For today’s post I’m going a little off topic. For this week I’m pushing pause on the Paris life updates and talking about something very close to my heart. Skin. To be precise, acne. Towards the end of last year a well-known beauty blogger known as My Pale Skin, real name Em Ford posted this video to her social channels. If you haven’t seen it yet, I’d highly recommend watching. As someone who has struggled with their skin since my early teens I was able to relate to it in so many ways.

I’m not ashamed to say that watching it made me cry, for more than one reason. It reminded me of all the emotions I had when my skin was bad, how low my self esteem was, how much I hated looking in the mirror, how I hoped every morning I would wake up and my skin would miraculously have cleared. It reminded me of the countless times I sat and cried silently in my room, the almost daily tearful phone calls I had with my mum, the struggle I had making myself go out when my skin was at its worst and how I felt like no amount of make up would cover it adequately. To most I seemed happy, to most they wouldn’t know the internal struggle I was facing on a daily basis, to most it wouldn’t seem ‘that bad’. I was told by so many people it wasn’t that obvious, I was told by several doctors I would probably grow out of it, I was surrounded by people with near perfect skin and I felt very alone. Nothing I was prescribed seemed to work, I started to feel hopeless and as though it would never get better. I avoided anyone seeing me without makeup, even my closest friends and family. I felt anxious whenever I was going through a serious breakout, I was sure everyone was just looking at my skin and seeing every pimple and make-up covered bump or scar.

When my parents moved to Suffolk I eventually got seen by a sympathetic GP. One whose daughter also suffered from acne.  Finally I was referred to a dermatologist in the hope I’d be put on Isotretinoin, more commonly know as roaccutane. I was in such a bad place with my skin I refused to go to the hospital make up free. I cried when I went into the consultation room and the consultant said I had to remove my make-up. He was slightly shocked at how bad it actually was…I’d become quite good at masking the redness, scarring etc. over the years. I can’t explain the relief when he said that I would be eligible for the treatment I’d been wanting to have for so many years. As last I was put on a 6 month course of roaccutane. You’re warned it will get worse before it gets better and there can be some side effects but luckily I only suffered with very dry skin. Cetaphil and a lotion prescribed by the consultant became life savers. It did take some time but slowly I started to see progress. I saw out the full six month course and finally my skin was clear! Rejoice!

However, it only stayed that way for just under a year and then the acne came back with vengeance. I was at a loss, I had no idea what else to do, to try. I’d been on every medication possible…what now? I spent hours doing research and eventually stumbled across a skincare regime created by a guy who had suffered severe acne and found nothing had worked. He decided to create his own system. I decided I needed to give it a try. I read hundreds of testimonials and then went ahead and purchased. I’m not going to lie, it isn’t cheap and you must strictly follow the steps for it to be effective but if it works it would definitely be worth it. A few years later and I’ve never looked back, my skin is so much more stable now than it has ever been. I actually look forward to taking my make-up off at the end of the day and I have one or two make-up free days each week too. I’ve substituted a couple of the elements for other more readily available products now that I’ve been using it a while. I’m a HUGE fan of Glossier and use their Milky Jelly Cleanser, and at night I still continue to use the Cetaphil moisturiser or one by Mixa that I found here in France. As a day time moisturiser I use the Avene Cleanance Mat moisturiser. I also make sure that I wash my make-up brushes religiously and I take a few vitamins that are supposed to help specifically with your skin. The combination of all the above seems to be working well and in general my skin is pretty good now. I obviously break out from time to time but now I don’t feel the same sense of panic that I used to.

Now getting back to the video I mentioned in the first paragraph, sorry for the detour but I thought a little explanation as to why it made such an impression on me was important. The video validated every one of the emotions I experienced during the time when my skin was at its worst. It explains all the things I’ve never been able to, how much acne and any of the other skin conditions shown can have an affect on your mental health. So many times I struggled with the thought that I shouldn’t care about my acne, it shouldn’t bother me. That it was shallow to be so fixated on it, but this video made me realise that these feelings were all ok, were out of my control and it was ok to feel that way. What’s more it’s been SCIENTIFICALLY backed up. I applaud what Em from My Pale Skin Blog is doing and the courage she is giving to other people all over the world. Writing this down has been quite terrifying, and it feels like an overshare but has also been somewhat therapeutic at the same time.

Maybe one day I’ll be brave enough to share the barefaced, no make-up, before and after photos. For the moment, I’m not quite ready to do that.

F x

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