A little bit of a different post today and it's something that I've been deliberating tackling on my blog for a while. As an avid reader of beauty blogs, I often fall into the trap of believing that most of the writers and creators of the blogs I so admire have been blessed with the skin of a goddess. So often I've looked on in jealousy and never believed bloggers humble responses to compliments on their glowing complexions; that was until I started receiving compliments about my skin, too! I couldn't help but chortle with laughter as I found myself writing the same responses that I'd read on other blogs so many times before, 'I really haven't got very nice skin', 'you should see what I look like without makeup', 'it's just clever lighting' ... you know the drill.
Whilst I am incredibly grateful for the comments I get and feel so humbled by them, I feel like it's important to be honest about the fact that for years my skin has been far from perfect. I'm super lucky to finally be getting to the stage where it's starting to heal and clear up, but I figured it would be a good idea to compose a little ramble about my personal experiences with acne and the ways in which I've dealt with it. You may not find anything that I say helpful and there's no problem if you don't, but if I manage to give just one of you a little bit of guidance or reassurance then I'll be a very happy bunny indeed.
My own personal experience with problem skin goes back as far as I can remember. Obviously I wasn't born with blemishes, but I was a really early developer (ha) and can remember getting the odd spots and pimples as far back as primary school. In the beginning I don't remember being particularly bothered by my skin; the spots were sore and could be a nuisance but I wasn't overly fussed about how they looked. As time went by however I begun feeling gradually more conscious about the state of my skin - I remember picking up my first ever stick of concealer at the tender age of 10 and setting about trying to hide any pimples under a mountain of clay-like camouflage. By the time I got to secondary school I had become really aware of the fact that my skin was getting gradually worse. What started off as the odd pimple here and there had turned into constant 'clusters' of blemishes that wouldn't budge and seemed to be even more prominent under make up than without any (something that I only realised in hindsight!) Going to a strict school meant that girls weren't allowed to wear any makeup whatsoever; a rule that I frequently ignored but would often leave my confidence feeling even more knocked as I compared my skin to that of others who were completely bare faced!
By the middle of high school I was really fed up with my skin, to the point where I would literally stop going out and having fun; I just didn't want anyone to see me! Naturally I'm an incredibly shy, reserved person and the skin issues I was facing just escalated the problem. No amount of people telling me my spots were barely noticeable helped and I was left feeling utterly depressed. All I could see when I looked in the mirror was how bad my skin was and nothing else really mattered to me. I spent ridiculous amounts of money on over-the-counter treatments which didn't seem to have much effect, so in the end I gave up on looking after my skin altogether. No amount of healthy eating, drinking water or smothering my face in creams and lotions was helping, so I ended up really disheartened and resigned myself to the fact that my skin wouldn't get better at least until I was out of my teens. My older brother also suffered with acne, so I figured there was no way around it until my mum persuaded me to go to the doctor and see if anything could be done.
In hindsight, visiting my GP was the best thing I could have done and I highly recommend it if you're struggling with your skin, especially if it's having an effect on your day to day life. For months I put off the visit as I was so embarrassed by the thought of it; I imagined it all being very formal and in-depth when in actual fact it wasn't like that at all. After an informal chat with my GP and a quick glance over my skin I was diagnosed with moderate acne and given a lot more information about the condition than I'd ever had access to before. I'm under no illusions that my skin was worse than anyone else's; I know that plenty of people suffer more than I did, but it had really crippled my confidence none the less. At first I was given a gel to use on my skin which didn't really have much effect after 6 weeks of use, so I went back and got given tablets instead. It's important to remember that different things always work for different people as not everybody's skin is the same; just keep at it and I promise there will be something out there for you!
Since I stopped taking medication I took the step to start paying attention to my skin; something that I definitely regret not doing sooner - skincare has become my weakness and I've seen an incredible difference in my skin just from taking the time to understand what products work best with it. Don't get me wrong, I love make up but I'd so much rather splurge a little more on things that keep my skin looking its best without the use of cosmetics. Mid-range brands such as Origins and La Roche Posay have helped get my skin relatively balanced and blemish free with no medication in sight; something that I definitely never thought I'd be able to achieve. Acne can have such a huge impact on your confidence but you really have to believe that something out there will help you - I really regret giving up on the idea of it getting better as I know I could have got it sorted so much sooner.
I really hope that my experiences have related to some of you in some way and helped you just a tiny bit. If you'd like to see a post on some of the shop bought products that have helped to clear up my skin then let me know!