This guest blog post was written by Self Love Expert, podcaster, and member of the #foodperiodfamily, Lea Alexandra.
Disclaimer: the information in this article is for educational purposes only and is not designed to replace individualized recommendations from a practitioner. Always check with your doctor before adding supplements or making changes to your treatment plan.
When I first got acne, I thought this would be it, it was the tip of the iceberg for me. The last thing on the long list of shit biscuits I had been served up until that point. It was like the Universe was just piling bad stuff on top of each other for me just for laughs and because why not?
When my skin started breaking out really bad around the spring of 2017, I was already in a really really bad place mentally and emotionally (and I had been for a year at that point) and to get acne on top of that to me seemed like the end of the world.
I remember not leaving my house, or sometimes not even my room, out of shame over my skin. I would cake on layers and layers of foundation JUST to go to the pool or the gym or to go downstairs to eat breakfast at my parents house. I remember pretending like I wasn’t home when the mailman rang the doorbell wanting to deliver a package, because I didn’t want to be seen.
I would spend hours in front of the mirror picking at my skin, crying, getting angry and telling myself I looked like a disgusting monster. "No wonder no one loves me" is what I thought on a daily basis.
Safe to say it was pretty bad.
"What we need is more acceptance, more people raising their hand and saying “I deal with this too," more representation, more love."
My Acne Journey
To backtrack a little bit, my acne started when I went off the birth control pill in November of 2016. Not right away though, it took a few months for my skin to REALLY freak out.
The reason why I stopped taking birth control was because I had realized one day that it was a huge contributor to my depression and anxiety; it was not the only reason because I had a lot of stuff going on, but it certainly amplified it.
When I went off it, my mental health slowly started getting better and my skin slowly started getting worse. It was like all of the inner turmoil I had going on; all of the sadness and worry and obsession was now manifesting itself on my face.
While I had learned many coping mechanisms to deal with my heartbreak, anxiety, depression and overall mental health, I couldn’t seem to apply the same principles to the stress and worry and obsession I felt over my skin.
I felt trapped. I felt like I was alone and the only one dealing with acne because when I looked around, everyone had perfect skin.
None of my friends had ever dealt with skin issues and would freak out when they had one tiny pimple. When I would say to them “Look, it’s a small pimple, I have this all over my face," their response would be “Yeah but YOU have acne, I NEVER break out," which as you can imagine is not very nice to hear.
But at the same time, they didn’t understand. They didn’t know what it was like to feel embarrassed to leave the house and face the world thinking that you were this disgusting monster everyone would stare at and point fingers at. They didn’t understand what a huge impact acne can have on your mental health, confidence, and self-esteem.
A Lifetime of Conditioning
It’s something I think not enough people talk about; that it’s not just about appearance or it being uncomfortable or sometimes even painful, it can actually take a significant toll on your mental health.
When your whole life you’re conditioned to believe by media or magazines or the people around you that acne is something only teenagers have, or that it means you are dirty and it’s definitely something you should get rid of immediately, no wonder the people who have it feel ashamed and gross.
Acne has this stigma around it; people tell you to “just wash your face“ or “drink more water“ or “cut out dairy“ and while most people probably are actually trying to be helpful, all I (and I'm sure others as well) wanted to do is scream in their face “JUST SHUT UP!"
We don’t need another “cure“ for acne, we don’t need another company or person telling us what we should and shouldn’t do and how we could work to clear up our skin.
What we need is more acceptance, more people raising their hand and saying “I deal with this too," more representation, more love. What we need is for people to realize that they are not the only ones, they are not dirty, and they don’t need to hide or feel ashamed.
At the end of the day, it’s just skin. It’s not who you are, it doesn’t define you, it doesn’t make you less of a person or unloveable; no matter how many times we have been told otherwise.
Once I started to accept my skin for what it was, once I implemented more self love and mindfulness and kindness towards myself, my skin started healing. It was like it was breathing this sigh of relief and thanking me for finally not attacking it anymore.
My Skin Today
Is my skin perfect now? Absolutely not.
I still deal with hormonal breakouts or random pimples that like to say hi, but the difference between now and my full blown acne days is not even the fact that my skin is better, it’s the fact that my mind is better. I healed my mind and so my skin healed too.
Lea Alexandra is a Self Love Expert, former negative Nancy, and self-made happy person. She's here to teach you how to live life to the fullest and love yourself unconditionally through your acne, scars, skin issues! Her goal is to help make women more confident so that their acne no longer dictates their life and mood.
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