I thought I’d be over this by now. And to be honest, for a little while, I was. Less than a year ago, my skin might have been scarred but I had absolutely no active acne, and I went outside without makeup on. And not just down to get the mail, I went shopping. Shopping without my mask on. I still felt self-conscious, red, raw, marked for life… but I felt confident enough, brave enough. But it was short lived; my acne returned, and reached a point I felt was even worse than my teenage years. Good God, what the hell is going on?!
I’ve battled with this skin I’m in for most of my life now. It’s a bit confronting to say that – most of my life. When you hit your thirties, time seems to catch up with you a bit. You’ve had your 10 year high school reunion (invited over Facebook no less), you’ve probably graduated from some kind of tertiary education institution, and you may even be starting to drive your own kids off to school each weekday morning. Your life is progressing, maturing, developing. You’re adulting! But every morning when you wake up, all you see is spots. Red, angry spots. They’re on your jaw, your chin, your nose, your cheeks, your neck. Why couldn’t they have been left behind in your teenage years? Or even your twenties?!
This is the age I’m meant to be concerning myself over those other skin issues: wrinkles, sun spots, tiredness. I’d rather be researching botox than pimple creams, trust me.
I feel like I’ve tried a million and one things to fix my skin. People regularly feel inclined to tell me exactly what I should do to get clear, beautiful skin, because it worked for them. And I know their suggestions are coming from a place of kindness, but most of the time… I’ve already tried what they’re suggesting, because I’m in my thirties. I’ve had more than 17 years to dabble in acne medications and topical creams, and if I haven’t tried it – I’ve heard of it. I’ve made it my distinct business to be aware of what’s out there. Why? Because I hate having acne. Because it’s ridiculous how chronic and debilitating this is at my age. Because I still give a shit about myself, and I’m really bloody trying.
Is it stress? It is hormones? It is bacteria? Is it that bottle of red from the other night? Or maybe it was the Gin. God… why is this so damn hard?
Right now, I know of some possible issues going on with my body. My Implanon has run out, and either needs to be removed or swapped over. My diet needs to be improved, and I need to drop out sugars. I’m not exercising enough, and working online creates stagnation. These are things I can identify as targets I need to hit harder, in order to become better. But will they completely right all that is wrong? I don’t know.
I think the greatest positive that comes from ageing is acceptance. I remember being in my teens and refusing to go to school because of my skin. I remember being in my twenties and refusing to go to work because of my skin. Now I’m in my thirties, I accept that my skin is a mess, and while I’m actively trying to fix it every single day, it no longer stops me from going out. I accept it’s not perfect, smooth, flawless. It’s raised, lumpy, obvious. But I own that, I work with that. I used to edge close to ‘meltdown mode’ if my dark red, patchy scars showed through my foundation. These days, I allow it. And it’s not that I necessarily care less, it’s just that I accept that this is me. I am not Instagram perfect. But really, no-one is. That world is all a lie, and I refuse to give in to that pressure to deceive. I refuse to continue deceiving myself.
I love roller coasters, but this particular one involving my skin is the only one I am ready to get the hell off. It doesn’t break me down to the point of tears and sadness anymore. I haven’t felt that way for a few years, but I remember those moments still, vividly. These days, it’s more frustration I feel as I look in the mirror. I’ve developed a steady patience, and I’m willing to give each tweak I make to my routine enough time to take effect. But it’s frustrating to see those deep mounds of acne continue growing, no matter what I slather them in. It’s frustrating to remember you’re not a teen, you’re a grown woman, and this shouldn’t be happening.
I will continue the battle, continue tweaking. I will continue applying my makeup each morning. My shield, my defence. And I’ll continue to work on my personal targets. I’ll be heading back to the doctor soon to deal with the Implanon issue, and hopefully try a new strategy. This has always been on-going, but I look forward to the day I can sit here and write “I am acne free”.
If you want to follow my latest slice of life, and my acne journey, then check out my latest YouTube video.