My name is Holly.
I have acne.
Admittedly, my acne ( luckily ) is only mild/moderate. I can only imagine what my life would be like if my acne was to become severe. People who cope with severe acne must be so much stronger than me. Even with mild/moderate acne i find it hard to look people in the face. It can be a lonely world, being an acne sufferer. Most days i just want to hide away.
I saw this one young girl today, her head held high, no makeup on and her face looked red raw with acne - yet here i am, staring at my shoes because i have several clumps of spots on my face.
My acne started April last year. Up until my 17th birthday I had been 99% blemish/pimple free. I never gave my skin a second thought. I never realised how lucky i had been with my skin until now. The strength of people who have been acne sufferers since they were 11 amazes me, it truly does.
How i believe my acne started is by me 'over irritating my face'...
Last April I modelling for my friends photography A level. I was unbelievably confident then, i didn't have a care in the world. However, about a week after i finished the photo shoot, i began to get a spot on my chin. It was one of those stubborn ones that never comes to a head. A friend suggested i steamed it to draw out the puss...
Problem was, that i went on the thought that 'More is better'...
I steamed my face for 20 minutes a night every night for 2 weeks. The first couple of days my skin felt great. The stubborn spot came to a head and popped and I should have thought to myself "Right, thats enough now.."
Instead i continued to steam my face every night, adding all sorts to the boiling water, thinking it would do my skin good.
I heard that mint was good. And lemon. And lavender. And cinnamon. And nutmeg. And vinegar. And tea. And ginger. And garlic. You could say i made myself a cocktail and steamed my face with it 20 minutes a night for 2 weeks.
I thought it would be a good idea...
After 2 weeks, my skin was so so red. I had broken veins around my nose and i began to notice that i was getting bumps on my cheeks.
I stopped steaming my face, but i think the damage had already been done.
I bought myself a spot facewash, thinking that it would get rid of them. I washed my face at least 3 times a day - again, thinking 'More is better'. My skin began to get awful.
I heard if you rubbed garlic onto your spots that they would go away. So i did this every night for a week.
It only made my skin worse.
I was so desperate to get rid of these few spots on my cheeks that i polluted my skin with every remedy i heard of.
After a month, my cheeks were constantly red and had pustules all over them.
I stopped leaving the house and became so self conscious. I hated my face.
I have been struggling with my face for just over a year now and gradually it is getting better.
I think i must have traumatised my skin. And now i am paying the price for it.
Last august i decided i would go to the doctor.
I have extremely sensitive skin so me and my doctor decided harsh chemical treatments would do me no good.
I have tried every wash under the sun. Every cream. I've tried just using water - this only made my skin very red, dry and sore. I've changed diets, tons of exercise.
And now its come to this. The point at which i am beyond fed up.
My whole life revolves around my skin. What i eat, what i do, where i go.
I spend all this money on products only for them not to work. I spend all this time preening and fussing with my face and not getting results.
So i thought to myself, "enough is enough."
I decided then and there that i would leave my skin alone - completely.
My mum and grandmother have always had perfect skin. I asked them what they did, how did they never get bad skin? What did they use?
They told me that they never used anything. No soap, washes, creams. They washed with water every couple of days and that was it.
So far, i am the only person in our family who has acne and they have all done the same thing - just washed with water every couple of days.
"what about the oil?????" I said.
My mum just replied with the most sensible answer i have heard from anyone. She told me that the oil your face secretes helps to create what is called and acid mantle which protects your face against bacteria. Why wash off your body's natural oil only to replace it with a chemical, man made moisturizer. She told me to let my body take care of itself.
So that it what i am doing. Leaving my skin to let it heal and calm down on its own.
I have no idea if it will work or make my face worse. All i know is that what i am doing now isn't helping, so i might as well try it. What harm can it do? Right?
I will be doing this experiment for a whole month - only washing my face when i shower, but not using soap or anything else and writing a daily diary to keep track on my progress ( or maybe not progress - we'll see! )
Fingers crossed. xx