Monday, 19 September 2016

Why Acne Doesn't Define Me

Why Acne Doesn't Define Me beauty blogger UK  teenager lifestyle skincare spots zits

I've battled with shit skin for most of my life. Ever since I was a little baby, I had very sensitive skin and eczema. As a child, I came out in a rash every time I used a fancy bubble bath or bath bomb, which pretty much put Lush out of the question! Yes, I don't ever have the pleasure of going into a Lush shop and getting excited over the wide array of colorful and adorable looking bath bombs and shower gels *Sad face*

At the end of year six, I developed acne. Hello, puberty! Mainly based on my cheeks, a couple of spots here and there were annoying but never really affected my confidence that much. Let's just say, my interest in fashion, caring about my appearance hadn't really caught up with my body and all the changes that were happening inside it yet. I was marched off to boots, and my mother bought me a wide array of skincare products and face washes to control the spots. Spoiler alert- it didn't help!

And there we have the beginning of my seven years and counting battle against my acne. Over the years I have been teased about my acne, I've beaten myself up about it, I've hated it myself for it and let it rule my life. But over the very long and stressful seven years of battling with these little devils, I have learnt one thing. Acne does not define me. I am not just the spots on my face. If you can see past my acne, you will see that I am a very loving, understanding and slightly weird human being that is NOT dirty or contaminated. 


When we realised that the spots weren't shifting anytime soon, my mum took me to the doctor. I reluctantly agreed. Seriously? People go to the doctor about their spots? I couldn't quite believe it, what I didn't know was that I would be making many more doctors trips over the next seven years, with little success. My doctor, bless his heart was always very sympathetic and understanding. I distinctly remember the first thing I was given was some little tube thing with a mesh top, which was very odd and didn't work.

Since then I have had four different types of antibiotics for my acne. What they were doesn't matter, because they didn't work. Let's face it- my acne is as stubborn as I am! I had countless topical lotions and creams to go alongside these pills, at varying percentages. None of which worked, surprise surprise! 

Actually NO, plot twist! I had a cream called benzoyl peroxide at 2.5% and 5%. 2.5% did nothing but 5% seemed to help, my skin wasn't looking that bad, but then they decided to stop my prescription because of a shortage of the cream, and I could only get some more if I went back to the doctors. At this point, my skin was looking good, so I couldn't really justify going back to the doctors. So I went on without it. It turns out; my skin missed it a bit, and all the spots came flooding back. You can buy benzoyl peroxide over the counter, but it is not as strong. So I did that with little success and found myself back in the doctors' surgery. 

Why Acne Doesn't Define Me spots skincare acne teenager beauty blogger

At the start of this year, I had had enough; my skin wasn't looking great, so I went to the doctors, and she gave me some pills and cream, which didn't work, even though she thought they would. The thing about treating acne is that it doesn't go overnight, it takes months for antibiotics to work, so the intervals between each appointment were quite long. After the disappointment of the last antibiotics, I went back to my own doctor, and he wanted to try one last thing, before referring me to the dermatologist. The contraceptive pill. 

I was given three months of the contraceptive pill, to hopefully put my acne right. The thing about the contraceptive pill is that has many different uses not just protecting you from having unwanted babies. One of those being helping get rid of acne, as you can guess it didn't work and my acne looked worse than ever. The photos in this post were taken around a month ago, when this post goes up. My skin had never looked as bad, and it really knocked my confidence. 

After the pill run out, I went back to the doctor with the hope that he might refer me to the dermatologist to get Rocatutane. A very powerful but controversial drug which has been linked to 20 teenage suicides in two years. Although it's very rare. Rocatutane can cause depression, so if you already have depression and mental health problems, it's very unlikely that they are going to want to risk putting you on the drug. 

I'm not going to lie. This really really hurt. My acne not only hurts and is painful but really knocks my confidence. I can't wear makeup anymore because it's just a waste of money. The foundation doesn't cover it, no matter how much it promises it will. My acne looks purple when makeup is applied over it, which isn't a very pretty sight. I used to cover my eyes and face with my hair to hide the appalling state of my skin and sit with my hands over my cheeks so I could hide them from as many people as possible, 

People like to say; that acne doesn't bother them and that they don't think I'm dirty, and they know they can't catch it or anything, but that doesn't stop them staring. Whether they just want to squeeze them (which if you ask me is gross! I never squeeze my spots because it's pretty gross) or are just in shock at how bad my skin is. People stare. People like to ask me if I wash my face or if I have tried a certain skin product- like seriously? Don't you think I have tried everything! Including toothpaste and peas (Don't ask!)

Why Acne Doesn't Define Me spots zits help beauty blogger skincare bad acne worse acne

I am now back on some old antibiotics that I was on a while ago; I don't hold up much hope- let's be real here! But hey, you will grow out of it! Will I? Really? Because if you ask me, these little blighters are here to stay. They haven't just set up tents, they have laid the foundations, built the walls, added the windows and are now decorating the inside of their new homes. On my face. 

Maybe I'm just being pessimistic. I mean when am I not pessimistic? One day I hope I will be in a place where I can go on Rocatutane and be safe. But now, sadly, I just have to learn to accept my acne for what is. I need to learn that acne doesn't define me. Which I know is easier said than done.

Instead of automatically assuming that people are staring at me because of my acne, I need to think maybe they are looking at me instead for another reason. Maybe they really like my top, my outfit or my lipstick! Who knows? And what about the people who actually make comments or point at my skin? Yeah, they are going to be harder to deal with. I haven't really thought of this one yet. To be honest, being bullied because of my acne scares me a lot. I hope it never happens.

I am beautiful. You are beautiful. Acne or no acne. If you see someone with acne or any other kind of psychical flaw or deformity- don't stare at them. Smile. They are going to be very self-conscious about their insecurities. You don't need to add to this heightened self-awareness. 

Thank you for reading, as always X

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32 comments

  1. You brave, beautiful girl. This was very well written and although I don't know the extent of how you feel, having had eczema since I was a baby I can definitely relate to when people think you're not clean and contaminated. Thank you for sharing this post, I hope it creates awareness for other people <3 x
    www.elliswoolley.blogspot.com

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    1. Thank you so much! I'm sorry you have had to cope with Eczema- I know how annoying that can be x

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  2. As always, I have so much respect for you for posting these personal posts Nicole! Even though I never had to deal with serious acne myself I think the message of this post is very inspiring & it will help a lot of people who do struggle with it as well x

    Sara’sChapters

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  3. Have you given lush products a go? I normally avoid bath bombs because I have very sensitive skin too, but I seem to be fine with Lush! You were very brave to post this & I'm sure it will help somebody. Loved the post. Xx

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    1. I haven't no, but lot's of people recommend them so I might give them a go soon x

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  4. I am so proud of you for uploading this post and I hope it helps many many people. I have never had this issue before and you have definitely raised awareness of it for me so thankyou xx
    http://blossomofhope.blogspot.com/

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  5. Such a honest post! Acne is the absolute and I totally understand where you are coming as I was the girl with the really bad acne who was constantly at the doctors trying to find something that worked for me! Honestly all the antibiotics I had never worked and neither did the creams but luckily for me the contraceptive pill did! It was my last resort before being transferred to the dermatologist! I'm so glad you aren't letting your skin define as acne is a totally normal thing! Hope you find something that works eventually!
    Catriona...
    http://catrionalauder.blogspot.co.uk

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    1. Thank you lovely! I'm really happy that you found something to work for you x

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  6. Thank you for having the confidence to share this post. I struggled with acne and after taking one roacutane tablet I decided I didn't want to risk my mental health. It affected my social anxiety because I believed that people thought my acne reflected what was on the inside. When I was 12 I was asked if I ate too much chocolate because of it. I definitely know the contraceptive pill (Drospirenone + Ethinylestradiol combination) worked for me. This is because little over 3 months ago I decided to give a my body a break from the pill and I broke out! After being back on it for 3 months I am still waiting for my skin to clear up, but I guess I will have to give it more time. I also know cutting out gluten makes a difference with my acne, but I don't have the motivation to be consistently gluten free. I always felt alone when going through acne, but it is comforting to know other people are dealing with similar issues. Though like you mentioned it shouldn't define you as a person.

    Larisa xx
    larisajayne.com

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    1. Thank you so much for your comment! I relate to you with the point about social anxiety, it really can make me feel like everyone is staring at me sometimes xx

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  7. I applaud you for this open and honest post - you are beautiful and your acne definitely doesn't define who you are.

    It really pisses me off when people assume acne is caused by not washing, it's so ignorant and couldn't be further from the truth.

    My brother used to suffer from it really badly and I saw the affect it had on his confidence. It took years to find a cream that worked and that had it's own side effects.

    xx
    www.kirstytalks.co.uk

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    1. aw lovely thank you! I'm sorry to hear about your brother, unfortunately good creams often have bad side effects x

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  8. Very personal and I'm glad you shared this post. Acne CAN be very hormonal (mine is but mine is very mild compared to yours so I won't say I know EXACTLY what you're feeling because I don't). I would suggest going to an endocrinologist and getting all your hormone and other levels checked via blood to see if you have any internal issues going on to cause your skin to be this agitated. You might have too much "male hormone" shit going on which causes this. I would also say for you to look into facials. They might help. Lastly, good for you for not trying to hide in a corner! :)

    S .x http://ramblingsofayoungprgirl.blogspot.com

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    1. Thank you lovely! I might look in to one day, thank you for sharing x

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  9. Hey lovely,
    Your story is very similar to mine. I was on countless antibiotics before finally being put on the contraceptive pill at 15! After coming off the pill after 9 years my skin was worse than ever. Instead of using more antibiotics, prescription creams and Accutane I started treating the root cause of my acne. Working on my digestion and hormone imbalance through diet and supplements. The results have been incredible and most importantly - permanent! I've got loads of useful resources about healing acne from the inside out over on my blog, you may find some stuff useful! :)
    www.skyntherapyblog.com
    Big hugs,
    A xxxx

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  10. Great post! I also have had acne most of my life - I'm almost 28 and it still hasn't subsided - I have just recently went to a dermatologist to try to fix it. They think my problem was actually an Ovarian Cyst - it can have no symptoms for some and others it can flare up a multitude of issues. Keep your chin up! It doesn't define you at all!

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    1. ohh, I'm sorry to hear that lovely! Hopefully you have got it all sorted now x

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  11. I'm so glad I discovered your blog because you are pretty much the only real blogger out there! Everyone else just sugar coats everything and pretends as if they are above everyone else, and spots! I don't have 'acne' but I do suffer from just huge random spots that pop up and make me feel like everyone who is talking to me
    Is staring at them. I try wearing make up but I'm rubish at applying at and it never seems to cover them up like it does for all the other girls, so
    I just grin and bare it and pretend like I'm not dying inside.

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    1. oh bless you lovely! Thank you lovely for your comment! I'm rubbish at applying makeup too so I know how you feel x

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  12. Can really relate to this. I've gone through so many bouts of horrible acne since I was around 14 (I'm 22 now) and I completely understand how emotionally draining it is. I think what you've got to remember is that most people don't care about your skin and the way you look and people probably don't notice it as much as you think - even thought hat is hard to remember! I've just finished a 6 month course of Roaccutane, and after trying literally EVERYTHING, all the lotions and potions my doctor could muster up, I really didn't see it working either but the results are amazing. My brother was on it as well when he was your age even though he has depression and he was absolutely fine. The chance of becoming more depressed is so little, it might be worth giving it a go? The thing is, if you do start feeling depressed you can just stop taking them!

    The Velvet Black | UK Style and Beauty Blog

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    1. I'm glad to hear it has worked for you! I would love to give it a go but I don't think my doctor will let me :(

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  13. Such a honest post! Thank you for sharing! I had bad acne too growing up and was lucky a cream did help, and now I'm ok. But it took years, and totally knocked my confidence and ruined my time at school! I really hope you find something soon!

    Karina | http://karinahearts.com

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    1. Thank you! I'm so happy you found something to help your skin x

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  14. Hi Nicole, just stumbled across your post whilst taking a coffee break at work. Thank you so much for sharing this! Like many of the other ladies commenting on here I have had pretty bad acne since I was a teenager and it used to get me really down when I was younger and I hated when people stared or asked me about it! Again, when I came off the pill two years ago it got pretty bad, but I was less self conscious about it this time thanks to the support of my friends, family and awesome partner - who couldn't give a damn about what my skin looks like so long as I am happy and healthy. I hope you have similar people in your life too. I have had two courses of Roaccutane in my life and it does work wonders, but it is an unpleasant treatment, your mental health is the most important thing so I would urge you to do what is best for you. The one thing I would say in praise of Roaccutane is that you have to attend regular appointments with a dermatologist during the treatment to monitor any fluctuations in your health and mood and that attention is very reassuring. Hope you find the right thing for your skin - lots of love, Ruth

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  15. I have so much respect for you with these honest and real posts! You're a brave and beautiful girl, thank you for sharing xx
    http://www.dellalovesnutella.co.uk/2016/12/an-open-letter-to-my-anxiety.html?m=1

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  16. I can relate to this post! I'm 36 now and have (never thought I'd say this) good skin! Roacutane was the game changer for me. I suffer with really bad anxiety so I was really hesitant but it worked. It didn't affect my mental health at all and it transformed my skin. Everyone is different at all but I wouldn't rule it out. I now have the confidence I never had in my twenties (I did Roacuttane at 29). Px

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  17. It's a complete and all sorts of-natural based topical and dental acne remedy that finishes acne at the bottom source. Additionally, it goodies future breakouts you don't even see yet!
    www.thedermreport.com

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  18. It just works in a way that, it pops out the fat content, which is available in the face and makes it so clear and clean that you would be lucky enough not to get it again in the future. dry and itchy scalp

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  19. When I was in high school and in my last year especially I had awful acne and some of it was cystic as well which was awful to deal with because I felt like it made me look deformed. One thing I've learnt from that though was now I find that whenever I see someone else who has acne I automatically like them and want to be friends? I know that's a bit weird but I feel like on some level I can relate, and I never want anyone else who has acne to ever feel sad or down about it like I did, or like everyone is staring.

    Julia // The Sunday Mode

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