I think I've returned to my senses. I did some research on one of my favorite websites, www.earthclinic.com, and I've found some alternatives to Retin A. One is apple cider vinegar, which I'm trying out right now, and the other is baking soda. My hair dresser had previously told me about the baking soda, I just haven't had a chance (re: motivation) to try it yet.
I get my hair cut at an Aveda salon in my neighborhood. It took me an embarrassingly long time to realize that Aveda is a play on words - Ayurveda. The salon uses many Ayurvedic principles, and my hair dresser and I started talking about acne the last time I was there. In her training, she was taught that breakouts on the forehead were caused by stress, along the nose is hormonal, and blemishes on the cheeks are related to diet. This made a lot of sense to me, since it all correlated with my specific breakouts.
I mentioned this theory to my dermatologist yesterday, and it was all she could do not to laugh in my face. After calling it "crazy talk" and "something that came from a guru", she basically told me to stop listening to whoever would come up with something so ridiculous.
Now everyone is entitled to their own opinion. To be honest, I don't know why I expected her to have any reaction other than the one she did. It was my reaction that disappointed me, and made me realize I still have a lot of work to do. I thought I was past the point of hiding my opinions when I feel strongly about something, but apparently not. Not only did I not stick up for my friend, I didn't stick up for myself. I let the fear of being criticized silence me - again.
So this is my challenge - to express who I am and what I believe in, no matter what someone else thinks. I know this isn't something I can change overnight, and I'm sure I'll have plenty of opportunities to practice. For now, I'll forgive myself and remember my current mission statement. "By accepting all of who I am, I joyfully move forward with grace and ease." Some things are easier said than done.