Helurrr beautiful people and HAPPY 2018! I hope that you were all safe this festive season and are diving head first into this new year.
Let’s get straight into this one because there’s A LOT that has happened with my skin. Let me start off by saying that I have not retouched any of the pictures posted. Whilst I still have scarring, I love my skin. I am proud of these no-makeup pictures because my skin is healthy! It feels so soft and smooth…even though I do use makeup on special occasions, I love my natural state now. I’m going to be quite blunt here so please read with an open mind – as always, this is my journey that I’ve chosen to share with you in the hopes that it might help you with something similar that you may be dealing with. I’m not going to tell you that what worked for me will work for you, but do your research please. I read as many articles and blogs that I could before I even considered seeking professional help. Unfortunately, this meant me trying all sorts of things that probably made it all worse – so BE CAREFUL with your skin and what you allow near it. You have to understand that everyone’s skin is different and needs to be cared for/treated differently.
As a teenager, I got the occasional breakout around the time of month that satan came to visit. If you read my previous posts, you would gather that during my pregnancy, my hormones were obviously messed up – BUT this lead to perfect skin and hair for me! (This obviously created a delayed reaction, which I experienced last year – crap skin came my way!) Fast forward into my early 20’s, I discovered (and could afford) makeup so we all know how that went. Let’s be honest here, nobody really believed in a 150 step skincare regime…heck I would pat myself on the back if I woke up without last night’s makeup all over my pillow. I know it’s gross but I was lazy. I’m not even going to fight that one. Further breakouts ensued and me picking at them just lead to scars – which needed more makeup to cover (I was in a loop of bad skin and even worse decisions.)
My first dermatologist
I must have been around 21 when I was convinced that I needed to go on Roaccutane because a family member (who didn’t have a blemish ever!) was on it and she was literally glowing. I made my appointment and the doctor prescribed very mild antibiotics with a sh*t load of aftercare – I’m talking thousands of rands worth of gels, creams, washes (I could have opened up a pharmacy). With my medical savings exhausted half way through the year, I was determined to get perfect skin. I didn’t follow the recommended usage instructions of the aftercare – who does that really? obviously increasing the usage will speed things up – Ha what a doos was I. Ended up looking like Fester Addams. I burned my skin and undereye area. I’m an NC42 in MAC so I’m a little light in complexion…can you imagine what a mess I looked like?? (you must imagine because I didn’t take any pictures for months). My concealer and foundation cracked all over my skin after minutes of applying – I really made everything worse. I didn’t go back to the doctor because I knew that she would kak me out for not listening. So I did what every self-respecting person with no clue does and stopped everything – medication, aftercare, makeup, EVERYTHING. It was so hard going to work looking like Fester but my friends and family were supportive. A few months later, my skin was amazing and healthy. I didn’t use any makeup or any skincare products for atleast 2 years – I literally washed my face with dove soap and used whatever lotion I had for my body.
Enter Cape Town
I moved to Cape Town in July 2016 and the change in climate really affected my skin. I also started using makeup again and was convinced by YouTube that I needed a skincare regime. I started with L’Oreal products – a face wash, toner and moisturiser which was a simple start. I have to admit that my junk food intake increased tremendously and gym slowed down a little. I got the occasional pimple / blackhead / whitehead and didn’t pay it any attention. Around October, I had noticed a lot of red bumps on my forehead and discoloration around my mouth. I thought it would pass because it always did but I did start watching more videos about how other people dealt with bad skin (even though mine wasn’t as bad as theirs). I ended up changing my skincare to Clinique but added other brands as well. I overloaded my skin with Clinique washes/creams/toners, Apple Cider Vinegar and added Farsali into the mix – what a mistake. Alot of people rave about these brands/products and swear by them – it didn’t work for me, my skin deteriorated.
And then there was Ordinary
Once again, the Ordinary range is hyped alot and works for so many people – just not me. I added serums and creams to my already crowded skincare regime for a few months. I held out because a lot of people said that ‘purging’ is normal – purging is basically it getting worse before it gets better. Mine just got worse. My skin was inflamed, scarred and painful to the touch. I had these huge red and white pimples all over my face – I would get atleast 3-5 new ones every day. I was in hell. I tried putting makeup on but it looked horrible and felt even worse. It affected my life. Every aspect of my life was affected and I honestly didn’t want to leave the house. This went on for a few months until I exhausted all of my options and made an appointment with a Dermatologist.
I have included pictures that I took 3 months before I had my visit so that you can see how bad it got…and how quick it happened. These are raw images that I took with my iPhone.
Enter Dr Jonathan Smith
I saw Dr Smith at the end of September 2017 and he prescribed me an antibiotic and a gel to apply overnight. The antibiotic was so strong, I had nausea and a troubled tummy for the entire week that I took it. I called him the next week and he had me come in to pick up another prescription for a milder antibiotic. It’s worth mentioning that my face felt better after the 2nd day – THE 2ND DAY!!! The inflammation, pain and new pop-ups stopped completely. By the 4th day, my skin felt smoother to the touch and I was over the moon. He prescribed the medication and gel for 2 months and I was to schedule a follow up visit after the fact. I will let the pictures speak below.
I will be visiting him next week to discuss my skin further but this has been an eye-opening journey. I will not be providing the details of the medication that I was on because they were prescribed specifically for my skin condition and type. The fact that they need a prescription is proof that they should only be provided by a medical professional that has assessed you personally and understands your skin as well as lifestyle. You should definitely exhaust all possible options before seeing a dermatologist. A few possibilities :
- Increase your water intake (trust me, your body needs it!)
- Slow down the junk food (not only will your skin benefit but your body will love you for it.)
- Give your face a break from makeup now and then – let it breathe and enjoy your natural beautiful state.
- Wash your face every single night (enough said)
- Be gentle on your face, the skin is much more sensitive so be mindful of that.
- In addition to the above point, don’t overwhelm your face with 150 different products – find what works for your skin and keep it simple. Healthy skin shouldn’t cost you your sanity.
Whilst the above steps may help some people, take the time to understand your skin type and embrace it. We are all beautiful irrespective of what we look like, but sometimes acne affects you on the inside way more than it does on the outside. I would love to tell you that it doesn’t matter what you look like on the outside, but that won’t change the sinking feeling you get when you look in the mirror and don’t like what you see. I’ve been there, heck I’m still there – but I am dealing with me and learning to love myself more. Do research and learn about what actually causes things rather than just buying a crap load of creams/oils recommended by someone with flawless skin. Also, don’t compare yourself or put yourself in someone else’s category. You were made unique for a reason – embrace your uniqueness and make it work for you!
Thank you for taking the time to read my story and please keep a look out for Part 2 – it will include my current skincare routine and an update from my follow up Dermatologist visit. I will also include reviews of the (many) products I used that didn’t help my skin situation – a totally objective review of course!