My Acne Journey
My Acne Journey
My first experience with acne was before puberty at age 9. My forehead was covered in bumps and we had no idea why. It was pointed out to me by a caretaker with concern. I immediately wondered what was wrong with me. This set a tone I would live with for the next 2 decades.
Throughout my teen years, I became very regimented in caring for my skin-Benzoyl Peroxide, Salicylic acid, cleanse 2-3 times a day, extract blackheads, cover with makeup, try essential oils, try toothpaste to dry a pimple. Reading magazines and searching anywhere I could to learn more about the skin and ingredients to treat it became a hobby. I had binders full of information and years of product experimentation. I was able to keep my breakouts under control to where I felt comfortable; but makeup was a staple item for me at all times. (Not certain what percentage of being from the Jersey Shore is to blame for this). I began to learn that not everyone was experiencing what I was; at least not to the same degree. They did not think about their skin, much less have an obsession with caring for it. This is when I realized that I was fascinated with the skin and wanting to know everything I could. I also wanted to help anyone having an experience like my own. I began my schooling to start my profession in Esthetics.
My 20’s were about using less irritating ingredients and being much kinder to my skin and body. I would maintain my skin health and spot treat during hormonal periods. This maintained my skin for a decade. I had times where I was completely clear and times where I had an expected breakout due to my cycle, travel or bad lifestyle choices. I also began to experience regular redness and irritation. I was showing signs of pre-rosacea. This became extremely uncomfortable to me. I would not leave my house without makeup to touch-up in the event I had a diffuse heat and redness come over my entire nose and cheek area that would last for hours or days. This regular irritation led me to start discovering more Eastern approaches to health and skin care. Oils, less product, regular meditation, body awareness, at home facial massage (not just once a month during a facial), awareness of what I was consuming, stress management, etc. I found I was getting less redness, which allowed me to discover my triggers. I found I knew what areas in my body were weakening over time due to lifestyle, my thoughts and emotions. My breakouts were less severe. I was starting to see improvement. This was huge since my profession requires me to be a shining beacon for perfect skin.
Enter 30’s. I am fed up with the same regimen. I am fed up with experimenting endlessly with product. I am fed up with blackheads. I am recovering from some self-induced burnout. I don’t want another peel; I want a cure. I am out of practice of some of my hobbies such as meditation, dance, yoga, hiking. I become aware that I have been suffering mild digestive issues since as far back as I can remember, but I was completely unaware of the imbalance. In continuing to educate myself during this time, I slow down, tune in, study, and work with balance.
Enter turning point. I am introduced to a skin care line that is beyond my current understanding and I am elated to learn. It is described to work beyond a topical level and to work with our Qi-life force energy system. I have no idea how this is possible, but I am ready to experiment. My excitement turns to horror as I begin using this line and experience the worst breakout of my entire life. This breakout was abnormal in that areas that usually remain unaffected were covered in pimples and it followed a pattern. Even after I stopped using this product line out of complete fear, the breakout continued for one year. The pattern I mentioned led me to experience my acne in a whole new light. I surprisingly never once thought this product is junk. I thought, “Wow, this product has exposed the fact that I am in fact full of junk.” I began focusing on my digestion issues that were now problematic to my daily life. I began paying attention to and changing any negative verbiage/ thought-no matter how small. I accepted that I was a professional experiencing a worse state of skin health than some of my clientele.
The thought that “I am full of junk” shifted into a knowing that I had lost some vitality, I had blockages, both physical and emotional, I was weakened. My body was expressing to me that my lymphatic system was sluggish as the breakout literally followed the lymph pathways on my face and neck. Through the use of facial reflexology, I learnt that my digestive system needed a break to become stronger so that it could function normally and return to an optimal state of health. I became aware of new symptoms that were beginning with a whisper. This “worst breakout of my entire life” was an opportunity for me to take over my health in a gentle, loving and consistent way.
My regimen now consists of an oil cleansing, a moisturizing calming balm and eye cream. I love masking to treat a breakout, and to incorporate mild exfoliation only when I am especially sluggish (usually after I have eaten foods that my digestive system disagrees with or have not slept well over a period of time). I perform self- lymphatic massage and Gua Sha. A breakout no longer sends me into a fit to cover it or pick at it. I honor the fact that I did something that contributed to this , or that something in my system is needing tending to. My breakouts are infrequent, heal quickly and they do not spread. This is the most at peace I have been with this experience since I was 9 years old. To know that I have tools that will not just maintain, but drastically improve my skin health over the long term is what I have needed all along. I am beyond grateful for the worst breakout of my entire life.