Don’t you just love being able to cover your face with something if you are having a bad skin day? In the photos above, the camera does just the job. Which leads me on to the topic of today’s post – skin problems. One thing I like about the topic of acne – not that there is much to like – but that the term ‘acne’ isn’t so much a horror word in today’s world like it once was. When I first suffered it as a young girl and experienced it’s effects, it was seen as such a hardcore word, that I would never refer to my skin troubles as ‘acne’. I didn’t have ‘acne’ – it was just a bad case of breakouts, right? Just hearing that word alone freaked me out. I associated the word with teenage boys faces plagued with sore, bulging red boils, not girls like me whose petite little faces were slowly getting covered in ‘pimples’. The sad scenario is that at about thirteen years old, when I should have been discussing scary topics with friends like starting periods or getting psyched up over the topic of boys, I was trying to figure out what was happening with all these sudden break outs. Acne arrived in my early teens and decided to stay for the entire period (and longer), and I genuinely think it has such a huge impact on how you develop as a person.
I rarely touch on this topic in so much depth on the blog, as I much prefer to share products, procedures and treatments which I have trialed and tested to my readers instead. But after hearing so many young women and girls recently get upset about acne or ask me for advice as a beauty blogger about what they should do, I wanted to pen together a post about how I dealt with it and the best advice I can give (which I’m still learning… so bear with me…everything below is purely opinion)
So what is my acne story in a nutshell? I suffered fairly bad in my early teens, which then faded and cleared slightly in my years starting uni, only to return again during around being aged 22-26. From then, it cleared again, until my fifth month into my time in Australia (last year) which left me with an un-welcomed sudden break out that didn’t want to go anywhere. I don’t know why it came, and I couldn’t clear it. Luckily, I’m now 29 and fairly happy with my skin, although I’m still not completely acne-free and definitely haven’t found ‘the cure’. However, here is what I have learnt along this painful journey which may give you some help if you don’t know which way to turn.
First thing is first – this doesn’t work for everyone. It took me until I was 27 to try eliminating foods from my diet to see if they had an effect on acne. I remember randomly reading a newspaper at my parents house which highlighted how in America, they have carried out proven studies that dairy contributes to acne. So I set out to switch cows milk for soya, cut out cheese and cream, and also reduce my white carbohydrate and sugar intakes too, so bread, pasta, cakes, chocolate and biscuits. Before I did this, I was heavily into biscuits dunked into a cup of tea everyday, I had cows milk with my sweet cereal in the morning, latte’s, sandwiches, and cheese on everything. What I can tell you is from my point of view, it really worked. Six weeks into this hardcore diet switch, my skin became 50% clearer. Three months into it, I didn’t even need to wear makeup. However, I did start to loose weight which wasn’t ideal for me, and then my acne did come back a year later. I followthis diet now but only in very small amounts, and unfortunately my skin isn’t as clear as it was as I don’t stick to it as much. I truly found that cutting out dairy and limiting sugar and white carbs had a huge improvement on my acne, but its just too darn impossible to keep up (and possibly not too healthy – a balanced diet is key!)
2. The Pill
I put it down to the contraceptive pill for the majority of my clear spells, especially when I was 16 and starting college, suffering pretty bad. I went on Dianette first, which did a great job at clearing it up, but as it has so many side effects, I switched onto Yasmin. This does the job too but not to the same extent. I don’t want to recommend contraceptive pills as I am no Doctor, but Dianette and Yasmin did contribute to my clearer spells- worth investigating if nothing else works.
3. Skincare Routine
During my lowest points of battling bad skin, I started to lose hope that a good skincare routine and product regime actually helped. But in hindsight, it does, you just have to really trial and error what is right for you. In my experience, face wipes just annoy the skin, so always remove makeup with a gentle cleanser, then lightly use a toner to ensure you go to bed with no traces left, then moisturise. Acne prone skin is usually oily skin, therefore I used to think I was being clever by skipping this stage, only to find out that my skin was partially dehydrated too. I find that exfoliating once a week and also using a mask really does help to nourish and look after the skin, and it’s something I wish I had done a lot more of when I was younger.
There are various treatments on offer these days which aim to help skin stop spreading bacteria and making acne worse. I didn’t try any of these when I was battling, I just stuck to a mixture of natural remedies, diet, products and routines. These days, there are so many on offer that use lasers and light therapies, which could be worth checking out. For me, it’s more the post-acne treatments I look into to try and clear up red tell tale marks or scarring. There are a number of skin treatments available at sk:n – a clinic which offers an extensive range of skin treatments such as microdermabrasion, rejuvenation and laser acne scar removal – which I have been reading up on that I feel could be worth it. When acne finally decides to leave you, it can also decide to leave it’s mark in the form of scarring which is a constant reminder of the hard journey and in the insecurity, so I would recommend looking into laser therapies or microdermabrasions to start healing the skin.
5. Confidence and Self Esteem
There’s no denying that acne has shaped traits of my personality for the worst. I am never the girl who feels like everyone is looking at my big blue eyes or pearly smile. If I have a spot on my cheek, everyone is looking at it. Even now, when my acne isn’t as terrible, I focus on the marks it has left or honestly feel like no one would notice any other feature. This is something I have to work on it my own time, so if you are feeling the same, don’t worry – you aren’t alone! It affects girls in a such a strong way, that the period after acne can just be as painful as experiencing it.
Everyone’s acne story is different, so I don’t feel it’s my place to preach about what are the right or wrong tactics to take to battle it. I do however understand the pain it causes, the way it effects your personality and can even go as far to say it can stop you doing various things when growing up. I hope this post gives you a little insight to some of the options to take, and do feel free to comment below with your thoughts.