Recently, I’ve been sharing my story, regarding hormonal acne. I’ve broken it down, into parts, because healing acne doesn’t just come from one area - it’s a process, that takes healing (and time), in multiple areas. Today, I’m discussing moving forward, and staying as positive as you can (while dealing with the negative emotions that hormonal acne creates).
** Please note: I am not a medical professional, and am not recommending, or promoting any specific lifestyle, or diet. These opinions are my own. I follow the idea of bio-individuality, which means that everybody and every BODY is different. What works for me, might not work for you.
A few months ago, I was shopping at one of my favorite spas, when a woman there was talking about the cold, dry Minnesota weather. “How do you keep your face moisturized, in this weather?” she asked me.
I told her about the Arcona products my esthetician had recommended, and then mentioned an avocado-based oil, I had started using, occasionally, at night.
“Oh… be very careful with that. People… with sensitive skin tend to experience more breakouts.”
I smiled, politely, while I swallowed, hard. For as nice as she might have been trying to be, that comment stung. But unfortunately, I was all-too familiar with comments like those.
It’s hard being a health coach (who people turn to for advice), when, from the outside, you can’t fix your own “issues”. It’s also hard to take advice, when others attempt to give it to you, because you feel as if you have tried all options.
If struggling with acne has taught me anything, it’s that everyone deals with their own challenges; we learn from them, become better people, and in turn, are able to help others, later. LATER. But what about right now? Because as great as it sounds, being able to learn from a difficult situation, and assist others in their struggles, later, dealing with OUR own struggles, in the present, is hard! Below, you’ll find a list of suggestions on how I’ve learned to deal with acne, in the now; while trying to refrain from losing all sanity.
Dealing With Acne, Mentally
DO NOT spend hours researching face products (or supplements) that might be the “magic cure”. If you’ve got a solid skincare and supplement routine, and it’s worked in the past, keep up with it. Changing things too much will cause confusion for your body. Which brings me to #2…
TAKE CARE OF YOUR SKIN! I know this goes without saying, but sometimes, we need the reminder. This means, washing it day and night, moisturizing day and night, applying SPF, before spending time in the sun. But ALSO: hydrate, internally. Drink enough water (I aim for 2-3/4 liters, daily), and eat hydrating foods. Nourishing your body, inside and out, will create feelings of routine, and developing routine can be helpful on your mental health.
Speaking of mental health, chill the F out! Physically and mentally. I can’t tell you how stressed having acne makes me. But if I’m being honest, that stress doesn’t get me anywhere (except maybe a new, red pimple, when I wake up). Take time to breathe and relax. What’s causing you stress? Take some serious time to consider how you’re dealing with it, and if you’re allowing your body enough time to chill and rest.
SLEEP! 7-8 hours, each night, and naps, whenever you can and/or want to! Especially when you’re feeling stressed, or run-down, naps can be the only way to turn off your brain.
Do more gentle exercise, like yoga. After a hot yoga class, the other day, I couldn’t help but cheer when I left, feeling the calmest I have felt in weeks. Not only is yoga great for calming the mind, but hot yoga allows you to sweat, which can be helpful in removing toxins.
Speaking of toxins… DO NOT FALL DOWN THE RABBIT HOLE OF TOXIN-OVERLOAD! Trust me, I’ve done this (and still struggle with this). We all have toxins in our bodies, and yes, it’s important to rid ourselves of them, but our bodies are pretty capable of doing that on its own. Eat organic, pesticide-free food (whenever you can), drink purified, clean water, use natural household cleaners, sweat and move your body. Until you’re doing all of these things, don’t think about loading your body up with a “liver cleansing” or “detox” supplement; it’ll just confuse your body.
Don’t stare at yourself, constantly, in a mirror. Last fall, I was in a barre class, with mirrors on every wall; I couldn’t get away from my face. Not only was the workout sweaty (which caused my face to be more red), I wasn’t able to get my mind off of my face, because my face was all I could see. Take into consideration your surroundings, and how they’re hindering (or helping) your feelings.
Don’t be afraid to ask for support. This was a tough one for me. The last time I had a flare, I just dealt with it (for months), before reaching out to anyone. It wasn’t until I ran into my friend (and esthetician), at an event, that I started to see her more frequently. But support can come from many areas. Complain about your acne, if you want to, but don’t bottle those feelings in! If you ever feel like you don’t have anyone that understands, my door is always open.
Makeup is great, but remember you’re just as beautiful without it. And I know this sounds cliché, but it’s true. Acne happens to everyone (at some point of time); it’s not taboo, or something that needs to be covered up. Definitely cover things up, in order to help make you feel more comfortable (if it helps make you feel more comfortable), but don’t do it just for someone else’s sake.
Breathe. Seriously. Take the next ten seconds to stop everything, close your eyes, and breathe. I firmly believe that so much of our DIS-ease is caused by this constant running around, and inability to slow down.
Personality Over Appearance
A few years ago, when my acne was at its worst, I came home, sobbing, one day, after I had received comments about my face. “Wow, it’s really bad, isn’t it? I’m sure it’ll heal soon.”
A WORD TO ANYONE WHO HAS EVER SAID THIS TO ANYONE: DON’T. I get it. I understand you trying to relate. You trying to be personal, and positive, but don’t. For anyone struggling with acne (especially at it’s worst), we know it’s bad; we don’t need to hear it from you, too.
It’s amazing how superficial we are, as a society. Our first compliments always seeming to be on appearance. But appearance is so one-sided, literally. And for anyone fighting any sort of internal battle, that comment might be enough to make them snap. Instead, I wish we could compliment more on personality, accomplishment, gratitude.
I’ve been so joyed to see more Instagram influencers chatting, truthfully, about their imperfections, because from our side, everything seems perfect. Trust me, it’s not. Nobody’s life is perfect, nor does anyone have the “perfect body” or “perfect face”. There are so many filters for a reason, and I can guarantee that everyone that posts on social media enough has their favorite. Until we start seeing people posting raw, un-edited photos of themselves, don’t be thinking your face is so awful, and someone else’s is so flawless.
It’s amazing how confident I was (and am) when I have “good skin”. I feel so sure of myself, so attractive and positive. And it’s just as amazing the 180 that happens, when my face has acne. I don’t take as many selfies. I’m not as outgoing. I’m not as sure of myself.
WHY?! Literally NOTHING changes about me, as a person; isn’t that crazy?! But it’s real, and I have a feeling it’s something we all can relate to.
So, instead of wasting so much energy focusing on our flaws, let’s focus on our features. What makes you unique? What fires you up? What do you enjoy doing? Embrace that more. Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, after all.
My acne series (on the blog) might be coming to an end, but I assure you, it’s not ending (in real life). As I sit here, writing this, I’m graced with a flare, on my left cheek. It’s frustrating as hell, yes. I feel less attractive, yes. It stresses me out, yes. However, I can’t help but think about why it’s there: I drank more alcohol, got inconsistent sleep, am dealing with allergies and stress… it all matters!
So, instead of dwelling on your outer appearance, next time, take a deep breath. The marks on your face don’t determine who you are, as a person; but maybe they’re a reminder of what you need, as a person.
Relaxation. Joy. Silence. Fuel.
Focus on filling your internal self up, and see what happens to the external.