Tuesday, 14 July 2015

My Skin Story

'Acne is a common skin condition that affects most people at some point. It causes spots to develop on the skin, usually on the face, back and chest.' - NHS Choices 

This post isn't going to be like any other post but its something that I have wanted to talk about now for ages. I have never talked about this to anyone else, not to my best friend who I have know for 16 years, my mum or anyone. Even when I have been to the doctors or when I had a hospital appointment to see what they could do to clear up my skin, I have never come across that my acne actually bothered me. It has.

Disclaimer: Swearing is used, there are descriptions about my spots and some shameless selfless that show how my son has changed over the years. 

I first started to see spots on my face, which were mainly white heads at the time, in Year 6 so I had just turned 10. At the time it didn't really bother me because it would be one or two spots and then they would go. However, one day (I think it was near the beginning of the year) I was sitting around the table with three other people. There were these two boys on the table that sat opposite me, to be honest I can't remember their names but I can remember what they looked like and that day very clearly. It was the first time anyone had ever said anything about my acne to my face. They were taking the piss out of it. You know the petty stuff of draw the spots together etc. It got to me and its horrible to think that little kids will say to other kids. The irony here is that one of the boys that were taking the piss out of my spots also had spots himself. That was the only real time that I remember kids taking the piss out of my spots in primary school, because I then moved to another table or my teacher just changed the seating plan. Although there is a school photo, which I hate with a passion. I have a huge spot sitting on the size of my nose, it was a white head but it was huge and I just remember it being there for what felt like months. In reality it probably was only there a week or two, but it was the scar afterwards that stayed. The scar has since gone, but I have had spots in the exact same spot since. 

I look back to my first ever day in High School, we had our photos taken which has been like the only time in the whole 7 years that I was there that we actually had our photos taken, except for in year 10 and in year 12. My face seemed to have cleared up, then I started my period. It was actually the first Friday I was in High School, thats when my face went down hill again. 

I can't remember if I was in year 7 or year 8, but something similar happened to me to what had happened in year 6. It was before an English lesson and everyone was lining up outside the classroom. I think this was year 8, because my english classes in year 7 were upstairs and this was downstairs but it could have just been because we had cover. However, there was this one boy who I am not going to name and another boy, who decided to comment on my skin. At this point in time my skin was bad. I had quite a lot of spots on my face, I didn't wear foundation to cover them up, nor did I use concealer to try and hide them. It was the petty thing of 'join the dots up', 'don't you wash your face', that fucking hurts to even think about it today. It was around that point when I become very insecure about my face and as a 12 year old that has still haunted me to now.

This must be early 2011, so I was in Year 9 at the time and going through my Justin Bieber  obsession

I had braces so I must be in year 8 or 9 at the time

Over the years I have tried EVERYTHING. You name it, I have probably brought it and tried it. I remember using Neutrogena for a couple of months, I used the blackhead version, the white head version. It sucked. I don't know if it was because my skin was sensitive to it, or it was too harsh for my skin, but it didn't work and my face just started to gain spots.

The same happened with freederm. I used the face wash and the the roll on thing that you just put on individual spots. That failed as well. The same happened when I used tree tea and even simple. In the end Soap and Glory broke me out and that was only less that a year that I stopped using that.

However, the problem wasn't just on my face. I have never got spots on my legs, arms or stomach but my back has been a problem. I don't really remember it being a problem when I first had acne on my face. I think it started when I was around 14-15. Of course no one ever saw it. At school I had a shirt or a polo on, once I reached year 10. If I wore dresses, they covered my back. No one was able to see it, so they didn't know I had it. I think it was my mum that first noticed it. I didn't really know what to do to deal with it and still to this day I don't. Today, it comes and goes. At this very moment in time my back is clear, which I haven't seen in probably nearly two years.

Going back to year 10. I went to the doctors, it wasn't for my face, I think I had a chest infection or something I don't know what it was for. However, the doctor noticed my face. I still remember the doctor, Doctor Mann. He prescribed with a roll on liquid to put on spots morning and night. Suddenly, something that actually worked after all those years of trying to find something to help to kill those bastards. My face did start to clear up and it was really effective. However, I used it for around a year and a half and it stopped working. My face was still quite clear and clear throughout my holiday to Italy in June 2013 and luckily still clear for prom, as well as my back being clear as well. Then sometime throughout the summer holiday my face started to go down hill again. Luckily you can't see it in my year 12/sixth form photo for my sixth form card.

This time the acne was worse, a lot worse than before. Luckily for my stake the people in my year had seemed to have grown up quite a lot in that time. No one said anything about my skin, but I knew they were probably thinking it.

I think it was around October time when I went to the doctors to try and get something that would just get rid of my spots. The worse part was, they were all on my forehead and the side going past my eyes on both sides of my face, I didn't normally suffer there. They were horrible spots. They hurt, they would crumble. Even trying to cover them up, you could still see them. Of course they left scars, bad scars. I also had quite a lot on my chin, but that never really bothered me because I had always had them there, I was almost used to it.

The Doctor advised me to go to the hospital. I knew they were bad and I absolutely hated my skin. I never let this on to anyone, I kinda put on a face that was laid back about it. I wasn't. I hated the fact that my face was full of acne and everyone else seemed to have perfect skin.

I went to my hospital appointment in November 2013. They told me I had to go on the pill so I could be on this tablet, which had some serious side effects. The women also gave me some antibiotics. At this point, as a 16 year old, I still couldn't swallow tablets, so I had to have that medicine that tasted like bananas. It sucked. To be honest that kinda failed as well. Anyway, I was supposed to have another appointment in January 2014, that got cancelled. I still haven't had an appointment for my skin.

December 2013
I know this photo is kinda blurry, but if you look careful there are a few bumps on my forehead 
Christmas 2013
 This was probably at one the worst stages in that period, on christmas day. 

Christmas 2013
You can probably tell that I am wearing makeup, but the spots are on my forehead, chin and cheek.

However, since being on the pill I have had a lower amount of spots show up. I still do get quite a few around that time of the month, that it's not half as bad as what it was. I don't know if it is because of the pill, or its because of the products that I now use, or if my skin has just improved by getting that bit older.

I still don't have a step by step skin care routine. I still try a different number of products, to try and figure out what is best for my skin. My skin is naturally oily, my parents they still even get some spots till this day which is just crazy, and sometimes my skin can be dry in places, especially under my eyes.
However, I have found some luck in these following products:

  • The Body Shop Tea Tress facial wash
  • Boots eye make up remover gel
  • The Body Shop Tea Tree skin clearing lotion 
  • Malin and Goetz Grapefruit face cleanser
  • Sephora Triple Action Cleansing Water 
  • Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water 
  • Nip and Fab Bee Sting Fix Lifting Mask
  • Elemis Papya Enzyme Peel 
Of course I don't use them all at the same time because that would be bad for my skin. I have done quite a lot of research around my skin and what not to use and what to use for acne prone skin.

I have stopped using face wipes. They used to be my holy grail products. Thinking about it now, since I have stopped using them my face has cleared up a lot. I am not saying they are the cause but you just never know.

After watching Em Fords video 'You Look Disgusting' it has made me think about what people have said to me about my skin in the past. The horrible little comments that do stick with you and its the fact that people judge you by your acne and your face. I wore make up, to cover up the acne, to cover up my face. I didn't want people to see that. I didn't even want to see it. 

I think it was around March or April 2014, when everyone was doing the 'no make up selfie' for Cancer, I was praying that I wasn't going to be nominated. I didn't want people to see my skin, which scars on that were left behind by the spots, or the black heads or the redness from where new spots were going to form. You see everyone else on Facebook posting these 'no make up selfies' and there skin is clear. No redness, no scars, no spots, just clear skin. I hated the fact that I told ones of my friends not to nominate me because of my face. 

Over the last couple of months my skin on face is looking much better. It probably helps that I have a bit of a tan on my face as well. So today, Tuesday 14th July 2015 I decided to post my first no make up selfie, its actually a mirror selfie so you can't see where I still have scars, but its a start. I actually went to work yesterday with no foundation on, and I'm dealing with the public working in a clothes store. I do have a bit of confidence again in my skin, the fact that I can now go out without any make up on does make me feel more confident in my own skin. I don't know if my skin will be societies version of 'perfect' or if my face will go up in spots again, but at this moment in time I kinda feel happy with it and thats the first time in a very long time. 

I have wanted to share my skin story for a long time, as it somethings that thousands of people go through and I needed to write down my story for my own self. This may help some people or it may not, but I hope this is a message that your face will clear up.

Sunday 12th July 2014
My Skin looks kinda shiny, but this is the first time I have ever taken a no make up selfie and added no filters to it. 

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