This is a reader story by Love Vitamin fan Marie (submit your own reader story here)
Hi Tracy! I am so glad I found your website because I think your story resonates with my own in how you have demonstrated that skin conditions like acne have the tendency to take over ones’ entire being when they’re at their worst!
It happened to me too. You seem to have come out of the fog and into the light, so to speak, and it’s so inspiring! 🙂
My story is probably similar to many others, I’m sure. I’m not quite clear of my acne yet, but it’s really getting much better- I’m so excited! 🙂
In the Beginning…
As a child, I never washed my face and had perfect skin, albeit, quite sensitive. I LOATHED going down the detergent isle at the grocery store as a child because my face would get red, tight and burn, my eyes would get itchy and watery and I’d sneeze.
At a very young age, I knew that I couldn’t be around strong scented products, as much as I loved and still love perfumes and anything pretty from The Body Shop (bye bye, Body Shop….sniff, sniff)
Once high school hit, I started to listen to my peers and the media more (tsk, tsk!) and began to no longer protect my sensitive, pale skin while outdoors. That resulted in frost bite/wind burn on my cheek during the winter and then an incompetent dermatologist using some kind of CO2 laser (??) on my face which gave way to the development of a permanent scar.
Thereafter, I was getting increased deep flushing in both my cheeks accompanied by a really bad burning sensation. I tried to eliminate any type of food that may have been causing it (the jury’s still out on whether it was from the frostbite, that laser thing or if my sensitive skin was just getting worse naturally), knitting HUGE scarves to cover up during the winter months and coating on the sunscreen whenever I went outdoors.
The Start of the Breakouts
After high school, that’s when I started to break out in pimples- on my back too. During that time, from junior high right up until last month, I was using the St. Ive’s Apricot Scrub and anything I could get my hands on at Shoppers Drug Mart or Lawton’s Drugs. I know you’re Canadian too, Tracy, so you know what I’m talking about here :).
I even tried stuff like Zhongzhou Ointment that would treat demodex mites on the face…..that’s another story 😛
I thought these products were helping my extremely sensitive skin but really, they were exacerbating its sensitivity. I couldn’t even touch my face or sleep on it because it just hurt too much.
Now, I was never one to wear any foundation on my face, just a little Physician’s Formula green-tinted moisturizer(and at that time back in high school, it still had SPF in it; now they no longer make it at all, just the concealer) to cover up any random pimple or redness where my scar was on my left cheek.
Whenever I’d get a flare, I’d wet a washcloth with freezing cold water and drape it over my face and go lie down. I hated my life. I couldn’t concentrate on anything especially when my face would be in a flare. I didn’t want my red, flushed face to be seen in public because people would ask if I was ok and I would get so self-conscious.
I researched online and came to the conclusion that I have rosacea. So I went to the doctor. She told me to go to a dermatologist. She prescribed some kind of cream that never helped. I was poor (still am!) and couldn’t keep paying for prescription creams for the rest of my life when I knew they weren’t going to work.
That cream made me break out too! So luckily, at the time, MCP covered a much better laser treatment called IPL- Intense Pulse Light. It is no longer covered in my province- rats. It saved my rosacea from that permanent burning red flush!
The Acne Strikes Back
For a few years after, my skin was pretty much perfect- except for my back. Now, five years after, right around the time they say to go back and get “touch-up” treatments, I have been breaking out all over. I think it is called hormonal acne.
I am 31 years old and get acne on my neck! What the hell?! My sister was getting it too and she’s two years older than I am and she was like, “Marie, prepare for it- once you hit 30, you’re gonna get the Fecknath (our last name) curse- vampire bites!” LOL! Not so funny when I really did start to get them!
Anyway, my dad was always telling his daughters to stop putting “shit”, as he calls it, on our faces. We never listened to him and just kept on breaking out. His family comes from a line of oily siblings who look virtually ageless.
He doesn’t wash his face and never has, to my knowledge. I remember a time when he and I went to my uncle’s cabin for a few days fishing and the whole time I was there, I never showered. My face wasn’t dry at all, whereas when I would wash my face and/or exfoliate every day, it would be stripped of its natural oils and mantle, and it would be so sensitive and dry that I’d have to moisturize and then, bam, I’d break out!
It was a vicious cycle that I never knew was happening until recently!
Turns out…. Dad was right all along!!
So, looking back, Dad was right. My advice for everyone with acne issues echoes this sentiment – DO NOT WASH YOUR FACE! I’ve been doing it for a few weeks now and my face doesn’t feel greasy, though it’s not dried out at all. I think it’s healing very well, and it’s definitely not as sensitive as before.
I’ve been reading the rosacea forums and many people have been saying that the Caveman Regimen is where it’s at! My pimples are all dried up, now there are only red spots in their place, my face no longer requires moisturizer, and I no longer wear concealer on my pimples- because I don’t have any!
And maybe makeup has been part of the problem too. Even though I’ve used makeup that is supposedly non-comedogenic, hypoallergenic, and it contained all “natural” ingredients, I still think that my skin just can’t handle so much “junk”. It needs to breathe.
I look at my boyfriend who has flawless skin and never does anything except trim his beard when it gets unruly, and I think, wow- we women have been duped. We’re taught from a very young age that washing our faces with expensive cleansers and wearing lots of makeup with many containing questionable ingredients are what we should be doing to our skin.
Turns out… NO, we shouldn’t!
My boyfriend hates makeup and says that I look way better without any anyway and even when I wear lip gloss, he wipes his mouth after kissing me and says, “Ew- whale blubber- too slippery!” Even though it’s not whale blubber, of course! 😛 It does contain petroleum though, which to me, is probably just as bad.
I Feel So Much More Confidence Now
I really want all women to embrace who we are, naturally. If you can do it …. don’t wash your face and don’t wear makeup. At least where you know you are prone to break out. In my opinion, it’s not worth it!
The media want you to feel bad about yourself so you go out and buy product after product so that they can make lots of money off you. It just takes away your own unique beauty, imho. Doing what we’ve been doing for so long just doesn’t make good sense, it seems.
The pretty packaging on these products and the claims made about their purpose are just that- pretty packaging and claims (more like bullshit to me, but hey, sometimes I don’t care about my vocabulary usage!)
I know it has been difficult for me to change my way of thinking when I comes to the cosmetic industry, but I found that when I purged virtually my entire supply of cosmetics, I started to feel less anxious about my appearance- after a few days, of course! There is an adjustment period 😛
I am also a firm believer in the saying, “You are what you eat.” AND, “You are what you think.”
So, I am 31 years old, though I look much younger than that according to lots of people, which has been a help and a hindrance in some ways….so yes, I am 31 years old, 5’3”, 110 lbs., which is NORMAL, I have cellulite, I have an ass, I’m basically flat-chested, I have big feet, long arms, naturally blond hair and have never and will never dye it, am lactose intolerant, and I’ve learned to love myself the way I am.
My family and friends love me the way I am and so do I and that’s all that really matters. I can’t imagine myself any other way than how I am right now in my life. I look after myself and care about what goes inside my body as well as what goes on it.
It’s a shame that we as women are taught to cover and/or change our natural selves and our so-called “flaws”. Wouldn’t it be a very strange and boring world if we were all the very same balloon-chested, bleach-blond haired, lolli-pop stick woman that we so often see in the media…. where everything is altered or covered so that there is no semblance of who we really are?
I really don’t think this is the way we should aspire to look. For a while, I’m sure I have thought that way too. :/ It’s always being pushed in our faces anyway, right? Sigh
Thank You For Helping Me See the Light
I once taught ESL in South Korea and so many of the women, even the young high school girls I taught had some form of plastic surgery done or were planning to get it done during their school break.
I know that different cultures have different concepts of beauty but when it becomes a distorted version of nature, then that is cause for alarm, in my mind.
What are we teaching our daughters? MUST we be so self-absorbed and insecure at the hands of the 1% to succumb to their advertisements and procedures? Have we lost the ability to think critically for ourselves? And if we are part of said 1%, is the money really worth it? Do we truly feel whole?
I say a big, fat NO! 🙂
Thanks to people like Tracy for having this blog here, we, the masses, can once again remember that what is on the inside really is what is most important!
PS from Tracy –
If you’re wondering how you can begin getting rid of your acne in a way that feels natural and puts you in touch with the REAL you…. so you can shed the insecurities, the mask of cosmetics and really shine your true light, just like Marie…
Make sure you sign up for my newsletter to learn my clear skin system and get the juiciest tips 🙂 You’ll also get my totally free report ‘7 Things You Can Start Doing Right Now to Clear Your Skin’!
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Lots of love,