I Am Not My Skin

by Shebra Curtis 4 months ago in body

Living in my truth about suffering from acne & PCOS

I Am Not My Skin

My skin in August 2018

Honey was the first natural product that did wonders for my skin as I stayed consistent. Since Jan 2018, I've fallen in love with honey. I've been using Honey for moisture, lightening dark spots, and drawing out harmful bacteria. Also I've used apricot scrub exfoliant to get rid of dead skin cells. I used these products faithfully since January. This skin care routine is under 10 bucks and works well for me. My acne is still present but much more controllable. I've incorporated more water and cut a lot of sweets from my diet. Other natural remedies that have worked for me beside honey are as follows:

  • Aloe Vera Plant
  • Egg Mask
  • Banana Peel
  • Coconut Oil
  • Tumeric
  • Tea tree/witch hazel
  • Lemon
  • Baking soda

I highly recommend all.

My acne at age 28... January 2018

Acne is a part of me, but my condition does not define me. Let's make that clear! What exactly is acne? Acne vulgaris is a long term skin disease. Yes!! You read it right, a LONG-TERM SKIN DISEASE. It took me years to find out it was a skin disease let alone a long term chronic skin disease. So! The fact I feared it may never go away was a hard pill to swallow. How exactly is acne caused? Acne is caused by the hair follicles being clogged with oil and dead skin cells. As a result of the clogging, blackheads, pimples, whiteheads, and cysts are formed.

Acne covers and affects more than 70 percent of my skin. The affected areas include my t-zone, but exclude my forehead. My forehead is the clearest part of my face besides my nose. Then comes my affected neck area which bear ingrown hairs, excessive hair, dark marks, and to top it off frequent breakouts. Later I'll reveal why the excessive facial hair. But, let's stay on topic here. Acne affects my upper and lower back as well. Also a small part of my buttocks and my inner thighs. Sighs! I know it's a lot, right?! It's my truth though. Unfortunately I've been called to face it head on. Wait though, I'm just getting started. Keep reading please. You'll eventually reach the climax of healing and restoration.

I turned 30 in April of this year. My acne started to develop at the age of nine—quite a while right?! Could you just imagine what I've faced due to not having normal skin like the world accepts and expects?

Although I boldly stated my acne doesn't define me earlier, well for years it did. Years of filtering, choosing the perfect lighting, and the right makeup coverage. Not to mention taking over 20 photos just to get the perfect flawless one. I felt like I would be doomed for life. Let's take a tour back into my memory lane. Trust that this isn't easy, but it's necessary. I am owning my truth! The purpose of this is bigger than me.

Acne had caused severe depression, anxiety, rejection, and low self -esteem. You name it, I've probably experienced it. Yes, even thoughts and actions of attempting suicide. I developed self hate. The world tortured me enough but the killing part was that I was my own worst critic. I legit don't know how it feels to not have acne strikened skin. This is all I know.

When they say 'kids are mean' I am a firm believer of that statement. Grammar school and neighborhood kids were cruel, uninviting, and unsympathetic. One time, I was asked why my skin looks like that. I've been told "you are ugly" and "maybe you'll look better when you get older." I've been told "you'll be pretty if your skin wasn't so bumpy." Teased with names like "star crunch." Picture the texture of a star crunch. One time I was told I need Proactive in a mean joking way. I've heard it all and I've absorbed it all. Fitting in didn't come natural. It was challenging in any setting, even with family. Even today, still is.

I lacked a mother or father figure ever telling me positive, uplifting, nurturing words. No one helped my esteem—they only hindered it. I remember absolutely no one telling me you are a beautiful soul. You'll be great. Embrace your flaws. No one told me about natural remedies. No one pressured me about healthy eating habits. I'm guilty as well for not educating myself on my own health and skin condition. I was in the dark about my own health for many years.

I always went looking for love in all the wrong places. And boy did I find it. I wish someone would've warned me that sex wasn't the way to a male's heart. Every guy took me as a joke! They were only interested in sex. Of course, with no title or strings attached. Although I was very self- conscious about my skin, I still found myself in embarrassing hurtful situations. I wanted them to see past my flaws. I strongly believe that a lot of guys were more insecure about my flaws than I was. Manipulation and rejection from males had became the norm.

I hated my skin! As I grew older the insecurities and rejection from the world grew as well. I accepted the fact that I was an outcast. They say first impression is everything right? Well, imagine the first sight they see before you even open your mouth is: your disgusting skin covered with pimples, blackheads, scarring, and hair. At least they think it's disgusting. According to society I didn't fit the description of the all American girl.

My adoptive mom took me to a dermatologist around my early adolescence years. I don't remember much of the appointment or a true diagnosis. He did prescribe a topical application of benzoyl peroxide. One statement I clearly remember him saying is to not wash my face. I kid you not! That was my first and last time ever going to a dermatologist.

Okay, before I get off into how I gained some confidence there's more!! Not only am I affected by acne, I also have suffered with PCOS for over two decades of my life. Yes, child. Double trouble!

What is PCOS? Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome is a metabolic disorder. PCOS elevates high levels of androgen and testosterone hormones in women. These hormones are predominantly male hormones which cause women to have male traits. The ovaries may develop numerous small collections of fluid (follicles) & fail regularly released eggs. Which results in the following life long symptoms below. Brace yourself!

  • Acne
  • Infertility
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Hair Loss
  • Excessive hair in undesirable areas
  • Irregular Menstruation
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Increased appetite
  • Deeper voice
  • Enlarged Clitoris

Considering the long list of symptoms above, I suffer from all but three of those symptoms. These three are infertility, diabetes, and hair loss. I'm on a mission though. I am facing this demon head on. I am going to help, heal, and encourage others. If you suffer from pcos you are not alone.

This condition is no joke and is not to be swept under the rug. It will mentally and physically destroy you, only if you let it. Poor self-esteem and a poor body image will become of you. Our bodies need tender love and care. We must take consistent action to maintain and improve our health as a whole. Preferably in a natural way.

This condition is the enemy himself. I wouldn't wish this condition on anyone. I've been literally called a man in a joking way because of the slight but noticeable mustache and beard I have. Shaving with a razor makes the hair grow in thicker and much faster! Almost in a day faster. I've tried the Nair method and that was the wrong turn. It burned my sensitive skin. So please don't try that method if you have sensitive skin. I have tried waxing and threading, both painful as ever. I never really tried plucking with tweezers, although a few suggested to do so. Unlike the average woman, I have extra grooming duties that are necessary. Not only do I have to remove excessive facial hair but excessive hair from other body parts as well. This can take extra unnecessary time but it is what it is.

What blew my mind was when I came across that PCOS causes deeper voices in women. The hairs on the back of my neck stood up and my eyes began to fill with tears. I've been teased about how deep my voice was. I have even been my own critic with hating the way my voice sounds recorded or over the phone. One girl asked me in middle school why my voice sounds like it does. Well, now I can answer that. I suffer from PCOS. Thankfully, over the years I have gained confidence in my voice.

Since I'm writing in truth and on purpose; I am boldly admitting that I have an enlarged clitoris. Female hormones (estrogens) and male hormones (androgens) are normally present in the body. Testosterone is one example of an androgen. When there is a hormonal imbalance this causes excessive amounts of androgens. This results in a swollen clitoris in women. Although this is my awkward truth I'm sharing, it's not of a huge concern, like other symptoms of PCOS.

Reckless eating habits trigger the symptoms of PCOS. After indulging in unhealthy foods, stubborn weight gain and acne breakouts are sure to follow. They say you are what you eat. The wrong things I consume shows through my skin, energy level, and body shape.I noticed a change in my skin and weight as I cut back on energy drinks, fried foods, carbs, and excessive sweets. I do moderate lower body exercises and sometimes just run around the house for good exercise with my daughter. Water and apple cider vinegar have played a major role in my skin clearing and losing belly fat.

December 6, 2018 I started a six day Daniel fast. This fast/diet was only plant based foods, no dairy, no meat, no sweets and just water. In May of this year I did a 30 day no meat challenge and saw tremendous results in shape, skin, and mood. I learned by doing this two fasts/challenges that change starts with you. Your mindset is everything my friend. I realized having self- discipline will have you doing amazing things like stepping outside of your comfort zone.

Down below are foods and spices you should consume to manage PCOS and acne:

  • natural, unprocessed foods
  • high-fiber foods
  • fatty fish, including salmon, tuna, sardines, and mackerel
  • kale, spinach, and other dark, leafy greens
  • dark red fruits, such as red grapes, blueberries, blackberries, and cherries
  • broccoli and cauliflower
  • dried beans, lentils, and other legumes
  • healthful fats, such as olive oil, as well as avocados and coconuts
  • nuts, including pine nuts, walnuts, almonds, and pistachios
  • dark chocolate in moderation
  • spices, such as turmeric and cinnamon

Researchers looking at a range of healthful diet plans found the following slight differences. For example:

Individuals lost more weight with a diet emphasizing mono-unsaturated fats rather than saturated fats. An example of this kind of diet is the anti-inflammatory diet, which encourages people to eat plant-based fats, such as olive and other vegetable oils.

People who followed a low-carbohydrate or a low-GI diet saw improved insulin metabolism and lower cholesterol levels. People with PCOS who followed a low-GI diet also reported a better quality of life and more regular periods.

In general, studies have found that losing weight helps women with PCOS, regardless of which specific kind of diet they follow.

Foods to avoid:

  • Soda or coke cola in glass with ice.

Basically, acne and PCOS have double teamed me for years. I have accepted the fact that I have a unique assignment in this lifetime. That unique assignment is to influence, educate, heal, lead, and uplift. I have two children and both Acne and PCOS can be passed through genetics. I would hate for my son or daughter to have to deal with bullying and torture from this cold, cruel world. That bothers me, but empowers me to keep striving for a more healthy lifestyle. Both mentally and physically.

There is no fairy tale ending this. I learned to turn my wounds into wisdom. My pain into purpose. My embarrassment into encouragement. I've been strengthened through a lifetime of weakness. I couldn't understand why me but it's clear. There's a plan that involves me being courageous and walking in my light

I may not be in the skin you want me in

I may not be that perfect ten

but don't get it twisted, I AM NOT MY SKIN

I AM A BEAUTIFUL WAY BELOW THE SURFACE

I AM MORE THAN A CONQUEROR

I AM RESILIENT

I AM BOLD

I AM AMBITIOUS

I AM DIVINE

I started this story back in October of 2018. I rushed through it leaving so much truth out. It was denied due to my story not equaling 600 words. I have changed the name since then from Embrace Your Acne to I AM NOT MY SKIN. I have researched more. I have unleashed my deepest darkest thoughts and feelings about my conditions. I pray my story can inspire and empower people of all ages, gender, and race. This is just the beginning, thank you for reading. Blessings!!

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