I did a video a while ago on my skin but since then (and over Vlogmas) I’ve received hateful comments about the state of my skin – funnily enough what upsets me most about them is that someone with skin as bad or worse than mine might see them and feel bad about themselves, I’ve never properly addressed how I feel about my skin on here in a dedicated post so here goes…
My skin has never been perfect, it started acting up when I was 14 in the form of oiliness and black heads around my nose, it cleared up and between the ages of 15-18 I had pretty clear skin.
When I was 18 a diet coke habit resulted in a horrific flare up of acne specifically around my forehead. I cut out my diet coke addiction, went on a Skinceuticals skincare regime and started taking the controversial Dianette birth control pill at the age of 19. Within 6 months I had normal skin, it wasn’t super clear but you would never say that I had acne, it was just regular run of the mill skin. I ditched dianette after 18 months as one day whilst at work on a political election campaign (bored out of my mind doing the banal research on a liberal democrat candidate) I started googling Dianette and was truly horrified by what I was reading. I immediately switched to a more “normal” pill, after another 10 months or so I then wanted to try Yasmin to see if I had any better results, I had heard that Yasmin supposedly gave you supermodel worthy skin. Sure enough three months after starting Yasmin my skin was crystal clear – so clear that the odd blackhead would upset me. I stayed on Yasmin for a year when once again google got the better of me and I read that French doctors advise women to take a break from the pill every three years, I had just turned 22 which meant that my three years were up.
February 2013 was when I gave up the pill for good and I thought I’d got off scot free when my periods returned promptly and totally normally and my skin stayed looking pretty good…that was until 7 months later when it all went wrong. My skin went horrifically bad, I had cysts on my cheeks that were painful to the touch and would bleed when I cleansed. I saw a dermatologist who put me on super harsh creams that made my skin ache even more. It took two months for my mum to do some research and buy me La Roche Posay Toleriane cleanser and ultra fluide and told me to use nothing but that- I dutifully did and 2 months later my skin was looking ok again – it was much much calmer and the damage from the Isotrexin gel that the derm had put me on was gone as well as the painful cysts. Fast forward to February 2014 and newly engaged I started having environ facials and using their products, my skin was feeling amazing, I totally gave up dairy in the bid for better skin and was reaping the rewards.
Then last Spring (April 2015) my skin started troubling me again, I went to see a dermatologist who told me to go on roaccutane. I had sleepless nights debating on whether to take the drug or not, I did hour upon hour of research. For me the risk was just too great, my husband had never had a problem with my skin, I was comfortable enough to go makeup free, and if it didn’t bother me to the point where I was truly distressed then I didn’t see why I should poison my body with a drug that might work but also might leave the rest of my bodily functions in tatters – dry lips, dry eyes, nose bleeds, the likelihood of depression, insomnia, muscle ache and exhaustion just didn’t seem to be a worthy sacrifice for perfect skin.
When I get comments on my videos where people tell me my skin is disgusting, or that I should see a dermatologist I want to scream in frustration. Clear skin is not that simple or easy, and if it were do you not think I’d have already done that? I chose my health above my skin and my approach to my skin is more circumspect now.
I’ve struggled with IBS for nearly 6 years now – something I’ve never actually written on here. I feel like my stomach issues and skin are 100% linked. Starting from New Years Day I’m going to go on a sugar free diet for a month, if that doesn’t help my skin I’m also going to minimise gluten. I hope to start seeing a genuine change in my skin, but you know what? Even if I don’t I’m happy in my own skin now, my scars are worse than my blemishes – I only have two or three small spots at a time but I’m aware it looks worse than it is – I don’t feel self conscious when speaking to people, my husband continues to tell me that he thinks my skin is good (he was also severely against my use of roaccutane) and the only people that ever criticise it are internet trolls that can only see it via a camera.
Acne and problematic skin isn’t something that can be fixed overnight, when people who are lucky enough to not have to worry about their skin act as though you’re negligent to your skin and that’s why it’s bad just take a deep breath and stay calm – they have no idea what you’ve been through, and my favourite thing to do after a mean comment about my skin is to go out totally makeup free, I get no odd looks from strangers and feel weirdly liberated – don’t ever let anyone get you down and learn to be comfortable in the skin you’re in! I hope this mini essay will be able to help anyone with similar struggles!