Below the Surface with Adult Onset Acne — the Struggle is Real.
I was at war with my body for the last 5 years and it was the most exhausting battle I’ve ever fought. We are taught to strive for perfection and seek approval from the outside, and if something isn’t perfect then we told it’s bad or incorrect. We compare our lives to others and beat ourselves up when we feel like we haven’t achieved as much others have.
But for real, it’s time to leave that shit behind us. Over the last few weeks, Ellen and I have been talking a lot about setting boundaries and learning to trust ourselves after years of being taught that we’re only as good as our last good deed. Ellen posted a beautiful reflection on our IG feed about embracing anger as an asset for positive change and I couldn’t agree more.
Holding ourselves to the impossible standards of perfection is literally killing us, and it’s time to get pissed about it.
We spent the last 8 months recovering from working in the corporate world, and I am just now getting to a point where I can allow myself the space to acknowledge my body and listen to what it’s telling me. I spent years ignoring warning signs that I wasn’t healthy. Working around the clock was so exhausting, any time I could turn off, all I had the energy to do was sleep. I had stored up so much stress that for over a year I ignored numbness in my legs, which was caused by a pinched nerve in my back. I ignored the fact that I hadn’t had my period in over 3 years, that I had dropped weight, and that I had what felt like huge lesions on my face from adult onset cystic acne. Now that I’ve detoxed from the residual stress, I look back on what I was ignoring and I can’t believe I ever lived like that — I was so miserable that I even remembering feeling like my body was totally alien to me, but I didn’t have time to take care of myself because I felt obligated to take care of everyone else first.
Our bodies are screaming for help but their pleas are falling on deaf ears.
I’ve been thinking about this a lot over the last couple of weeks because we have a number of friends who are having similar experiences right now. They are strong, brilliant women who are working their asses off and living in a constant state of survival mode. They’ve given every second of their time and focus to everyone but themselves, and become so numb to their bodies they weren’t able to see all the warning signs that something was wrong, ultimately leading to health issues that were far more severe than they would have been if they had been caught sooner. It’s time to acknowledge we are chasing an unachievable version of success. And all the while, we are sacrificing our health and our bodies.
I am officially beginning an intense love affair… with myself.
So with that, in honor of my year of transformation and just in time for Valentine’s Day, I will be shamelessly putting my relationship on display for the next 8 weeks, while I go below the surface to heal my adult onset acne from the inside out. This is one of my biggest insecurities, probably because I was (admittedly) very lucky growing up and didn’t struggle with acne as kid. But the universe always has a way of correcting itself and it came back for retribution. My 30th birthday sparked the beginning of my very real, very dark struggle with adult onset acne. I’ve seen dermatologists, I’ve used virtually every product for acne on the market, I’ve tried chemicals, I’ve tried organic treatments, I’ve covered it up, I’ve left it exposed. And after 8 months of stress detoxing where most of my other health issues have resolved, I am still breaking out like a prepubescent teenager. And I’m ready to embrace every awkward moment of it.
I didn’t realize how prevalent this issue was until I developed adult acne myself, but I have talked to so many other women who went through the same thing after turning 30. Shout out to all you badasses — the important thing to always remember is: you’re not alone no matter how embarrassing or isolating it can feel. I know the feeling when it’s so bad you never want to leave the house. And putting on a ton of coverup every time you go outside is exhausting just to think about. So I’ve been doing a LOT of reflection and research on what can cause adult acne.
Aside from the obvious hormone imbalance, I’ve recently learned that cystic acne is often an issue that starts from the inside of your body — unlike regular blemishes which are caused from dirt on your skin.
It’s a sign of an imbalance in your body, specifically your gut. When your gut health is off, it often causes inflammation in your tissue and lowers your immune system. Combine that with any number of things that can effect your hormones and you’ve basically created the perfect environment for those painful pimples that never seem to go away. If you want to read more about leaky gut syndrome this is a great article, but generally I’ve found 3 consistent ways that people have adjusted their diets to overcome this issue:
- Cutting sugars, junk food, processed meats and dairy
- Cutting baked goods and breads
- Adding bone broth as a regular staple (1 cup per day)
Bone broth is not a new concept, but the more I learn about it, the more I realize this is basically life’s elixir. I highly recommend reading Dr. Axe’s Eat Dirt if you want to know more about the multitude of health benefits of bone broth. It’s one of the first books Ellen and I read after leaving our jobs in digital marketing and it’s changed my whole perspective on taking care of my body. Now, in celebration of Valentine’s Day and with nowhere to turn but inward (all the single ladies, where you at?!) I’m going to spend the next 8 weeks getting in touch with myself, and attempt to heal my acne from the inside out. I will post weekly BTS updates on our blog to document the progress of my skin struggles so we can see if the rumors about bone broth are true. And along the way, I’ll shamelessly expose the uncensored ups and downs of my new relationship, my struggle to clean up my diet, and the hard truths about reconnecting with my body. #lovebelowthesurface
Welcome to my life exposed for the next 8 weeks.
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Below the Surface with Adult Onset Acne — the Struggle is Real. was originally published in we are all daughters. on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.