In the past year I’ve had quite a lot of people comment on the transformation my skin has gone through, and today I finally plucked up the courage to write this article and share images of myself that are hardly profile picture material.
These are pictures I took of myself in 2015 when my skin was inflamed with clusters of acne, most clearly around my forehead and chin. I tried medication from the doctor, skin creams and ointments, face masks and steaming but nothing worked. In fact, some of these ‘solutions’ actually aggravated my condition further. Bad skin is something that a lot of us suffer from and are really embarrassed about. I remember it significantly denting my confidence as I used to fear going into natural light, or even changing rooms in certain shops – yes I was actually afraid to go outside for fear that people would see all the bumps I’d tried desperately to conceal with layer upon layer of make-up.
Compared to many people, the images above aren’t even that horrific but it’s not about others, it’s about you. I’ve known people (me being among them), that have been reduced to tears due to the feeling of complete hopelessness regarding their skin. And really, that’s not a vain over-reaction, it’s a normal one. People can promote inner beauty all they want, but that’s no good when the outer shell is preventing our personality from shining because it’s affecting our confidence. Everyone knows that we live in a world where naturally, people cannot help but judge by appearances. If you are not happy with your own appearance then it’s logical that your inner-self is not going to have much of a chance to expose itself.
So, instead of exhausting your Google search with ‘miracle skin treatments’ and ’10 steps to glowing skin’, I advise you to take a moment and gather some perspective. Stop the panic and reflect for just a few minutes. Assess your circumstances.
I was personally extremely stressed at this time of my life, worrying about work at university, feeling anxious about certain social situations and torturing myself by panicking about the welfare of certain family members. Inside my head, I was a wreck and as a result I binged on unhealthy foods. Even though this only numbed my stress for a few minutes, it felt worth it at the time.
So not only was my mental wellbeing in a rocky place, but also my physical wellbeing because I wasn’t giving my body the nutrients it needed. It took me quite a while to reach this conclusion, even though it seems like a pretty simple diagnosis. Instead of listening to people putting it down to ‘natural teenage hormones’, and naively being taken in by the ‘miracle’ skin creams I saw advertised on television, I took control.
How may you ask?
- Firstly I changed my diet. Fast food, sugar and alcohol are fine in moderation, but not when they become a regular occurrence. I gradually transformed the way I ate, basing my diet around natural, unprocessed ingredients and making sure I was getting the right nutrients from my meals.
- I began exercising. I’d always heard about the amazing power of endorphins (chemicals released in our bodies when we physically exert ourselves). Physical activity genuinely gave me a more positive outlook and became a therapeutic exercise that aided me in dealing with stress I’d encounter day after day (stress that to this day I still believe made my skin prone to horrendous breakouts).
- I ditched all the fancy creams and patiently researched until I found Liz Earle. These products use only natural ingredients, unlike a lot of what you find on the market nowadays. Stay away from anything that’s scented as the perfumes tend to aggravate and irritate your skin cells!
- I learned to deal with stress and not get so worked up over every tiny thing that didn’t fit into the grand plan of Becky! If stress can make you age prematurely, reduce your life span and affect your physical health, it most definitely has the power to do crazy things to your skin too. For anybody tackling acne or any skin complaint, evaluating your life and mental well-being is a firm place to start.
BUT Did it work?……..
…………..This is my skin today and while I still (like any human being) suffer from the odd breakout, the overall improvement is something that still baffles me.
I’m no longer afraid to leave the house without make-up, my confidence has improved as a consequence and I feel healthy and ALIVE, which let’s face it, is the most important thing.
Bad skin is temporary and you don’t necessarily have to wait it out, if it makes you as miserable as it made me!
There are always things you can put in place to take control.