By Maggie Kim
Giant cysts started appearing. Despite the growing cultural movement of feeling more comfortable in your (aging) skin, my then mental state took these face invaders as the ultimate in humiliation.
Read more about Maggie's journey.
I was already in the lowest place I'd ever been.
Priya Patel, the certified physician assistant who oversees The Pimple Place in Santa Monica, CA, assures me that my woeful acne tale from a few years prior isn’t unusual. “You are not alone. Adult acne happens a lot and is more common in women. It’s always our hormones."
Patel points out what I did wrong — and right: “Over-the-counter benzoyl peroxide is great as a spot treatment, but 10% is too strong. It’s going to cause more irritation. Using 5% or less is better,” she says. “Blue light therapy works because bacteria can’t survive in that wavelength, and it decreases inflammation.”
The hormonal war zone on my face reflected my all-encompassing anxiety over my divorce and custody battle. I had to find ways to manage my stress, so I returned to meditation and discovered breathwork.
I rediscovered what is solid within me, surrendered what no longer was, and accepted that yes, I’m in my 40s, single again, softer in the middle with recurring cystic acne. It wasn’t necessarily pretty, but the transformation is beautiful.