Insecurities: Does your face hurt? Cause it’s kiling me!

Insecurities: we all have them.  Though I’m mostly a confident person, in the past my biggest insecurity has been my skin.  I had pretty bad acne all through middle school and most of high school, and I tried medicines after medicines to try and heal it.  Trips to the dermatologist would result in tears as she treated some of my bad marks (once with a needle!) and always ended with some new prescription for a cream with a whopping price tag.

Also a while back I started taking birth control pills, which helped clear my acne a bit.  Since I’m an all-natural kind of gal, It pained me to be taking so much medications, but I persisted since it did help clear my skin–and give me a lot more confidence.  With time, it fizzled out.

In fact, back in the fall of 2010, it looked like my big breakouts were gone for good!

And I felt great! I decided I could finally stop swallowing hormones and smearing chemicals on my face, since my acne appeared to be all gone.  So that’s what I did.  All I did was wash my face with Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Wash in the morning and at night.

I was lookin’ good and feelin’ good:

But in the past few weeks, I noticed that I was getting some pretty serious breakouts–worse than I had ever gotten before.

Confession: I do not feel confident when I have a lot of breakouts.  It makes me feel wicked insecure.  Which sucks for so many reasons:

  1. I am being photographed A LOT right now, since I am going on all these adventures.  I want to be looking my best!
  2. I am meeting a lot of new people, and it doesn’t make an ideal first impression.  It’s like, “I swear, I’m a hottie under here somewhere!” lol 😉
  3. It’s painful! (and ugly, shhh…)  The affected areas are extremely sensitive to the touch
  4. I did not bring my old acne medicines, and cannot find my favorite Neutrogena (for a reasonable price) anywhere here in New Zealand
  5. It makes me feel like I’m unhealthy in some way

Why had it suddenly gotten so bad?  Was it the transition to my new environment?  Maybe, so I tried to waited it out, but over a month later, I don’t see any real improvement.  So, I asked my parents to send me my old acne meds so I could try them again:

Tazorac at night and Finacea in the morning.  I used Finacea this past fall when my skin was lookin good, and I have Acanya as a back up in case nothing improves on the Finacea.  Fun fun.  I went back on birth control a few months ago, and it usually takes a few months to regulate things completely, so that should kick in soon and help.

In addition to topical medicines and birth control, the following things can help heal acne:

  • Avoiding caffeine:  It’s true that I have been consuming more the past few months!  No more daily trips to the cafe for me!  This will help me save money and it’s better for me, anyway.
  • Avoiding growth hormones in meat and dairy: Since I rarely eat meat, that’s not an issue, but the dairy problem is concerning.  Especially because I cannot afford to be buying organic or almond milk right now.  I will cut back, but not eliminate it.
  • Exercise: sweat helps to cleanse pores.  Gee, don’t I do that enough already?  Well, I won’t stop then 🙂
  • Avoid oily and greasy foods:  I already eat these very rarely, but the problem is these crappy economical pans in my kitchen have a tendency to be very sticky!  I’ll continue to use as little oil as I can.
  • Avoiding sugar and chocolate:  This will be a tough one!  After lunch and dinner I usually need something sweet.  But did you know sugar has no health benefits for your body?  (Though tons for your soul!) So I’m going to start by keeping sweets for a small after dinner treat.
  • Avoiding stress:  I’ll admit, my life is pretty stress-free right now, but though I do have a tendency to work myself up about things, I’ll be sure to do a little yoga (with meditation!) every day, no excuses.

Since I want to clear my acne for mainly cosmetic reasons, I will not enter the dangerous area of “restriction” for any of the above guidelines.  My first priority is to be healthy, and healthy skin usually follows.  So let’s see where my new regimen takes me!  I’m just hoping that at some point, my skin will be back to the healthy glow it was a few months ago:

But until then, I’m still smiling 🙂


What are your insecurities?




Filed under Life

15 responses to “Insecurities: Does your face hurt? Cause it’s kiling me!

  1. Darcy

    This is such an amazing post, very touching. Fall 2010 you were indeed rocking, and Spring 2011 you are still beautiful. I’m very sorry about what you’re going through, i know it can be disparaging. You are incredibly brave for being so open and i am in awe of you. Much love, Enjoy New Zealand!

  2. Martine

    Emma, I loved your post! Your honesty is inspiring. I am sure you will help some others that may be struggling with the same thing. You are a beautiful person inside and out. I want to tell you I am praying that your skin clears up. I am sure it will! Keep your positive attitude. I feel for you because I am sure it is hard.
    I did hear somewhere that if you cut out dairy all together it will help. You may want to look into that and try that for a month and see what happens. Love, Mrs. Benzio xxx

  3. Marty

    Emma – I’m new here – but a Vermonter too – as I saw your post on Pure2Raw…where in VT? I’m from St. J, but actually live in AK now.

    I feel for you with your acne pains! I hope you don’t mind me sharing mine? I too had severe acne in H.S., years with the dermatologist, ugh, really only one in my family (5 sibs). It took years, but I cut out all dairy, and voila, no acne at all. The milk wasn’t difficult, but the cheese? No Vt Cheddar, really? Ugh! I find I can’t even have soy cheeses, except the new Daiya (tapioca) cheese. I see my family every few years, and they look at me and say, “Wow, your face is clear, what’s up?” As much as I LOVE dairy, esp cheese, my bod loves me not eating it, guess I just can’t process it. I don’t know how much you consume? Blessings, enjoy your journey in the Southern Hempisphere!

    • Welcome! I live in Burlington (though right now I’m in Auckland, New Zealand) but I grew up near Philadelphia. Thank you so much for sharing your acne story with me! I can feel it in my gut that dairy is the culprit, but I know–I can’t live without cheese! I try not to eat too much, but I could definitely cut down. Let’s see if it works for me, too!

  4. Hey there!! I struggle with acne too – I actually just took a class in ayurveda. Cheese/dairy should be limited – but if you combine it with fresh produce like apples or carrots it will help to counter-act the negative affect on your skin. Fruits especially.

    And creamless tomato soup of course! Thanks for the comments!!! You’re gorgeous!

  5. kath pace

    I am so proud of your honest ability to be so sincere about your acne. So many people, young and old suffer with some degree of it. You are such a beautiful person …keep on working on it and it will clear. Stay positive and be good to your body…you sure seem like you are doing a good of it. I have learned a lot from this and all the comments. thanks for sharing!
    Mrs. P

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  9. Christine

    Hi Emma,
    I am a first time reader, but I can definitely relate. I have dealt with acne my whole life and after experimenting with many different types of cremes and face washes I finally tried Acutane. It was the best decision I made for my skin. You are beautiful and I wish I had your confidence when I was dealing with my skin as well!

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