The 5 Ways I Cleared My Struggle with Acne
This isn’t a topic I share often as it’s definitely been one of my most self-conscious areas in my life. After all, I’ve been struggling with painful – cystic acne since I was in Middle School and I’m in my 30’s now. I used to tell myself when I was young, it’ll just go away when I turn “x”. But it never did. I spent well over $1000 in all these years of trying different things to get rid of this acne. Today I share the fully story like I have never done before.
When I was in school my parents did not take to me to the doctor to get medicine to try to clear it, we all just chalked it up to teenage hormones and it’ll just go away on its own. But it didn’t. I remember a picture with my brother when I was in middle school and my face was literally just covered in big, bright red pimples. Ugh, I still even hate writing the word pimple or even saying it. It’s just an ugly word to me, but only regarding how I’ve struggled with it and I know my own emotions around it. I’d always skirt around the word “pimple” and instead say “bad skin” or “acne” or “scarring” – anything but the word “pimple”. It felt dirty to me. I can still even feel the pain of my face from that photo 18 years ago. Wow, almost two DECADES I’ve struggled with this. I never looked at that way for sure. I would love to share that picture with you to help you live in that moment with me but the truth is, I threw it away. I was that ashamed of my skin that I didn’t want any proof of what I was struggling with. Same thing has happened for years with photos of me and my friends and even my husband – if my skin issues were showing in the photo too bad, that baby was deleted. Not something I’m all that proud of but that is the ugly side of what low confidence does.
The tips I will share today are not going to work for everyone, but girl if you’ve ever had or currently have the painful breakouts like I did – I sincerely feel your pain and know exactly what you’re feeling and want to share what I’ve learned to maybe help. I know the mounds of makeup you’ve tried in search of covering up the spots. I know the feeling of getting treated differently because my skin was bad. I know the feeling of not being able to touch your face because there are so many areas that hurt. I know how much money we’ve thrown away in search of the “one remedy” to make it go away. I know what it’s like to NEVER leave the house without makeup because Heaven forbid someone see your clean skin and know just how bad it was. I know.
When I was in school my mom always hated that I drank pop, she told me that the sugar in pop made my skin worse. So ever since high school, I’ll at most only drink two pops a year. She was probably the only person that ever brought up something that I was putting into my body that was affecting how my skin reacted. I’m not sure if she intended for it to actually help my skin or just more her desire for me not to drink pop – either way it worked! But in high school I was still naïve and didn’t understand food so even though I gave up pop I still drank sugar laden lemonade, sugary sports drinks and in my early 20’s the absolute worst….energy drinks.
I remember one time while I was working as a retail consultant, going to school full time and still having a social life so I of course was not getting good nutrition and was always tired. I would do the 2 for $5 big Monster Energy drinks every day. I used to drink it where I’d only drink one every couple days and my skin was just it’s normal “bad-self”. And then there was the week I’ll never forget, I drank two of those Monster drinks a day for 5 days and my skin flared up the worst it has ever been in my life. It was after five days that I gave up energy drinks forever. That was one of the worst experiences that it even made me cry.
Three years ago, I became a Beachbody coach where it was my “job” to help coach others on good nutrition. It was then that I started seeing a correlation to sugary foods and my skin. My skin started clearing because I was cleaning up my nutrition that I had my “agh-ha” moment of what was the single most important factor for my breakouts. I’m talking like have a piece of cake with frosting and I could bet money that I’d wake up the next morning with a new spot. Now I have a really bad addiction to sugar so it’s probably a blessing that this is my biggest culprit otherwise I’d have a whole bunch more sugary foods than I already do. Needless to say, I still eat candy and sweets and I still have a little bit of an issue but it’s a heck of a lot easier to clear up now because it’s so much smaller and no longer painful.
As apart of being a Beachbody coach, I would drink Shakeology daily and would track what I was eating. Per their recommendations, I could mix my daily Shakeology with almond milk or coconut milk but not dairy milk. So I switched from having a glass or two of dairy milk a day and then only had 1 glass of unsweetened almond or coconut milk with my daily shake. This took a little bit longer to realize that it was helping my skin because dairy stays in your system for so much longer. It was almost a full year after I started being a coach that I realized this and only due to how colicky my oldest daughter, Emery was on breastmilk. I thought it was my fault for what I was putting in my body and had read that it could her reaction to the dairy in my system. So I cut out even more and after three weeks my skin got even better. Considering how many hormones were roaring through my body at two months postpartum, I felt like that was a miracle. Turns out her crying didn’t improve so it wasn’t the dairy and just her age at that time. So I got my cheese back, I loveeeeee me some cheese!
Dairy isn’t as big of a reactor for my skin as sugar, but I know through that year that it still affects how it reacts. I still don’t drink milk, I no longer have yogurt, very rarely eat ice cream but I just couldn’t give up my cheese! I once read on a nutrition blog that when changing your diet not only should you look at the science behind “why” you should change this part of your diet but also take into consideration the how much affect it’ll have on your “sanity”. I kind of feel like the sanity factor of my love for cheese currently outweighs my concerns for science. But perhaps you have better will power than me!
I hate to think of how much money I spent on different medicines, different over the counter creams, different intensive facials and makeup – so much makeup to cover it all up. What is astonishing to me and I mean like MIND BLOWING is how come not a SINGLE doctor that I met with (which was five different doctors) never brought up changing up my nutrition. That’s a whole other light bulb moment for how much of our daily lives could be improved with better nutrition! The last doctor’s appointment I went to for medicine is when he recommended Accutane since nothing else was fixing it. Accutane scared me because of all the warnings and people’s mental state changing from being on it. I chose not to fill the prescription and just knew there had to be something else.
That was when I moved onto seeing an esthetician that started a year long process of different treatments with lasers, extractions (think of someone taking a needle to face and pulling out all the bad gunk – that ‘ish HURTS!), and a whole slue of other facials that weren’t cheap. My skin did get better, but it also got super sensitive. One time I had a new esthetician whom applied the facial with a brush instead of her fingers like normal and my skin reacted terribly. Like so bad and painful that the next day I couldn’t go to work. It was extremely red and hurt to touch the entire area that I knew I didn’t even want to attempt makeup that day. I had about two treatments after that appointment to finish out my series and I called that quits as well. That was one of my “I just give up” moments. The skin care journey is a hard one.
I’m a sucker for anyone who says this product will help your skin. I heard from a trusted friend, that the Royal Line from Younique would greatly help my skin. And it did an awesome job starting to smooth out my skin. This was just within the last 18 months that I started using this line, so my skin had some time to begin healing from my nutrition changes. After my experiences with all the medicines and treatments that even the most advanced things you put on your skin won’t help until you fix what goes in your body. Find the friends that say hey girl, this will be great to be the first step in clearing your skin but when you’re out and want to go to the next level to really clear out the scarring Rodan & Fields is the way to go. When someone makes a recommendation that is not of their own product and one that is really meant to fix my problem, you know that they really have your best interest at heart and not their pocketbook. She also took the time to do a consultation with me when selecting the right products. I remember sending her a message within the first two weeks and asking, does it get worse before it gets better. Sure did – so don’t dismay if you end up trying this product line and feel like the first few weeks are worse than where you started. Remember the acne is harboring under the skin long before it makes its “pop” and this line was just helping pull it out.
I also hate wasting products, so once I ran out of my face wash with the Younique line I wanted to use up some of my old over the counter stuff that I had left prior to starting the Younique face wash. And wouldn’t you know, two stinking weeks after using the junk stuff from the store my skin started breaking out again. In the trash it went as soon as I got my reorder. This was the same reaction for me as the makeup from the drugstore. I really wish I could use the $8 bottle of foundation but when it literally melts off my face through half the day, makes it look like I dipped my face in oil and STILL causes breakouts; girl it’s GOT to go!
Today, I currently am using the Reverse line with Rodan & Fields and my Younique girl knew what she was talking about. I’m still within the 90 day window of starting it but can already tell a difference in how bright my skin is and lessening the appearance of my pores and existing scaring spots. They have a great tool that you can take a survey and it’ll help tell you what you should be starting with based on your results. So yes, I still spend some fair money on good quality products but this an area for life for me that directly effects my confidence and to me confidence is one of the most important qualities you need in life to accomplish goals. So we’ll just budget that right in good ‘ole Dave Ramsey’s Every Dollar budgeting tool😊!
How much water I drank started as a direct correlation to when my mom said not to drink pop anymore. However, I know now looking back at my sports days I still wasn’t getting enough. It wasn’t until I heard when I became a Beachbody coach that I needed to drink half of my body weight in ounces in water each day. Prior to that, every time I drank water I just did to hopefully flush the toxins out of my body which I was praying meant the toxins making my skin bad. I know that if I don’t drink enough water for a week now my skin definitely begins to look a little duller and is much dryer than normal. While I may not see the next day correlation with a breakout from lack of water, I surely hands down know that it is what aids my skin and body for SO many great benefits.
I’m a busy mom with a full-time job plus the boutique so for me tracking how much water I drink a day is tedious and for my type A personality if I were to do it, I’d end up wasting too much energy on just the tracker. We’re all about being frank here so straight up, I gauge my body level of hydration based on my bathroom breaks. If it’s almost clear, I know I’m right where I need to be. A little yellow, I need some more. Dark yellow, girl start guzzling! Don’t fight this one, even if you have great skin – your BODY needs a lot of water to function optimally. We ask a lot of our bodies, so just drink your dang water!
This last segment is right up there with the quick and direct correlation to how my skin reacts to stress. I’m naturally an emotional person so it doesn’t take much to get me worked up. I cry at the stupidest stuff and when I feel challenged or get into an argument with Travis (yep, it happens!) and I don’t take care of my stress in that moment I will surely wake up with a new spot the next day. This is probably one the hardest areas for me to control because it’s going against my natural tendency of emotion under stress. I think overall daily work in gratitude, exercise, and nutrition help ease this for me as I get older. Exercise is a HUGE anxiety release for me which I know has a direct link in how I react under a hard moment. I work out 4-5 days a week just to make sure I have a consistent level of anxiety release to help with my overall health.
Please note through all of this, I’m no longer a Beachbody coach, I don’t sell Younique and I don’t sell Rodan & Fields. So just like my girl giving me a recommendation of a different product just based on pure goodness of wanting to help, I’m going the same for you. I feel like it is SUPER important to know what the trigger for your acne is (or any other health concerns for that matter). So yes, if you struggle with acne you may be tempted to go change all of these things NOW because you just.want.it.gone! I urge you to change one thing and track it for 3-4 weeks. Write down what you’re noticing or do a speech to text note in your phone if you’re busy. Go through the different stages and see what works for you. I would LOVE to hear your results and what you’re discovering about your body. Don’t keep living under that mound of makeup and stress of what others think because of your skin any longer, we got this girl. P.S. I still do wear makeup on an almost daily basis – guess its habit for the last 18 years but I now I can go to the gas station quick without makeup worrying what others are thinking of my skin.
If you or a loved one has struggled with bad skin, I urge to please share this message. Take the moment to help someone else who may be struggling with a super sensitive issue. Approach with grace and love and not dictation, I can assure you that’s the last thing that will work😊!
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