I then started to get it on my back, shoulders and chest. Then the acne developed further into cystic acne - which on the most severe days left me wanted to crawl into a hole and not come out.
For any person this is hard to deal with but as a teenager trying to understand my place in the world, in society and within my immediate environment it was very damaging. I think it's one of life's greatest ironies for a teenager to have spots or acne and also braces (which I had too) and so much self-discomfort.
But the cystic acne was bad. It would flare up which at the time I thought was for no apparent reason. With each flare up I would get lumps on my jaw or cheeks mostly that were filled with puss. Even now just writing the word puss makes me cringe. It takes me back to that 15-year-old self-hating-body-hating girl who would have sold her soul to now have such visible signs of repulsion on her face.
It affected my self esteem so fundamentally that I absolutely and without question thought I was wholly unattractive. Ugly.
I had bouts of flare ups happen throughout my twenties and thirties too.
The acne has left me with a lot of scarring. And over the last twenty years I've tried all sorts of dermatological procedures to try and reduce the amount and the depths of them. But I've accepted that they're part of me now and unless I want to have a full face chemical peel then I might as well get on with the business of loving myself!
What did work
I thought I was a lost case. I thought I was going to have to deal with this for the rest of my life with no solution.
And then a few years ago I started reading more about the direct impact of dairy consumption (which puts puss in the body) and the affect sugar has on acne that I started to experiment with cutting them out.
I was breastfeeding my son at the time and found out he was intolerant to dairy. So I cut it from my diet. Once I was no longer eating any, his eczema cleared up within a few weeks, and weirdly so did my skin!
Last year I cut out refined sugar from my diet too and my skin is now the best it had ever looked - especially with all the green smoothies I drink! I would get comments about how healthy I looked and how my skin glowed!
A week ago I ate something and didn't check the ingredients on the back of the packet first, something I'm now hard wired to do. I noticed it had condensed milk in it. My heart sank. I knew my options were to either go and try vomit up the food (not an option) or live with the consequences.
So fast forward 3 days and I have a cyst on my face. And for a moment I am 15 again. I am scared of the name calling, the feelings of being ugly and being rejected.
In that moment I am kind to myself and stop any self-hating chatter in my mind.
And now I realize that I am grateful for this experience because it has shown me that all that self-hate I used to carry around with myself is healing. Also the fact that I eat a PlantBased lifestyle (vegan) makes an enormous difference to my health and wellbeing.
I want to help you to feel and look the best you can too! So if you'd like to have a chat about it email me here.
p.s. I would love to hear if you've suffered from anything like this and what self-love and diet methods helped you. Please comment below!
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