Adult Acne and Me

Jasmine Alleva
5 min readOct 7, 2019


Image from Deccan Herald

A couple summers ago I forked up 200 dollars to see a dermatologist. A bumpy rash had broken out around my chin and while I thought it was some emotional reaction to my ex-boyfriend making me go to yet another wedding with him (and still not taking me back), it turned out to be good old-fashioned ACNE. I’m well aware that that still could have been an emotional reaction, but I’m not giving that guy credit for ruining my heart AND my face. One or the other, homie. YOU DON’T GET ALL OF ME.

I grew up without health insurance, which was fine because if I got strep throat for the millionth time, my mom was ready with some homeopathic bullshit that usually worked after three months of swallowing past gourd sized tonsils and coughing my stomach into my throat. I would go to the doctor if and ONLY IF I was about to die. As a model (and overall vain 20-something), acne wreaking havoc on my face seemed like a life or death situation. But I would try everything in the homeopathic book first except for like, rubbing my own urine on my face (though I considered it for a half second, not going to lie).

Acne came out of nowhere. I mean, the first time I EVER got a pimple in my life was AFTER high school. And it was on my ass, so who cares? That little shit apparently worked his way up to my face and then multiplied like someone fed it after midnight. I didn’t know how to deal with it. It seemed like I missed the bus for forming the necessary skill set in combating acne. While everyone in middle school was looking like greasy pizza, I was eating it and reveling in my clear skin, and look, I understand what karma means now. I would have been much better off if I did have acne in junior high because that place was already a prison. How much worse could it have been with a few pimples? I was already dripping sweat and growing pubes, man!

Google told me Eva Mendes put toothpaste on her pimples. She’s married to Ryan Gosling, right? Naturally, I went to the grocery store immediately, bought a tube of Crest, and returned home to lather my face. A thick layer of mint covered my pores as my skin burned beneath. Wait, isn’t fluoride bad for you? Isn’t that what we learned in chemistry? I freaked out and wiped it off after five minutes. No change. Does Eva Mendes even do this? Is she even a real person? I DON’T KNOW. Next up: egg white mask. “Yeah, healthy people eat these! This HAS to work!” The mix smelled like shit. I put layer after layer on my bumpy cheeks until it dried and cracked. After washing it off, I saw no change AGAIN. I was getting pissed. My older brother had acne back in the 90s and used that Neutrogena Grapefruit wash. It had been well over two decades since the 90s, but those rectangular bottles of pure acid still graced the grocery store shelves (and still do — WHY? WHO THE FUCK KNOWS?) and I thought, “HERE IS MY ANSWER.” Hell to the no. Bumps took over my skin like I was a toddler after a chicken pox playdate.

I would go through a few years with flare ups, changing my diet by mixing in some water and vegetables with the steady ingestion of Sugar Free Redbull and Taco Bell combos. I was somewhat adamant in clearing my skin, even opting to try Proactiv before I realized that shit auto charged my credit card and basically felt like putting my face into a nuclear core. It would take that rash around my chin to drag myself into a dermatologist’s office and finally get some prescription strength acne control.

After sitting in a bland hospital room for no more than four minutes, I was told to use Differin, a face cleanser, and lotion every, single day. I was also prescribed a topical medication. Because I’m a broke broad, prescriptions come with a deep breath as they are usually reach. I checked how much the price tag for clear skin would be: 560 dollars. GET THE HELL OUT OF HERE. I crumpled up the piece of paper my joke of a doctor sprawled that bullshit on and threw it in the trash. I had already paid 200 bucks to listen to this woman tell me that I have acne as if I couldn’t see that shit in the mirror. But I did adhere to the other things she told me and for the most part; my skin was fairly clear… until RECENTLY.

You know how people say that being a woman is the best and nothing in the world can be better? Like, periods are fun and hormones are incredible and I’m lucky — neigh — BLESSED to have these ovaries and boobies and whatever else? Oh, no? Me FUCKING either, dude. Every month around the time my uterus decides to cry its lining because WAH WAH ANOTHER MONTH WITHOUT A BABY IN ME, JASMINE, my skin reacts to that bullshit by writing “WHAT THE FUCK?!?!?!?!?!?!?” in braille on my cheeks. One of the other gifts I got with female adulthood was anxiety, so you know what I do? I PICK AT THOSE PIMPLES.

We’re beyond Differin, a face cleanser, and lotion at this point. This is between me and my hormones, who love to play this damn game with me every four weeks, because now I REALLY don’t have money to see a dermatologist — no less pay for a prescription that I’d have to sell my kidney to afford.

After picking my skin into a massive scab, I have to practice patience. I can wait it out. Usually these bad boys go away in about three weeks, JUST IN TIME for some other monsters to take their place. Adulthood is so unfair. I’m broke, pimply, and overall lost. But I’m still not rubbing my urine on my face, but trust me, I’ve thought about it.



Jasmine Alleva

I was born and raised in Anchorage, Alaska, growing up in a warehouse in Anchorage's industrial district. Now I live in airports and stand in front of cameras.