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h88frances

*pictures Body Image: How Clear Is Considered Clear?

Hi all and thanks for dropping by,

So recently I've been seeing a therapist regarding my body image issues specifically related to my complexion.

It has come to the point that I am house bound, socially anxious and unable to go to school due to my acne.

I attached photos of my skin before and after treatment. Antibiotics and topicals made my acne worse so I turned to diet, natural topicals and supplements. It took about a year and a half to rid of all the "major" acne scars

I understand my skin has gotten so much better. I should be happier, however, not really.

I am more obsessed about my skin than ever in my life. One single breakout is enough to set me off in panic. I tell myself I've lost control over my skin, and that I'll be doomed with another scar on my face that makes me worthless than anybody else in the world. The breakout will usually clear in 2-3 days, leaving no scar though.

I've read about this condition where a psychologist named it "phantom acne", taken from a condition where a person claims pain in the limbs removed from surgery.

Does anyone else experience this? Did anyone else over come this problem?

Here are the pictures before and after treatment:

post-489071-0-53824200-1441984512.jpg

post-489071-0-97963400-1441991828.jpg

The pictures look so much better than real life, my skin is still full of pitted/rolling acne scars and small hyperpigmentation that the camera lighting wasn't able to capture, or at least that's what I see everyday.

I also found an interesting article by Seppo Puusa or Acne Einstein, who wrote "why self compassion is the only way to be truly free from acne". Although self compassion can't make the condition go away, he claims we should cultivate self compassion in order to free ourselves from the "fear of acne".

I felt this article spoke to me so I'm posting this just in case it can help anyone.

http://www.acneeinstein.com/self-compassion-acne/

Any comments or questions? I'm a psychology student so I'm up for discussion :)

Thanks,

Hannah Frances

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Yes, I am just like you. Anytime I get a zit, even just one, I lose my shit and start freaking out that it is going to leave a scar behind. They usually never do, but I get so stressed and anxious over it that I can't sleep well some nights. I usually have to reassure myself several times that my zits almost never leave any kind of real scars, and this will heal too, but I still feel panicked. I think I have some form of BDD over my skin. Also if I start getting more breakouts than normal, I will start to think that I am developing bad acne that is going to continue to worsen until it is severe. Never happens, but I always manage to convince myself that it will.

I also have a lot of crap going on with my skin that the camera doesn't pick up (small scars, slight discolored areas, thread veins). I spend a lot of time scrutinizing my skin up close in the mirror. It is ruining my life. I think I've gone mental over it. I think about my skin several hours a day. I need a shrink.

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That is the exact experience I'm talking about!

This is when acne really limits lives.

Right now I'm breaking out almost every single day, which is a great deal for someone who's got it under control for a few months.

I think I'm going mental too.

My therapist says that we should work on cultivating self-worth, and find some positive characteristics that are not tied to appearance so every time I break out it won't "threat" my self worth.

But when we live in a society where beauty is an asset and media is full of photoshop and when there is so much focus on skin, I can't help but think having acne is a huge setback to living and an "abnormal" condition I have to rid of.

I'm tracking my progress in getting better on my blog, so check it out if you're interested.

I haven't posted anything yet, since I just started the project this morning, but I am planning to make weekly postings:

http://h88frances2015.blogspot.ca/

Thanks!

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Your post and that article made me tear up a little.

Yes. I had (and sometimes still have) similar issues with my complexion and my value. But for many, MANY years, the thoughts about my skin just stayed on autoloop. If I got lazy with my diet and ate a little yogurt or chocolate and broke out, I would mentally punish myself. It almost became a control thing. Like, me vs. my skin. And I WASN'T going to let my skin win. But it's so fucked up, right? Because your skin IS you. I started likening it a little to cancer, in that your uncooperative, confused body becomes your own enemy. But it has no idea it's battling you the way you are battling it.

Therapy alone didn't help. There was no more eye contact. All of my dreams were me locked in a bathroom with people banging on the door for me to get out--frantically smearing concealers and powders on my face. Eventually I stumbled across a brilliant book by Julia Ross called 'The Mood Cure'. Julia Ross is my homegirl. Truly. She saved my life. I had my serotonin levels tested and found they were devastatingly low. I went on 5-HTP daily (which I still take a couple times a week) to build up my serotonin reserves.

The obsessive thoughts about my skin have died down so much. I can even hang out around my boyfriend and go to the grocery store with no makeup. Last week, I went to the Sephora counter and let them put makeup on me---I've NEVER let anyone touch my face before.

Don't get me wrong--I still have a little compact mirror that I check my skin with first thing in the morning without fail. Because I still *occasionally* have dreams where all my acne has returned and I've run out of makeup. But recognizing that brain chemistry was playing a part in my body dysmorphia was a big first step towards accepting my face as it is and even as it might be tomorrow if I eat the wrong thing and wake up with a giant ugly cyst. It's no longer representative of my self-worth.

And by the way--you are BEAUTIFUL, Hannah! In both photos <3

Edited by SkinDeeply

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Wow. I am exactly the same. I just finished accutane four days ago and, although I am clear, I am in a constant worry about my skin.

Last week I came out in an ingrown hair on my neck.. Wasn't even acne, but it just made me a mess. It was huge and I didn't leave the house that day.

Now, if I get even the slightest bump anywhere I panic. I panic it's never going to go, it will scar, it will be my acne returning again... After spending so long being self-conscious about my skin, it's impossible to not worry about it anymore. I'm a perfectionist now, and if I have the tiniest bump I think I'm the ugliest person ever..

I don't know how I'll get over it, but hopefully time will heal. The only thing with acne is it can come back, and if it does.. Eep.. ;( I don't want to be back to where I was before, suicidal over my skin..

And to the above post... I, too, have nightmares about acne. I mean it's ridiculous isn't it?! But then the relief when I wake up and realize it was a dream is unbeatable haha!

Edited by Lore91

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Wow. I am exactly the same. I just finished accutane four days ago and, although I am clear, I am in a constant worry about my skin.

Last week I came out in an ingrown hair on my neck.. Wasn't even acne, but it just made me a mess. It was huge and I didn't leave the house that day.

Now, if I get even the slightest bump anywhere I panic. I panic it's never going to go, it will scar, it will be my acne returning again... After spending so long being self-conscious about my skin, it's impossible to not worry about it anymore. I'm a perfectionist now, and if I have the tiniest bump I think I'm the ugliest person ever..

I don't know how I'll get over it, but hopefully time will heal. The only thing with acne is it can come back, and if it does.. Eep.. ;( I don't want to be back to where I was before, suicidal over my skin..

And to the above post... I, too, have nightmares about acne. I mean it's ridiculous isn't it?! But then the relief when I wake up and realize it was a dream is unbeatable haha!

Hey Lore, I am glad to hear you are finished taking accutane and it worked for you!! :)

I'm with you, one tiny bump gives me so much anxiety these days. If I feel/see a bump, it instantly ruins my mood (not that I have many good moods these days!) I also have nightmares. Nightmares that my face is much worse, that I have deep scarring all over, huge zits, etc. I am almost thankful for those nightmares because when I wake up I almost feel relieved that it isn't that bad. I also have dreams occasionally that my skin has improved a lot, then wake up feeling disappointed. I'd like to get to a point where I don't have ANY dreams, good or bad, about my skin. I'm sick of my skin taking over my thoughts and my life.

Edited by *DarkHeart*

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First off your skin looks AMAZING

No tane or rx topicals

wth are u using???? please post!

I am also like you...I had VERYYYYY oily skin and mild breakouts that persisted over 4 yrs

I begged for spiro but was denied and offered tane

I took it as a last resort and to put these skin issues behind me

Im now 4 mnths POST tane and am an anxious nervous wreck over my skin

I am completely paranoid my acne and oil is going to return

I do break out quit often..which doesnt help

myabe 3-5x a week and they are very small and go away within 1-3 days

BUT my skin is red, bumpy texture and dehydrated and i feel just as insecure if not worse now than pre tane

Hang in there

wish I had more helpful advice

kim

Edited by kimber607

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Kimber, I'm the same. I'm nearly two weeks off of accutane and Im terrified! I wish I could stay on it forever haha!

My biggest fear is that it will come back in feb... When I move to japan and will have no easy access to accutane :S eep!! But hey.. Let's not stress. Hopefully we'll be fine, so please keep me updated on your progress! (I heard you can breakout after as your body is readjusting, but who knows!)

Also I agree ... OP your skin is phenominal! Seriously! :D but like I said earlier it's impossible to feel safe and secure, especially if you do get a tiny breakout or bump -- it brings so much anxiety!

I definately feel we all suffer from some sort of BDD brought on from years of acne - but we'll get through it!

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Hi I am like this as well!

For me it stems from being unsuccessful with accutane. Twice.

I have now been clear thanks to topicals for nearly a month and hopefully much longer too. However, I get an odd bump (which only lasts a day - if that) now and then and I just think to myself 'yep thats it, tomorrow I will wake up with 500 cysts'. It's hard to get over I think and I really hope in time I do get over it cause it can have such a detrimental effect on me. I *should* be happy being pimple free but instead I am constantly worrying that my skin will become awful again.

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i haven't had acne in almost 3 years but when i get a small bump it really makes my anxiety go sky high and brings me back to those days when i felt so awful and just cried all the time. i dont think anybody that hasnt gone through it can ever truly understand how devastating it is have bad acne and scars it just really screws you up for a long, long time and sometimes its something you can never get over. for me working out a lot and listening to a ton of music really helps me as well as just keeping super busy so i dont have time to dwell on things too much. i do have to say though h88frances that your skin looks pretty freaking awesome even though its just a picture the difference is like night day. try not to be too hard on yourself and if you ever need to chat i am here ;)

Edited by tracy521

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