As is it acne awareness month, I thought I would write a post to share my thoughts and experiences.
My name is Alice and I am working here at the GSBC and I have been suffering with acne since I was 16.
I feel that there has always been a stigma with acne, that you are dirty; you don’t wash your face etc. But that is completely untrue. When I was younger and it was first appearing, I was washing my face constantly. I was buying all the well-known products as I was convinced these worked, the more astringent and stronger the better!
When none of that was working I became so desperate and so self-conscious of my skin that I went to the doctor, they first started me off on topicals (I can’t remember what it was called but it didn’t work) then eventually moved me onto the contraception pill as they came to the conclusion that my acne was being triggered by my hormones.
I had finally found something that worked! My skin started to clear! I couldn’t believe the difference; I was happier and more confident. I wasn’t ashamed of my skin; I didn’t feel like everyone was staring at me. Unfortunately being on the pill wasn’t a long term solution and I had to come off of it about a year ago as they have many side effects when being used for a long time, including blood clots.
They offered me roaccutane, if you don’t know what this is, it’s a very strong tablet that you take and it completely dries your skin, it stops your glands from producing sebum and reduces bacteria and inflammation. Sounds great right? I refused this treatment, I had heard horror stories about people who had been using it and their eyeballs had dried out (probably a complete myth) and I decided it wasn’t for me, even though it is a very effective medication and would cure my acne.
As predicted, as soon as I came off the pill the acne came back, worse than ever. It was cystic, sore and red. I felt disgusting. As I and have trained in beauty and the skin, I had a knowledge of what I needed to do, I knew that the reason I was getting acne was because my skin was producing too much sebum and oil. I spent a fortune on products that claimed to be “skin miracles “and “this solution clears acne in one week”. No matter what I used it wasn’t getting any better. It was getting me so down, I stopped seeing my friends, I didn’t want to meet new people and I didn’t want to go out in public and I thought everyone was judging me, ‘Look at that girl’s skin, she must not wash her face, how disgusting’.
I came to work here at the GSBC; I didn’t think that Bronwen would hire me. Who would want a therapist with acne? What kind of advert for the business is that? But I was wrong!
Every day I learn new things about the skin, I recently went to London for ZO beginner and intermediate training. I realised that the products I have been using for the past 7 years have been making my skin worse, they claim to treat the skin but they just block it up and congest it instead. None of them were medical, sure a moisturiser makes your skin soft, but it makes the dead skin cells soft, it clogs your skin and makes it lazy. The products I was using were only reaching the very top layer of my skin which is the dead skin cells. I needed to use something that was going to penetrate further into the skin and actually affect the living skin cells.
I started using the products from ZO and Alumier (which are both medical grade) and drinking my Skinade every day (a daily skincare drink full of vitamins and collagen), I had peels and treatments and I, hand on heart, can see a huge difference in my skin. It is not cystic and sore, the texture of the skin has improved and it is not oily. My skin feels healthy. I do still have breakouts as it is hormonal, but when I do they are nothing like they were, it’s not as aggressive and my skin heals much faster. My main concern now is the scarring left on my skin, especially on my cheeks, I know that this is difficult to get rid of but it can be done.
As I have experienced acne, I want to help others, I know how much of an emotional toll it can take on someone, and sometimes it feels as if nothing will work and you are stuck this way forever but that’s not true, we can help you.
Acne is a journey (and not a nice one) and unfortunately, there is no quick solution. I will be suffering with it for years to come but with the knowledge and products I have from the GSBC I can keep it under control. I feel more confident, I can speak to strangers, and I feel like I have gotten my life back.
I am excited for the future and to see how much more of an improvement in my skin I will get. I urge anyone with acne or any skin concerns to stop wasting your money and time on products that don’t work, and actually use something that does.
If you have concerns or just want to have a chat with me, as someone who has been through it and can relate to you, I am at the GSBC Tuesday – Saturday. I just wanted to write this post to say that if you are affected, you are not alone. I wanted people to know that there is a solution, there is hope.