Makeup is a powerful art form and tool of self expression and that can transform us into different people, who we are or who we wish to be. In my case, makeup was my safe place.
I can’t remember a day where I had perfect skin. Since my early teens, I’ve always had bad acne. Big, red bumps covering not only my face but my entire chest and back, which resulted with dark acne scarring. As a teenager, there was this pressure to look a certain way and that whoever had acne was dirty or unhealthy and that it should be covered up. I was picked on and looked down on at school because of the way I looked. I knew acne was normal, but nobody else’s acne had looked like mine. I was hurt and confused and was looking for an easy band-aid for my problem. That’s when I discovered makeup.
I started experimenting with makeup in high school as loads of teenagers do. The more makeup I put on, the more confident I felt. I felt unstoppable, like I could do anything. Until friends asked me to go swimming or have a sleepover. I had to decline because I was so insecure about how I looked bare faced. I couldn’t stand to be vulnerable in front of others. I wasn’t as confident as I thought I was.
Over time, I figured out some of the key causes for my acne. One of them was dairy consumption. Milk and cheese were my best friends at one point where I’d consume them both everyday. I started breaking out worse than before and started to get very sick. From that point on, I cut out the majority of the dairy in my diet. Now dairy is only 10 percent of my diet and my skin is clearer, way better than before.
Along with changing my diet, I found that my daily shower/cleansing routine also had a big impact on my skin. I used to take 30 minute showers every day, not knowing at the time I was dehydrating my skin, making me prone to cracking and/or acne. Another big change I had to make was the products I was using in and out of the shower. I was using lots of scented products from the drugstore that claimed to be good for sensitive skin. But in the end, it did quite the opposite. I found I was breaking out more and started to develop eczema in certain areas. I slowly transitioned to buying natural, unscented soaps, lotions and products with Vitamin E and I saw a dramatic change within the following weeks. My skin wasn't breaking out as much and my scars were slowly fading away.
Another cause for my acne was sleep and dehydration. I was a “late night, early morning” person. I was partying all the time and constantly drinking alcohol and not enough water, getting home at four in the morning, sleeping for only three hours and then getting ready to work at 9 AM. It was draining me physically, mentally and emotionally. Eventually, I couldn’t keep up with the lifestyle and stopped partying entirely. I noticed a huge impact on my skin, my energy and my attitude.
With this knowledge, I’ve never felt better. Now knowing some of the main causes of my acne, I can now prevent future breakouts from happening.
Still, having acne scars put a downpour on my confidence. Up until recently, I still couldn’t go out in public without makeup on until one day I got so lazy I went outside, bare faced. It doesn’t sound like much but it lifted a huge weight off of me. “Why haven’t I done this before? I should’ve started this self love years ago!”
I’ve been makeup free and embracing my acne scars for a month now and it feels amazing. I'm much more positive and much more myself than I was before. At last, my skin and I can now breathe.