All through middle and high school I didn’t even know what a pimple was. My skin had always been crystal clear… no texture, no pimples, no pores… just beautiful, glowing, clear skin.
Up until about a year ago, I didn’t realize how lucky I was to never have had the experience of “bad skin.”
Sometime around May 2018 my skin went bonkers. I’m talking full blown acne, occasional hives, dry patches, the whole nine yards. It came out of nowhere and I had no idea how or why my skin was so unhappy. I hadn’t drastically changed my diet, my skincare or my exercise routine, and I wasn’t extra stressed. It just appeared.
I was devastated and embarrassed of my skin. It bothered me so much I would spend hours in the bathroom doing face masks, squeezing, popping, and poking pimples and blackheads desperately trying to get rid of them. I spent days scrolling through Instagram and watching YouTube videos of influencers’ skincare routine videos. I even spent hundreds of dollars on face cleansers, mud masks, chemical peels, night serums — whatever anyone recommended or labelled “holy grail” or “favorite product.” But to no avail, my skin continued to breakout.
I had good weeks and I had bad weeks. It took about a month and a half for me to finally realize my breakouts coincided with my hormonal fluctuations and menstrual cycle. About 10 days before my cycle started I would break out so bad. But halfway through my cycle they would, almost magically, disappear. During “good” weeks, I still had scars and texture, but the big, swollen pustules were gone.
Once realizing my acne was caused by hormones, I took a trip to see my dermatologist. I was prescribed the topical ointment, Tretinoin, and told to “try it for a few months a see what happens.”
I didn’t know much about this medication my doctor had prescribed, but naturally I tried it anyway. I applied the product according to the directions on the bottle and went about my life. About four days later, my skin had a full blown temper tantrum.
I was horrified and in a lot of pain. The Tretinoin had stripped away my skin and made it raw and sensitive. I developed hives and mini blister like bumps a few hours after waking up that day. I quickly went online to find YouTube videos people had uploaded about their experience with this product. I came to know that what I was experiencing wasn’t anything different than what a hundred of other girls and guys using the same product had experienced.
But the piece of mind knowing my experience wasn’t any different from others wasn’t good enough for me to continue using the medication. My skin was already one of my biggest insecurities, and I was literally in tears with how disgusting I looked and felt. I decided to take matters into my own hands and try to “fix” this issue on my own.
Check out my “Skin Care Routine and Products” post for more information on my skin saving products and habits that actually helped me overcome my hormonal acne.
Today, after months of eating clean and incorporating a lot of cleansing and hormone balancing foods into my diet, my skin is finally starting to clear up. I still deal with the occasional breakouts and leftover scarring, but nothing a little self love and tinted moisturizer can’t fix.
It took a lot of self motivation and accountability to make some pretty significant lifestyle changes, but ultimately it was all worth it. I am so proud of how far I have come and am definitely more aware of my body and how I can better take care of it.
This was definitely a journey that took a long time to accept and appreciate, but I’m glad it happened. I have learned to accept my body, skin especially, and not compare how I look to someone “better than me.” Self appreciation and respect is my ultimate goal of 2019, and I am slowly learning to become more confident in myself — not matter what.