For as long as I can remember, I’ve been unhappy with my skin. No manner of cleansing, masking, exfoliating, or copious amounts of makeup could cloak the self-consciousness I’ve felt when having a conversation with someone in close quarters. Sure, there have been brief periods of contentedness, but they’ve never lasted more than a couple of months, when I would encounter the next breakout. Recently, I’ve found myself comparing my complexion to those of others, wondering, “Why can’t I achieve that same soft, supple look? Why can’t I gain that enviable glow?” Well, I couldn’t come up with a legitimate excuse, so I’ve decided to make it my mission to finally clear my skin.
Like a lot of people, my skin blemishes began to emerge in junior high school, but they weren’t very noticeable until high school. At that time, my mom took me to a dermatologist, who prescribed me a few topical creams to apply in the morning and before bed. Things were manageable for a while, but toward the end of high school, I was still feeling discouraged and asked my mom if we could increase my treatment. I was prescribed an acne pill, which I dutifully took into my freshman year of college. But one day, I woke up with terrible stomach pain, and I spent most of my morning in the dorm bathroom (which, of course, was shared by a bunch of snarky girls…so embarrassing!). This went on for some time, and I was dropping weight from my inability to keep any food down. Eventually, I figured out that the acne pill was to blame, so I quickly stopped taking it and reverted back to the topical creams.
At this point, I was still a vegetarian, but I didn’t know anything about nutrition, and without a balanced diet, my skin became increasingly dry and irritated. After I went vegan in my sophomore year, things improved somewhat, but the dryness and redness persisted as I remained in the throes of restrictive eating. My skincare routine was nonexistent–other than applying my topical creams, I didn’t take time to use cleansers, exfoliate, and moisturize.
In recent months, I’ve been eating a whole foods vegan diet and using high quality skin care products. The condition of my skin has certainly improved (i.e. no serious or painful breakouts), but I’m still unhappy with the redness, scarring, and general dullness of my complexion. I’ve decided to take the next month to focus on the following:
1. Integrate foods known to improve skin such as carrots, pumpkin seeds, avocados, etc.
2. Exfoliate on a daily basis using natural skin care products (I’m using this buffer).
3. Wash skin thoroughly after working out.
4. Avoid touching skin with dirty hands (my ultimate bad habit!)
After a month, I’ll report back with my results. Skin issues can be so pervasive, so debilitating, so discouraging. Still, I’ve read so many accounts of individuals with skin issues that have successfully cleared and maintained their skin. I’m hopeful that I’ll achieve this, too.
Have you ever experienced skin issues? What helped you overcome them? Any tips and suggestions are much appreciated!
Also see: My Beauty Detox Journey
Photo: Lies Thru a Lens via Flickr; Molly Lansdowne