This is an uplifting guest post by Love Vitamin reader Becca Lacy, who shares her story of her struggles with acne and an eating disorder, and her inspiring road to recovery.
I’m not sure what came first : the acne or the depression. Either way, they’re both something that no one ever wants to be faced with. Through out my journey and struggle, I have discovered that everything in your body is connected- emotionally, physically, spiritually.
I sometimes think the depression came first, and then the acne…but I can’t recall if I was actually depressed, or just had an abundance of teen angst when I was younger.
Regardless, as soon as grade 11 rolled around, I can distinctly remember not being happy anymore with the way I looked. I can’t remember if anything triggered it, and I certainly didn’t wake up one morning with the sudden decision to be unhappy… it just happened.
The Early Years – The Acne Begins
But let’s start at the beginning. Acne presented itself in grade 9, so when I was about 13, 14. No big deal at first, just small pimples; something I could easily deal with with over the counter products.
Then, at age 15, it started to get worse… and I mean really bad. I remember I had to go into work one Saturday morning (I worked at a library) and all I wanted to do was call in sick because my acne actually hurt.
It was painful to see it on my face, and it was physically painful to smile. I guess I could count myself lucky because it was all under the skin, so I could easily cover it up- but it hurt no less in my heart.
I just remember staring into my bathroom mirror, balling my eyes out. I felt truly hideous, like a monster.
My parents would always try their hardest to help in any way they could. At 16, when I was in grade 10 and 11, I was put on birth control, and had a full shelf of acne products. I swear, I could have started my own pharmacy. I was on birth control from age 16, to age 19, and to be honest, I never saw that much of an improvement.
At 19, and a freshman at college, all my friends acne was slowly fading, and mine was staying the same. I really do wish I had pictures of my ups and downs, but at the time, I was so horrified by my face that I couldn’t even stand to take pictures of it.
I could not understand what I was doing wrong. I washed my face twice a day, always took off my makeup at night (which I wore as more of a mask), I moisturized, and used my acne creams and cleansers religiously.
I started to feel worse about my face. And not only that, but my body as well. My self confidence went down the drain. The acne was something I could never get passed. It was there, it had made itself a home on my face, and dug its way into my heart.
I felt ugly. There is no other way to describe how I felt. I knew that if only I could have clear skin, I would be happy. I look back at that thought now and know that it is a silly belief. But more on that later…
Just like the depression that creeped up on me, so did another demon- an eating disorder. My daily meals consisted of crackers and soup- and on good days I might have had a bagel or a bowl of fruit.
I would check every morning to see if my acne had improved, and any reflective surface that was near me, I would make sure that my reflection looked how I wanted to feel- pretty. I would never leave the house without makeup and my hair fully done. I would spend hours in front of my bedroom mirror checking my reflection to see if I had lost or gained any weight. I would touch and squeeze every body part and feel disgusted while doing so. Every time I ate, I would have to shower after because I needed to cleanse off the dirt and grease from the food.
It was a nightmare that went on for over 3 years. And it was truly so easy to hide from anyone.
As you can imagine, my emotional battles had an extreme impact on my skin. My skin was no longer healthy looking. I had dark circles and my acne was at its worse. But to me, I was still in the mindset that the reason I had acne was because my pores were clogged from dirt and all the products that I was using would eventually, one day, heal my skin.
My parents, bless them, even spent thousands of dollars on laser, blu u with Levulan, and peels. And you guessed it! They didn’t work. I mean, they did, for a time, but it did not get rid of my acne at all. It made a couple scars disappear, and it did get rid of some redness and rosacea, but my acne kept on coming back.
I had lost all hope. I truly stopped caring for myself and about myself. I rewarded myself with food if I was having a good day, and prescription pills were something I looked towards to help me feel at ease with myself, even if it was to just put me to sleep.
And looking back while I write this, one consistent thought always remained: If I could get rid of my acne, all my other insecurities would disappear.
Hope In An Unlikely Form: The Internet
Near the end of my 2nd year of college, I sought help. I finally admitted to myself that something was not all fine. It took me about a year to feel okay again with the help of an amazing outpatient care facility. The more my health improved, the more I started to see improvements everywhere else.
This is probably due in large to the fact that I was eating proper meals again, but I feel like my emotional health and happiness also played a big role. I was happy with the improvements I saw, but I also wanted more of a change. I became greedy! Haha
I knew that what products I was using was not helping my skin anymore, and I knew it was time for a change. I saw from a couple different pins on Pinterest that oil cleansing methods were the new thing. I was skeptical. Oil on my face? Hello acne again, right?
I looked more into it, and researched the heck out of the internet, and that’s when I stumbled across a diamond in the rough: this website, The Love Vitamin. From this site, I discovered so many wonderful holistic ways to heal and get healthier.
I started to understand why I needed certain vitamins and minerals, and why greens were so good for you. I started to understand what was in my cleansers that I was using and why they wouldn’t help me on my road to clear skin. It was a vault of information just pouring into me.
I felt so inspired. Within the first hour of reading all these articles, I went out and bought Jojoba oil and organic manuka honey. I couldn’t wait to get started!
I started to have green smoothies every morning, accompanied with eggs from free range chickens and gluten free waffles. I also make sure to take all my daily vitamins. I can eat 3 meals a day with snacks without feeling bloated or ‘fat’ (which is a word I have come to loathe). I feel good when I eat now because I know what I’m putting into my body and why it needs it.
Be warned though! It did not come easy. As I was healing, and changing my way of living to holistic, I had some downfalls. I remember I went grocery shopping for the first time in about 5 months (I always made my mum go), and I was standing in the organic section, crying from being so overwhelmed.
I had made a list in my head about what I could and couldn’t eat. I couldn’t have gluten, or dairy… and really most items on the shelf had way too much sugar… and salt… and this and that. I was terrified to
put anything unhealthy in my mouth… even if it was healthy. The biggest lesson I took from all of this was to relax. Breathe. And remember that eating should be fun and not a chore- I even eat dessert first sometimes 😉
It took a couple of months for my skin to adjust to my new regime, and new way of life, but I know that it, and I, couldn’t be happier.
My Skin Care Regime
For all those who are curious, this is what I do and what has worked best for me:
At night if I have makeup on, I take it off with extra virgin olive oil. I splash my face with water to get some of it off, and I put on some jojoba oil. I find the combination of the two oils great for my face. It doesn’t make it too oily, and it moistens just enough.
I then splash my face with warm water and blot dry with a clean towel, just to get the excess oil off. I also add about 2 drops of rose hip oil to my skin after I blot my skin dry. I find this is really helping my acne scars, which I have a ton of.
If I have an active pimple, and I definitely always do when I have my period, I put raw organic manuka honey on over top of it, and leave it there for the night.
In the morning, I always splash my face with luke warm water and add a little bit of jojoba oil. Sometimes, I even forget to wash my face in the morning, which I find is totally okay too. I think it might even help a bit… it’s too early to tell though!
I do a face mask once a week. It’s usually a baking soda face mask, or I love doing a green tea face mask. These help with my acne scars. It takes awhile to see improvements, but be patient, they will come 🙂
Before I do my makeup, I usually put a mask of manuka honey on my face for about 20-30 minutes. I find this really helps with inflammation and redness. I put the mask on, and make up my eyes. I then splash off the honey, moisten with jojoba oil, and continue on with my foundation etc.
Since I am a makeup artist for a pretty high end company, I always have to have my face primed and proper. I’ve discovered that I am very sensitive to sunscreen and I try to avoid it as much as possible. I find that almost every foundation has SPF in it, so this is what I use:
I don’t use primers or CC creams because I honestly think it’s just a marketing scam and BB creams are too light of a coverage for me right now.
I use Makeup Forever HD foundation. It gives a nice satin finish, without being too matte, or dewy.
I use Tarte’s Creaseless Concealer. It also has a beautiful finish to it. I love Tarte products because they are formulated without gluten, mineral oil, and parabens.
I finish off with a light dusting of Laura Mercier’s Loose Translucent Setting Powder.
This foundation routine has yet to break me out! I know, I know, makeup in general is not good for the skin… but a girls gotta do what a girls gotta do. And this gal likes to, and sometimes has to, wear it.
So this has been my journey so far- my road to clear skin. It has been difficult and it is not over yet but I am so happy with where I am right now and I know that it can only go up from here.
This site has aided me in healing my body, and that’s something that I can never forget. I know now that loving oneself is the most important lesson one can learn and that no matter what you look like on the outside, it’s what’s inside that is more important.
Take it from me- someone who tried so hard to be perfect on the outside, and ended up empty, and lonely on the inside.
I was always terrified that people would not like me because of my skin, because of what I thought was on the outside- but they’re not looking at that. And if they are, they’re not worth a moment of your time.
That is what acne has taught me.
I know everyone has something that they are struggling with, and I wish everyone the best of luck and all of my love on their journey to inner peace, love, and happiness.
Bio: My name is Becca and I am 21 year old girl from Ontario, Canada! I am currently a freelance and M.A.C makeup artist but I’m an aspiring psychologist, with emphasis on criminal psychology.
I share my story in hopes that other people can relate and know that they are not alone in their journey towards clear skin and a healthier life style. I am a huge advocate for loving the body that you are in and the person that you are.
You can find more of my health tips, recipes and makeup looks at www.cognacandlilac.typepad.com and at my instagram which is votrepetitchou.