As you know, I'm pretty dysmorphic with the whole image thing and it's a battle where mirrors are concerned. The best thing I can share and always try and remember is simply to walk away. The moment you feel you're dwelling on things in front of the mirror, walk away.
The thing is, it's only really difficult to do that when we're struggling. Then it creates a bit of a vicious cycle. I had a breakout recently, first time in a while, and I made it so much worse because of the time spent in front of the mirror. In those instances, you have to try and be strong because nothing good comes from that time in front of the mirror.
I can look at this from a couple of perspectives, having ended up on the wrong end of things and getting rejected by girls who were shallow and narrow-minded, but also having found someone who accepts me just as I am and loves me for it.
For many years when I was struggling with persistent acne and making things twice as bad due to obsessive skin picking, I was only ever rejected by girls who didn't look beyond my complexion. I cleared my acne about a year ago and generally have a grip on the picking as well, although that still gets the better of me sometimes. It's taken me pretty much all that time to gain a bit of confidence and to begin to like being me. Just that slight change to begin with has been enough for me to attract new things and new people. The most significant event has been that I attracted my first girlfriend, Alyssa.
Alyssa and I have talked at length about things like acne and compulsive skin picking. In fact, we met in a related Facebook group. We shared stories and experiences for months within the group, then got chatting in private. It went on from there and now we're together. I accept Alyssa for who she is, including the things she may see as flaws. She would say the same of me. In fact, there have been times when we've both been struggling with our skin one way or another and it just doesn't seem to matter at all. That shared experience brings about this higher level of understanding and appreciation for me things we've both battled through.
I guess my point is, it all comes down to finding the right person. I'm 27 and never had a relationship before now. I never even went looking because I knew I wasn't ready and I knew that I was looking in the wrong places and would end up finding people who would reject me based solely on appearances. In the end, the relationship I'm now in found me and I wasn't looking for it at all. Let things happen when they happen and you'll find someone who's right for you when you're both in the right place for it to happen, regardless of what your skin may be like or anything you may be struggling with.
I can't add much more, Spotthedifference hit the nail on the head there. All I will say is that you're beautiful on the outside and there's clearly oceans of depth to you compared to those people who obviously contributed to your struggles. Where those struggles are concerned, I sense from your writing that you're plenty strong enough to get through it all and come out of the other side, without a doubt.
Decided to get myself a new haircut. Generally feeling good about my skin these days, still clear, and years' worth of anxieties are starting to fade now. There was still a missing piece to the proverbial puzzle though and I think I've figured it out. After twelve years - almost the same length of time I had acne - I decided to cut my hair short and style it differently. Must say, I really like it!
Sorry to hear you're feeling down, hope your mood lifts soon!
It's interesting, I always find alcohol makes me feel that way and there's plenty of evidence to suggest it can influence low moods, even if the event it was a part of was actually an enjoyable one, so maybe there's something in that...
Equally, there's definitely clear links between diet and what our skin does and I was under no doubt that the intolerance I have were triggering acne because my body could handle or properly get rid of what I was putting in. Don't stress yourself out about the diet changes. Unless you have like full-blown allergies, the odd splash of milk in your tea won't hurt. It's all about making sure the quantities are suitable for your body to handle. I used to drink boiled milk in hot chocolate almost daily when my acne was bad. I cut that out completely and it worked a treat. Now I don't drink it at all, although I expect my system could comfortably handle it once in a while, just like it seems okay with the occasional treat of the other things I cut, such as spicy (inflammatory) foods and cooked/melted cheese which I'm intolerant of.
Look at it as an education because it helps you tweak your diet and remove or reduce those seemingly innocent things which may in fact be upsetting your system, and it can have a positive influence on your complexion, so it's a win-win situation.
Wonderful! It's great to see such results following diet changes. I've been there too and I know how much of a nightmare it is to go through that whole trial and error thing to find the cause. So happy to hear that you found the cause and have been able to maintain it. Not only that, the results are awesome! Enjoy it and keep it up!
Good choice with the honey. About a year ago, I used Manuka honey quite often. Seemed to my skin and it felt great. Plus the honey is yummy! I kind of fell out of the habit though, maybe I'll get back into it. I used to mix in a few drops of jojoba oil if my skin was dry, or a few drops of tea tree oil if I was broken out. All good stuff and all natural. Win-win!
Sound like things are going well. nice to hear. Hope you have a great 21st! Reckon that's as good as any time to take a new approach. Go for it!
My birthday's the day after yours actually. My 27th and I don't think I've been clear on my birthday since I was 12. I don't even remember that now, it's almost like it's two different people . Nice to finally get to where I've wanted to be all that time so I bet it's feeling pretty good for you as well. Enjoy!
Good luck with your course, too! It's always stressful going into a new situation and especially so if you might have insecurities and things about acne. I certainly know that feeling, but it never takes too long before we start to find our place in a new environment, and it'll happen even faster if you feel there's a good group of people around.
Personally, I've never favoured Benzoyl Peroxide because it burns my skin, but that's just me. The general rule seems to be that sometime,s less is more and it's better to go for a low percentage one. Some of the over-the-counter stuff is like 10% and it's pretty harsh for a lot of people. Best to go for something 5% or less because it means you can use regular applications as maintenance and as part of your daily routine without it causing extra discomfort. Also a good idea to phase it in and increase the application once your skin starts getting used to it.
I bet it won't too long before you get used to the whole no milk thing. Never know, may even find something you prefer instead. I've never been one to rely on a morning cuppa or whatever so that's never been an issue. Was quite partial to hot chocolate made with milk though and that was one of the main things I had to cut. Kind of boring but I just replaced it with water which I guess is better for the skin anyway so that's another win-win.
It was a little harder giving up the regular pizza and some of my favourite foods which made up the bulk of my diet, but the results were great and the window of opportunity to find more healthier alternatives was a bonus. I don't suppose my skin will ever be perfect and I'm never especially happy with it or confident in how I look, but knowing that those changes have been enough to keep the acne at bay after thirteen years of persistent breakouts has been enough for me to keep my routine going and start to learn to enjoy the results as best I can.
As I understand it, Azelaic Acid works by stopping bacteria growth in the skin so, in theory, sounds like an ideal choice. Not something I've ever used so can't offer any experience with it. I've always been a little wary of topical products, mainly because I'm my own worst enemy so I'd either be too impatient to give them time, or I'd be too enthusiastic and apply excessive amounts, which of course creates further problems of its own. Be interested to see how it works for you though, fingers crossed you see positive results and improvements you can be happy with.
Sounds like you're in the process of making a few changes which could help a lot. Certainly with things like dairy, my experience has been that there's a lot to be gained from tweaking things a bit. I definitely found a connection between my acne and dairy, especially hot milk and cooked/melted cheese. I cut those out and, honestly, my skin improved quite a lot. It sucks not being able to indulge in melted cheese-engulfed pizza whenever I like, but I guess it's healthier not to and if it's helping my skin as well, it's a win-win situation.
I was never one for wearing topical treatments during the day, even the ones that claimed to be "invisible" or "tinted" or whatever. Usually find it a lot less stressful to save treatments for the night time routine as there's no need to make sure it's fully absorbed and so on... would often end up giving myself a fright when looking in the mirror in a morning!
For me, it was when I thought back to what my skin was like before acne and before compulsive picking. Even after I cleared my acne I was still picking so it was essentially the same, physically and emotionally. I wanted my skin to be how it was before. It takes time, but it can be done. See... On the left is a picture from December 2010, on the right is a picture from two weeks ago. All going pretty well, now I just have to learn to maintain it and stop falling back on picking if ever I'm feeling down or insecure...