Subscribe to Lemonada Premium for Bonus Content

once upon a time there was a girl named jennette who struggled with acne. she then became a woman named jennette who still struggled with acne. this was a confusing and frustrating journey for her. until she met a handsome prince named benzoyl peroxide. only, the story is a lot more complicated than that. listen to the episode to hear the full fairytale.



Jennette McCurdy

Jennette McCurdy  00:00

Okay, I want to talk about acne.


Jennette McCurdy  00:22

I’m 31 and I am still struggling capital S struggling with acne. I struggled with it my entire life since I was maybe, you know, 15, 16, and as a kid, naturally my skin was really smooth. You know, by 12, 13, 14 people start getting blemishes, there weren’t any insight for me just smooth, flawless skin until puberty hits. Initially, I thought it was happening for me because of I was on TV, and then I’d have to have like, thick caked on makeup under the bright lights, it was a sitcom set, so you’re very far away from the cameras and they just kind of pound on the makeup so you don’t look dead. I’m very pale, and I can look very corpse like very easily. So they would just kind of pack that on, and I thought, okay, it’s a result of just makeup for 12 hours a day plus bright lights, and it’s just seeping into my pores. And I tried a lot of Honestly, my mom had me try a lot of stuff then but I don’t know. I used to think she was like a skincare expert. Now, the older I’ve gotten and the more clarity I’ve gotten on her I’m like, I don’t know what she was doing there. Anyway, I thought it was just because of bright lights and heavy makeup. And then you know, and of course this I was on shows for like years. And then it stopped and not the acne did not stop the TV shows stopped and I still had acne. I would try keeping my face makeup free as many days as I could but also the biggest thing for me is it makes me so insecure. Oh, my God, you guys. Like it just, it affects my self esteem really negatively, like, if I’m having a good skin day, I’ll feel so much better about myself, and there they are few and far between. And then most of the time when I’m really struggling just makes me feel kind of crummy, but anyway, I was saying I would try to keep makeup off my face, but I’d be insecure about being makeup free, so then I’d wear makeup which would kind of perpetuate the cycle. So it couldn’t really get any traction, started seeing a dermatologist. I’ve switched dermatologists probably eight times since I’ve been like 24 and they’ll all you know, prescribe the usual suspects. I think God had been down this road before that maybe a different dose, maybe a different combination. Different cocktail of things. Maybe that’ll work, it never does. I’ve tried just to name I’m just going to rattle off a couple of names. I’ve tried, you know Acylic acid, I’ve tried Niacin Amide, I’ve tried Alpha arbutin, I’ve tried Tretinoin, and I’ve tried to Zero 18, I’ve tried various kinds of over the counter kinds of retinol, I’ve tried Clindamycin Doxycycline Spironolactone, I even tried Accutane, I tried the lowest dose of Accutane for a couple months. And here’s why I stopped Accutane. You have to take a test to show that you know all the risks involved in you have to sign a contract saying that you will not get pregnant under no circumstances will you get pregnant while taking Accutane. The reason is, Accutane has been proven to show like birth defects. So you have to be on two forms of contraception. You have to go and you have to get bloodwork once a month and you have to go into your dermatologist after getting your bloodwork every month just to check up. You’re just kind of also giving a dermatologist an opportunity to see your skin up close and how your lips are peeling off because that’s a side effect of Accutane. So, I’ve been on for maybe two months, it was like my third month and I’m supposed to go into an appointment from a dermatologist that day. And I was like in a in a bad mood. And I didn’t want to go to my dermatologist, it was like the last thing I wanted to do. You know when you when you wake up and you see that appointment on your calendar that you like, fuck, like, well, there goes my Wednesday, like that’s how I felt seeing appointment. I just didn’t want the bummer of like going into my dermatology office and seeing the same fucking posters in the same fucking rooms. There is nothing more depressing than the posters in your doctor’s office. It’s always like a woman with yoga pants and like a heathered cotton T gray hair and a headband and the biggest fucking smile you ever seen. And then it’s like Spironolactone or like, whatever the advertisement is, which by the way, I’ve also tried. Anyway I call in to cancel my appointment, I like tell the receptionist, hey, I can’t come in today. I’m gonna have to reschedule. And she’s like, okay, I’ll tell, I’ll tell your dermatologist. She calls me back, like 15, 30 minutes later. goes, hey, so I spoke with her and she actually said, you know, Could you could you please come in? And I’m like, no, I, I can’t like I made up some excuse. I didn’t want to just, you can ever say the real thing, which is just like the I just, I literally don’t want to go to you guys today. Like, I didn’t say that. But I was like, No, I can’t like something came up or whatever. And she goes, Okay, let me let me tell her, I get another call, like 10 minutes later. And she sounds like strep. The reception sounds like stressed out and she goes, hey, so I spoke with a dermatologist again, and she says you really need to come in, okay, like this, and I’m like, what the? What is my, what is the reception sound so like stress she okay, like, what’s there? What’s going on? Like, what is this? And I go, I can’t make it, like can I just come in next week? And she goes, no, because we got the results of your blood work, and there’s a pregnancy.


Jennette McCurdy  06:20

I was shocked, I felt like I got the wind knocked out of me. My head was spent like I was so dizzy I involuntarily sat on on the edge of my bed, It was like one of those things where I didn’t even note my body just like fell onto the edge of my, my bed. And I was like, what? Like a cotton mouth. You know what? Even now repeating and my heart is pounding, oh, my God, it was it was so terrifying, and I’m recounting like, you know, recent sexual activities at the time. Like, I was replaying everything and thinking like, how is this possible? I don’t know this, how could this be like, what happened? What wasn’t working? How did this? How did this happen? And I’m like, okay, I’ll come right over. And I order an Uber, I’m in the backseat of the Uber, dizzy, the entire way, feeling like I’m gonna pass out or throw up are both like, awful, awful. Terrible, I get to the dermatology office, and they just like, bring me right in right back, and they’re like, so is there a chance that you could be pregnant? And I’m like, well, what you you said I was pregnant. You said there was a pregnancy? What do you mean? Is there a chance? It sounds like you know, there’s not just a chance, but there’s certainty like you, you called me here, honey. Like you said I was pregnant. And she’s like, well, sometimes there can be false pregnancies that come up on these because of your, like, I don’t know, hormonal levels or some some some fluctuations that happen because of the medication. And instantly, like I feel a blood rushing back in to my, I don’t know, biology, wherever the blood rushes back to. I’m like, wait, what? Why would you not say that this was not a certain thing right off the bat, and instantly, I’m feeling like a little flicker of hope. But I don’t want to get get my hopes up. She’s like, we don’t want to send you to get a nother bloodwork panel right away. To kind of clarify whether or not there’s a pregnancy. And then we can kind of go from there. And I’m like, okay, yeah, whatever, whatever needs to happen. I’m terrified, I go to get my my blood work. And I am not pregnant, and it is fine. But that experience was so terrifying that I was like, I gotta get off this shit. Like, this is not for me. But now here I am, you know, that was years ago. Here I am at 31 and still struggling with it. And also, I don’t know maybe you’re looking at as being like Genet your skin looks fine. First, if you can’t tell from an Instagram photo, second off, people that I know, well will be like, what are you talking? Because I I’ve spoken about my insecurity around my skin to a few friends and like what are you talking about your your great skin? And I’m thinking No, I don’t it’s I know how to put makeup on my face, like I know how to find a good foundation shade in the right application to kind of make my skin look as smooth as it can and it’s not super textured. But my when I get acne, it is so red and it is so inflamed and my skin just looks pained like my skin looks so stressed and so pained. And it just makes me feel so insecure and I thought for sure will go away by the time I was 20 when I was a teenager I was like, well, it’ll be gone, you know? First was at at that I’ll be it’ll be gone it then we you know by 20 It’s gonna be gone for sure, then I’m like, okay, by like 25 It’s gotta go away, right? Acne can’t stay with you and you’re 25, no. Okay, by the time I’m 30 for sure. No, now I’m 31 and I’m struggling just as much as I ever have. Who’s gonna say I’m considering posting a picture, but I’m too insecure to do it? You know, it’s, it’s interesting to me because I’m so, I can access vulnerability so easily in so many ways. But with my face, it’s hard, like with my words, I can with my face, I don’t think I can. And I wish it didn’t matter to me, I wish that I could be past caring about my acne, they just go oh, it’s whatever, it’s just a thing that I that I have, you know, who cares? But I care so much. I just wish my skin was smooth. I feel like dirty because of my acne. And it makes me sad that I feel that way about myself, but I’m not quite sure how not to. And I’ve I’ve seen you know every rabbit hole on YouTube about skincare and the way that people talk about you know, they talk about like I finally healed my skin and they talked about the absolute frustration and sadness that they had because of it beforehand and I absolutely resonate with that. And then I’ll try their method I’ll try somebody’s you know, secret Amazon product that they find are the all natural thing or the no natural thing like I’ll try I’ve tried everything. And the only thing I haven’t tried I guess is just accepting it and owning it. And maybe the reason that’s the only thing I haven’t tried is because that’s the hardest thing to try. You can, know pop another medicine capsule you can smear another cream on the face. Dab another gel put a new kind of pimple patch, cutips on the your little you know Mario Badescu Salicylic Ccid you can dab cream try it all but but this one’s the hardest is just like accepting it. I think I think that’s all I’ve got I have no wisdom. I have no insight. I just have heaps of insecurity about my acne. It’s just where I am with it. Frustrated, insecure and a little hopeless. And even in identifying that, like the one thing I haven’t really tried is to just kind of accept it the way it is. That almost feels like defeat. It’s just a bummer. It’s just a big big bummer. I first recorded this episode on acne a couple weeks ago and I was really in the hopelessness of it like my skin was really inflamed breakouts on I mean forehead, both cheeks chin, like lip air. It’s just like there was some kind of breakout on every portion of my face, there was no escape. I don’t know if you if you know acne if you’re a person who has experienced acne then you know the feeling of like, well, at least there’s that spot on my face it’s clear where it feels like maybe I can just showcase this one part of my cheek in photos. That was not the case it was kind of everywhere. And and I was feeling really, really down about it. And I’m re recording it now because I have found something that has worked. And it is called the Miracle of Benzoyl Peroxide. But it is not just the miracle of benzoyl peroxide. It is a very specific use of benzoyl peroxide. I’ve tried the cleansers, right I’ve tried the pan ox I’ve tried the therapy, I’ve tried the Setterfield cleansers. They haven’t really worked for me, but over like it’s I mean, in a week This has turned around I cannot believe it. I found a thing called short, I think it’s called short term contact use of benzoyl peroxide. And what I’ve done is I’ve gotten like a 2.5% benzoyl peroxide gel. And in the morning after I wash my face I put it on for like a half an hour and then I wash it off and put on my moisturizer and sunscreen. Then at night. I either leave it on overnight or I do the same thing where I keep it on for 15 to 30 minutes. This has changed my skin in the course of a week. I can’t believe it. That’s all for now. Bye.


CREDITS  14:35

There’s more Hard Feelings with Lemonada Premium subscribers get exclusive access to bonus content, and you can subscribe now in Apple podcasts. I’m Jennette McCurdy, the creator, executive producer and host of HardFeelings. It’s produced by Lemonada Media in coordination with Happy Rage productions. Our production team is Kegan Zema, Aria Bracci and Brian Castillo. Music is by Hannah’s Brown. Steve Nelson is Lemonada’s Vice President of weekly content. Rachel Neil is Lemonada Senior Director of new content. Executive Producers are Stephanie Wittels Wachs, Jessica Cordova Kramer and me. Listen ad free on Amazon music with your Prime membership.


Spoil Your Inbox

Pods, news, special deals… oh my.