My Acne Story

I wished I’d taken more pictures of myself when I had acne. Not just so I could share them here, or to prove to patients I had acne too but because it meant that I did not shy away from the camera because of my skin.

I see a LOT of acne patients and I think it’s because I went through the same situation. Not only do I know what works, not just homeopathically but products that help the case. I know what its like to feel that people are looking at you and thinking you are dirty, that you don’t take care of yourself or the feeling of being unclean. The itch, Oh My God, the itch! Scratch, scratch, scratch, until it bled!

I had the type of acne that appeared but hibernate under the skin, never coming to a head. It was extremely painful and non-acne sufferers don’t realise the pain – not just emotionally but physically, how hot, itchy, painful acne can be!

I was lucky in that I got good help, eventually!

It started I’d say when I was 14/15, typical teenage years, on my back and a bit on my chest. Then, suddenly it became worse, progressing onto my forehead. I can’t remember when it exactly appeared. It was a gradual result of one slow healing spot, to another, to another until I had a face of slow healing spots. I have a very proactive mum, so instantly, products were bought to calm the redness and hopefully to stop me scratching. I remember scratching my back so much it bled through my clothes.

Unfortunately, these products were the usual suspects of Clearasil and anything with Tea Trea (which was all the rage back in the day), a toner and cream. Thank God, I didn’t make the typcial mistake as many acne suffers can do and stop hydrating my skin!

The summer hit soon after and the inflammation got worse! My mum said, “let’s bring you to the doctor and see what they say”. Our doctor suggested the Pill but my mum was adamant NO, LOL! (Only for health reasons – well that’s what she said at the time!) So I was put on an antibiotic minocycline for 3 months.

I will admit on the meds, my skin was like a porcelain doll – clear, pale (Irish) and almost translucent. Th effect was almost instant, after 3 days but it never lasted. Within two weeks of finishing, the red, itchy painful bumps would appear, and then of course scarring.  So 3 months turned into 6 months, turned into 9 months turned into a year! At that time, I wasn’t even thinking about the long-term effects of repeated antibiotics, which did hit my system hard later. I was just fed up with my skin!

So this is when luck stepped in! During my acne treatment, I started to work part-time in a health food store, getting trained in nutrition, aromatherapy, homeopathy! It was just after my 4th round of antibiotics and again the spots/boils returned. I remember Catherine, a colleague, walked over to the shelves and put 2 products in my hand: Bach Flower Cream and New Era Homeopathic Tissue Salts for minor skin ailments. She said, “use these and you’ll see a huge difference in a month”. I had nothing to lose!

Around the same time, my mum discovered Decleor. Now, I know this is an organic blog and Decleor Is soooo far from organic but it wasnt paint stripper like the other cleansing products! It’s also based on aromatherapy and contains no mineral oils.  If you only take on thing away from this post, it’s this – be kind to your kind.  Usually, ance prone skin is far more sensitive and if there is too much oil, it’s there for a reason.  Our natural sebum is our protective mantle, so ask why your body needs to produce more? For me Decleor, was the more gentle of all products I used.

A month later…..
Gone. No spots, no itching and no redness. Yeah, it took longer than the antibiotic to take effect but the results lasted.  I was so impressed.  I remember being so nervous when I ran out of the homeopathy that I could not sleep. Terrified that if the acne returned what was I going to do next! It did not come back 🙂
It wasnt all happy endings though.  Just when you are so relieved that the acne has disappeared, the scarring is there to remind you.  I had scarring, not the worst case but scarring all the same.  At the time, I think I was more anxious about the marks left than I had been for the spots.  Scarring is for life, right? Thankfully Catherine, came back to the rescue. Vitamin E oil, burst the capsules and rub the oil on your skin every night and Zinc supplments, this time! I followed her instrucions to the letter of the law!

I think I have one time faint scar on the left hand side of my forehead – tiiiinnny.  No-one notices.  Im even told Im mad when I mention it to people and convince them its there. But yet again, the scars went, just like the spots.

Of course there have been times when I had a run of bad skin – like a few months before my wedding! Perfect timing 🙂 The other times were when I did some heavy-duty DIY.  All times probably have been linked to stress, which could have also been the reason I had acne in my adolescent years.  Both times during my adult “episodes”, (pre-green cosmetics), my mum found me more natural products to treat my skin! Again, I mention this – dump all the paint stripper cleansers!!!!!!

The taboo of bad skin can be awful and the mental scars of acne can sometimes be worse that the physical ones! This post is not here to give all the answers for acne treatments, but for people who have never had acne to understand the journey it takes you on and for suffers to know, and realise, they are never alone.

This is what I learnt, on my journey:

  • Don’t beat yourself up over it ( I know, easier said than done).  Look at your acne from this point of view – it’s your body telling you, something is not right and so this is an opportunity to sort yourself out.
  • Ance comes from the inside, not the outside.  When looking at a treatment – start there first!
  • Find management products – creams that relieve the itch.  Scratching will aggravate the skin and can worsen the scarring.
  • Use gentle and natural products to nourish the skin while sorting out the inside. That includes you boys, ok!! Items like oils (the OCM for example), rosewater, honey, aloe vera gel.  All are inexpensive and are far more effective than harsh chemicals.  These not only dry your skin, resulting in even more oils be produced, but also release toxic chemicals into your system.