new person, with a drive to succeed and willing to take on anything.

Since leaving school I have always worked hard to keep succeeding and getting ahead. At the age of 29 I have almost completed a Construction Management degree where I am on track to graduate with honours. Upon leaving I have ambitions to manage the largest construction project I can find.

There are probably many factors that contribute to my drive to succeed, but without that boost to my confidence in my latter teens I would never have taken the first topless steps towards this life.

“After my acne cleared I was practically a new person.”