*Disclaimer – I am opening up a little bit of my soul here. A part of me that I have hidden for almost 5 years. If you’re squeamish I wouldn’t suggest looking at the pictures. Also, as you will see I have tried every option available, so I would appreciate if the end decision isn’t challenged.*
I think sometimes it’s OK to share things that are not happy things. Things that make you sad and possibly even depressed. Why? Well, we’re human and it’s basically impossible to be happy 100% of the time – I know this because I’ve tried.
Anyway, let’s just hop straight in. I’ve got really bad skin. Just reading that post brings back all those memories as if they never left and I sit here with tears running down my cheeks. Dark days those were.
Most of you won’t believe me and I guess that’s a good thing because it means that I have been successful in hiding it under mountains of make up. But really, it’s bad. Really, really bad.
- It’s so bad that I will not leave the house without properly covering up with make up (if insurance failed I could have a successful job in special effects make up)
- It’s so bad that I actually cried the one time I dropped my foundation and it shattered on the floor (I scrapped it up and used it anyway – I didn’t even worry about the little glass shards in it)
- It’s so bad that I leave the room if we have a visitor and I’m not prepared, even if it’s the a random delivery guy that, odds are, I will never, ever see again.
- It’s so bad, that when people talk to me, I already assume that my bad skin is all that they can see. Like they don’t take me seriously because oh my word, what the hell is happening on her face?!
Basically it’s debilitating.
So I had to finally put a stop to it.
I’ve decided to share the full extent of my skin story in the hope that I can then put it to bed and let it go. But also, possibly, to encourage anyone else struggling, because it sucks to struggle. Especially alone.
I guess we should go back to where it all started. In high school I think I was pretty normal. I had loads of pimples and black heads and things, many that would be on my chest and back. I hide those with my clothing. Everyone else had issues too, so I didn’t worry too much, but I went onto the pill to help to control my crazy hormones and it was all OK – manageable.
Fast forward to the pill starting to make me crazy. My blood would literally boil with rage for the smallest little things – the dog licking its foot, the clock ticking, Seth saying one word out of line. So I stopped the pill. And then I got pregnant with Kyla.
At 21, my face exploded. I started using make up for the first time ever. I went to Mac and they helped me get all the stuff I needed to keep it hidden.
After Kyla I went back on the pill for a month. It made me want to hurt her. So I stopped again. Then I fell pregnant with Riya (not even 3 months after giving birth to Kyla). My skin exploded again, but I knew how to cover it so it was OK.
Once Riya arrived my skin went back to “normal” or acceptable, but I continued using make up daily. I think not ever washing it off properly and sleeping with it on didn’t help matters, but still it was acceptable. Then I was pregnant with Knox and once again my skin went ballistic. Only this time it never calmed down. If anything it got much, much worse.
In January 2013 I went to the dermatologist (as I explained here) – he gave me creams and lotions and potions and I used them religiously for a year.
In January 2014 my skin was worse than ever. Like ever, ever. I felt physically sick looking in the mirror and if you are squeamish then I suggest looking away, things are about to get real. Sometimes the right hand side would be swollen so it looked like someone punched me in the face. I would wake up with 30-40 little white heads every single morning and the bright redness that would never subside.
I always promised myself that I would never show this to anyone except my poor family, but I think it’s time that I break free of the pain that this has been causing all these years. There is still time to look away…
It was time for some real action.
Step 1: I cut out all grains and dairy because of the inflammatory effects that it has on the skin
Step 2: I changed my beauty routine. After meeting with Caro (the expert at Dr Hauschka) who was not only lovely, but knowledgeable and very patient with my girls who joined me, I came away with the starter kit for oily skin, the cleansing milk make up remover, the cover stick and some foundation that is more agreeable with my skin. After using it for a while I rechecked with the dermie and saw that dermatitis is affected by oil, so we changed to the medicated cream instead of oil based products.
I wash my make up off the moment I get home and know that I don’t have to go anywhere else again. I feel like it made a difference but not nearly enough.
Step 3: I went to a homeopath. He recommended various things (including, but not limited to, a counseling session with my inner child). I wasn’t convinced that would work (can you blame me) and so I asked for a course of antibiotics because from what I self-doctored on the internet, it was a very well known “cure” for my dermatitis.
Step 4: I took an entire week “off” work and worked from home instead in the hopes that 7 days without make up would make a difference…
Step 5: I did 30 days of antibiotics.
And do you know what my skin looked like after all that? Let me show you…
Can you see a difference? No? Me neither.
Besides the lack of swelling of my face I really couldn’t see a difference at all. Disappointed is an understatement. I was regularly bursting into tears and just absolutely miserable and not fun to be around. As supportive as Seth was throughout the process, I knew he was getting tired of my constant mood swings (that all hinged on one glance in the mirror).
Enough was e-freaking-nough.
So I researched Roaccutane.
Then I researched it again. And again. I spoke to friends who used it, I spoke to strangers who used it and then finally I made an appointment with my Doctor and spoke to her about it.
Obviously I went with make up on to the consultation and I just showed her a photo of what my face looked like that very morning. Her only comment was, “Oh goodness!” and then a quick blood test and prescription to Oratane.
It’s almost two weeks since that day and I can honestly say that I could not have made a better choice. Yes my skin is dry, yes it sucks to not be able to have a glass of vino at the end of a long day but when I look in the mirror it is SO VERY WORTH IT!
I know it’s nowhere near perfect and that there is still along journey ahead of me with this, but I am sure that this is going to be the key to a lasting change.
For the first time in a VERY long time, I am feeling happy – like right down deep inside – the real feely happy stuff.