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Nobody likes getting a pimple, and we can probably all agree that pimples tend to come just in time for major life events like weddings, proms and picture days. If you’ve ever suffered from real, repeat acne though, you know that the shame and self-loathing that can come with just looking in the mirror is pretty damn real. And a lot more inconvenient than a standalone pimple once in a while.

And when no amount of coverup helps, your bank account has been depleted thanks to your pointless Proactiv purchases, and you’re recovering from yet another unsuccessful dermatologist-recommended beauty regimen, acne seems pretty hopeless.

That’s why Kali Kushner‘s story isn’t just inspiring — it’s making the rounds online in a pretty huge way. The 22-year-old battled sudden and persistent cystic acne for roughly a year. She wasn’t just down and in terrible spirits, but the entire ordeal also left severe scarring on her face.

“I had always had some minor acne in high school, but one month in 2014, it went full-force crazy, covering my entire face,” Kushner told Cosmo. “I tried literally everything: the oil cleansing method, which is where you wash your face with oil, the caveman method, which is where you don’t put anything on your face at all, plus every cream, potion, and antibiotic that my dermatologist prescribed me, but nothing worked.”

Nothing, that is, until Kushner and her dermatologist decided to try six months of Accutane, a brand name of the drug isotretinoin. She recorded the results online via Instagram, and the transformation is positively stunning.

One year post Accutane thoughts: I think it’s important not to get stuck in the past and continue to grow as an individual. Though Accutane did wonders for my acne, I do still experience cystic (and regular) acne flare ups. If I were to post every time I got a breakout I would be focusing on all the wrong things. It isn’t psychologically healthy to fixate on the past and to constantly keep comparing yourself to how things were, good or bad. Don’t bring yourself down with negativity, bad thoughts, or things that make you unhappy- life is too short for that. Instead build yourself up with positivity, fill your life with the things you love, and celebrate you as you are now in this moment ⭐️. Learn from your past, move forward- and keep looking ahead. { That being said, I will continue to use this account as a tool for growth & positivity. In addition to monthly updates on how my scars are healing/ how my acne looks I also am going to start to include things that bring me joy and share that joy with you as well. I hope you enjoy how my page has started and will continue to evolve 💕 Cheers! }

A post shared by Kali (@myfacestory) on

Accutane is usually a last-resort for those suffering from acne, because there can be some severe side effects. Doctors usually make you sign a contract that you will use more than one forms of birth control pill while on the drug since there’s a huge danger to fetuses while you’re on it, plus it can be hard on your liver and skin. (So no drinking, either.) Kushner certainly experienced her own share of side effects, even noting to the publication that some days it would take her 10 minutes to get out of bed because her back was so sore.

In the end, it worked when nothing else did, and Kushner shared photos to prove it online. At first she had no idea that documenting her journey (which has since become about smoothing out her scars with a dermaroller and vitamin C), would gain her nearly 22,000 extra Instagram followers. Nor did she imagine it would paint her as the poster child for acne inspiration. But now that she thinks about it, it makes sense — especially given society’s obsession with perfect skin.

Feeling soo excited bc today is the first day of my veryyy last year of school AND I’m not wearing any makeup for classes this year😜💁! Above are my 10 month results since I’ve been using the @banishacnescars starter kit! I can’t believe I’ve been using their products for almost a whole year ❤️ the difference is really insane to me! I didn’t think my acne scars would ever fully go away, but here I am 10 months later with massive progress and hope! I do still have some acne scars but for the most part the texture is pretty darn smooth compared to where I was at a few months ago. Less inflammation, less breakouts & my skin is constantly glowing 🌞 oh yeah and happy eclipsing today!! Don’t forget to protect ur eyeballz 😎

A post shared by Kali (@myfacestory) on

“I used to think it was odd, because I really didn’t do anything magical — I just took Accutane and a bunch of selfies, but now I realize that the reason people are so dedicated to following my story is because nobody actually posts stuff like this,” she continued in the interview. “Acne is so hush-hush and shamed in society, and having clear skin is the epitome of beauty, so if you dare have a zit or a breakout — and if you dare to take a picture of it — it’s almost like something’s wrong with you, which is so false.”

7 months post accutane: Skin update/comparison 💕! I’ve been experiencing breakouts again around that time of the month which linger around for about a week. They pop up around my jaw & smile lines (mostly faded at this point) – which is strange as chin acne wasn’t my main concern pre-accutane🤔. My cheeks, forehead, and nose have remained clear! I stopped using my retin a about a month ago because it was drying out my skin & instead began using @banishacnescars vitamin c serum every night before bed. I am very happy with my results & feeling blessed everyday 🤗❤️-side note just realized there’s a real weird yellow orange beard shadow on my face , that isn’t the color of my actual skin just a cast shadow from the window🤓-

A post shared by Kali (@myfacestory) on

We couldn’t agree more. We’re all for doing something that makes you feel better about yourself, but do it because you want to; not because someone says you should.

As for Accutane? If you’re thinking of going on isotretinoin, be sure to bring it up with your dermatologist and/or family doctor. For people like Kushner, though, a decision like that can obviously be life-changing.