My frenemy Acne Vulgaris

From puberty, oily skin and cysts to adult acne, natural medicine and many, many salty tears. Me and acne – we were just frikken meant to be…

So, like many girls my first encounter with Acne Vulgaris was around Grade 7, I was thirteen or so at the time. And although I was an early bloomer, getting my period around age ten, my “struggles” with the struggles of puberty were pretty mild.
Yes, my boobs grew at a noticeable pace, the hair on my legs got darker and all other yummy symptoms of womanhood were upon me, except really bad acne. 

I thought I was blessed! When we learnt of what to expect during these awkward teen years, my response was always Psshhtt! I beg to differ. And for most of my adult-developing years that was the case. My periods were never horrible and my acne was limited to three small pimples…Max!

But oh how I wish I could return to those days… And yes, as you can guess. My blissful ignorance was wiped off my clear, youthful face and replaced by huge white-covered red volcanoes.

I was about seventeen. Everyone around me, and I mean everyone, was walking around without a pimple in sight. And all those who had suffered with it during Grade 8, were well matured with grown-up looks and clear skin. And, kids will be kids and aunties will be aunties, so by the time I matriculated from high school I miraculously picked up a new skill  – I would become deaf when anyone poked at them or asked if I tried this or that. Oh! And not forgetting the occasional But aren’t you almost 20!? Yes, auntie I’m almost 20! But so what!?

I was always a confident girl, and to be honest, I always felt like I had to be. I developed way ahead of my peers and having people ask me uncomfortable questions, make fun of me or give me weird looks became something I just learnt to…live with. So even when my pimples turned into adult acne, I wasn’t really that worried about it. 

Except one day… One day it all got too much for me.

My acne reached the point where it felt like it was pulsating with heat. It would burn and itch beyond anything I’d ever felt. Because these adult acne bumps were not of my teen years. No, these were far worse – cystic acne. 
Now this type of “pimple” occurs as any regular pimple would; a pore becomes clogged because of an over abundance of oil (sebum) that your body naturally produces. Bacteria go wild and this causes a pimple. However, instead of having those oils and pus emulate towards the surface and sprout a whitehead, it embeds itself like an invasive embryo and dwells beneath. Causing a deep pain within your face… *sigh*

​​  And these cysts were spreading over my face faster than a parent spreading jam on their kid’s samwich for lunch. I would go to bed with a few and wake up with a natural disaster the next day. I was horrified! I looked ugly and I felt it. Deep, deep down, I felt disgusting. 
I would cry so many times when I looked in the mirror. I cried because I was too scared of even looking at my skin, just in case it caused another cyst to spawn. I cried because I never felt so insecure, so unworthy (okay, I admit that’s a bit dramtic). And I cried because I vowed to myself to never fall “prey” to peer pressure. To be true to myself. To embrace my body and that where I was now, is it exactly where Allah wanted me to be and being there in the type of body I was in. But this moment of weakness was… It was a wake up call. This was just another hurdle. And much like the hurdles back at school athletics, I was falling over all of them – in the beginning. But after getting enough momentum, I could at least jump the last one. Now was the time to jump!

This post is making it sound rather easy, like I woke up and was like Not today satan! But in all honesty, it was a journey. A process. But I thought, am I going to drag this process out, milk the joke my self-confidence was becoming!?
I’ve bounced back before. Why was this any different!? I was still the same old funny me. My sarcasm and love for sushi was still within me. I was still me, even if I didn’t quite look the part. And I was doing to myself what I hated a few gross people did – judge me at face value. I mean I cried at the sight of my face…*face palm*

So I made a whole 180 degrees and started doing things better. Establishing a proper skincare routine. And I didn’t use anything fancy, no no no no no my dear, I used plain old Dove soap and warm water. Used acne creams and I could look myself in the mirror without having the urge to call pest control.
But then things got worse… As in waaay worse…

– Will do a second part soon! Subscribe to my blog to get notified when I do 🙂

Image Source: Yasmin Ni. (2017). How To Clear Cystic Acne Overnight. 

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