I began experiencing breakouts on my face around the age of thirteen years old. I remember my first pimple was on my chin and I had no idea what it was. It was right before my piano recital and my step-dad tried to wipe it off thinking it was a crumb, but it wouldn’t budge. Little did I know that would be the beginning of my very long, excruciating journey with troubled skin.
My mom suffered from severe acne. She had it since I could remember. When I was little I remember innocently using it as a means of describing how she looked to strangers. She had acne well into her adult years and it didn’t start to subside until she was in her mid forties.
I have memories of her scrubbing her face with all kinds of products night and day. A face wash here, an abrasive scrub there.
She always looked like she was in pain when she rubbed whatever expensive toner she was using that month on her face. She was always in the mirror, constantly picking, scrubbing, and washing her skin.
I later realized I was a carbon copy of my mom. At the age of fifteen I would get different prescriptions from my skin from my dermatologist that really didn’t help me much. From medicated face wash foams, gels, creams and even antibiotics.
The antibiotics worked well for a while but eventually hit a plateau in effectiveness. Thank goodness I stopped taking them completely because later I found out how they can wreak havoc on your immune health. The only thing I didn’t try was Accutane but that is for a whole other post on another day.
I had bought almost every single item from the shelves of the convenience stores. I probably was a professional on reviewing each product. Anything over the counter that has been said to help with acne, I can almost guarantee you have been on my face. Nothing worked.
My acne started to take a toll on me emotionally and mentally. I was humiliated and insecure about how I looked in public and in pictures. I was in my mid twenties and I had such bad skin that I could have been mistaken for a teenager. Can you imagine how humiliating it was when random people would comment on my skin when they saw me and offer me a piece of advice on how to treat it? I know they came from good places when they shared their thoughts but honestly, I just wanted someone to talk to me and act like they didn’t notice it. Why did that have to be the focal point of our conversation?
At the age of twenty-three I experienced a small bout of depression due to heartbreak. My appetite decreased dramatically and the amount of food I ate was little to none. I didn’t know I had lost so much weight until a friend of mine who was super thin pulled me in front of a mirror and stood beside me to show me how thin I had gotten. I was the same size, if not a tad bit smaller than her! Then I peered closer in the mirror at my face. My skin was as clear as it had ever been before. I realized I had not had to cake on as much makeup as I usually did before.
I was so confused. How could my skin be so clear and soft? I hadn’t made any big changes in my skin care and lifestyle. I was just eating dramatically less.
After going months with clear skin I began to regain my appetite back. This was due to me healing emotionally from the heartbreak that caused me to stop eating to begin with. As I started eating more my skin started breaking out again.
A couple pimples on my temple.
A pustule next to my nose.
A few nodules on my jaw.
Yup, my troubled skin was back.
I was so disappointed. I thought I had some how out grew that terrible part of my life. I came to find out that it wasn’t solely what I put on my skin, it was what I put in my body that made the most impact.
The goal wasn’t to starve myself, although I would try to in order to maintain my clear skin. The goal was to monitor the types of foods that would trigger my acne. I later found that high amounts of sugar, caffeine, and greasy foods (such as burgers and fried chicken) would guarantee a couple of weeks of hiding under a rock to avoid public situations.
Forget about it.
Anything with even a trace amount of dairy would result in hard, painful nodules that would be deep in my skin around my jaw line. These nodules would not budge no matter what and they had a lifespan of at the very least one-month. And that is not counting their dormant stages. I found out dairy causes hormonal inflammation and through Chinese face mapping, hormonal breakouts were usually located anywhere on the bottom half of ones face (the jaw line and chin area).
It wasn’t until I monitored the foods I ate when I started to see a difference in my skin. I then decided all those chemicals that I put on my skin were unnecessary. If I put anything on my face to assist in decreasing my acne, I wanted it to be natural and mostly made up from the earth. When I started to go the holistic route and used natural sources for my skin care, I began to see better results than any of the prescriptions I had used before. I learned that the pharmaceutical companies and the companies that produced those over the counter products most likely did not have my best interest at heart. They just wanted my money and for me to continue coming back for more.
I am twenty-seven now and my acne still exists. I am not “healed” or “cured” from it. I’ve come to the terms that acne is an internal inflammatory disease that is chronic in my genes. Acne is like psoriasis, celiac disease, eczema, or any other inflammatory skin disease that causes pain and discomfort.
Insurance companies don’t take acne seriously because they claim it is a cosmetic problem but it more than that. Acne affects ones mental and emotional health.
It is that serious.
The depression, anxiety, and frustration one battles with from suffering from acne is indescribable. The physical pain it causes is real and undeniable.
Acne is a physical sign your body gives you telling you that something is wrong internally. You have to listen to your body. All your body wants to do is thrive. I know that controlling what you eat on a daily basis is easier said than done. I still battle with this today. But now I can almost time when I will suffer from a severe breakout or when I’ll be clear for a big event just by monitoring what I ingest.
I’ll be posting more on my experiences and tips in my acne journey so please feel free to subscribe to my YouTube Channel and book mark or save this blog in your browser. I have tons to share on going the holistic route, my holistic hacks on maintaining my acne and my gradual but eventual process of self-love and acceptance.
If you are suffering from acne please hear this:
You are not alone. There are millions more people in your shoes. Every one has their different ailments. Most people suffer from some sort of disease, health issue, and disfiguration whether it is physical or mentally present. No one is perfect. No one can judge you because they don’t know your struggle as much as you would know someone else’s struggle in their specific disease.
Life is worth living.
Keep your head up, stay positive, and continue enjoying every bit of life. Don’t let your skin be the reason why you let life pass you by.
Have you suffered from acne?
What is your experience?
How are you dealing with this now?
Leave a comment below and let us turn my comments section into a positive, supportive environment for those who need it the most.
TTYL Beautiful People,