My skin was almost flawless throughout my teens. So it was a rude shock to hit 20 and abruptly descend into full-scale acne. Suddenly, awfully, I had it all. Whiteheads. Blackheads. Huge, painful, headless cysts sitting just below the skin. Scabs and scarring.
I felt revolting.
One day, a jerk in a bar made a crack about my “pizza chin”, driving a dagger straight through my self-esteem. The next week I booked myself into the doctor and got straight on the birth control pill. My skin cleared up within weeks and, considering the problem solved, I carried on with life.
Earlier this year I began to worry what kind of havoc 10 years of birth control was wreaking on my body. Artificially filling my body with buttloads of hormones seemed contrary to the increasingly natural lifestyle I was transitioning to.
So in January, I finally kicked the pill. And within a few months, my shitty skin returned with a vengeance.
It had been there the whole time, masked beneath the pill.
For awhile I felt resilient, figuring it would pass as my body reestablished a natural rhythm. But as the months have dragged on and my skin has grown redder and angrier, my self-confidence has plummeted.
It’s difficult looking at myself in the mirror. I find struggle to feel happy with any recent photos of myself. Makeup can’t mask the redness and aggravation or hide the enormous cystic lumps protruding from my chin and cheeks.
I struggle to recognise any beauty in myself. I see only acne. And I feel ugly.
It’s hard to admit all of this. It’s even harder not to run straight back to the pill.
But this time, I want to try and heal myself naturally. This, I hope, is the beginning of that journey.
Here’s my natural acne treatment plan of attack. I’m going to try oil cleansing. I’ll experiment with some natural topical pimple creams, like Adele’s coconut oil and turmeric paste. I plan on drinking a lot more water and cutting back on sugar. I want to exercise more. I’ll also incorporate some work on my emotional self, via meditation, journalling and, hopefully, kinesiology.
But I might need some help from you, too. I think I need some support, a reminder that I’m not the only one going through this.
A reminder that, despite all the Photoshopped pictures of flawless feminine perfection that we’re constantly bombarded with, beauty actually isn’t skin deep.
Maybe you need those reminders too?
If you’re feeling brave enough, I’d love to hear your story. Do you have any tried-and-true natural beauty tips, tricks or regimes? How do you deal with the crushing emotional fallout of acne?
Perhaps this can become a beautiful journey we walk together.
UPDATE: After a lifelong battle with acne, Alana found a way to heal her skin naturally. Head here for a detailed post on how she did it, including a rundown of her tried-and-proven skin care regime and recipes for her favourite simple, homemade and all-natural skin care products.