Do Not Let Acne Define You

My relationship with make-up has definitely evolved over the last four years. Up until college, I rarely had a spot pop up on my face, let alone a full blown break out. I am a woman of many freckles, and have always been taught to embrace them. Through out high school, my mom would beg me to just swipe a bit of mascara on my lashes. Being the stubborn gal I am, I would refuse. I didn’t feel I needed make-up, and more importantly, it would cut off at least three minutes of my precious sleep time and that was something I was just not willing to compromise.

I remember showing up to freshman move in day, naturally not wearing make up, and was extremely intimidated by girls my age who looked years older solely because of their make-up. I quickly became addicted to watching make-up tutorials on YouTube. As most of you know, you can completely change the shape of your face simply by using make-up; I was fascinated by this!

My mom was ecstatic by my new revelation, and supported my slightly insane make-up shopping bender. I did endless research on make-up that complimented my freckles, my skin tone, and my eye color. My make-up collection became one of my babies (and still is). I have always loved to paint – I viewed make up as another form of art, rather than something that is used to cover you up.

Apparently it was not in my life plan to live a completely acne free existence. I called my mom one day panicking. I was convinced I had the chicken pox. She quickly reminded me I had already had them and that I was once again over reacting. She came to the conclusion I had just broken out from something I was using in my face care routine.

Face care routine? What face care routine? You mean a Neutrogena make-up wipe every couple of days wasn’t enough?

My mom was kind enough to send me extra samples of her Perricone MD skin care products (something I still use and swear by) and my break out eventually went away. Or so I thought. For the next year I battled with constant break outs. I blamed make-up and began to hate it. In reality, it was not make-ups fault in the slightest. It was due to unbalanced hormones, high levels of stress, and just every day life of a college student. Oh, and I should probably mention, I was also living abroad, traveling almost every weekend, eating food that does not exactly scream “EAT ME I’M GOOD FOR YOU”, barely sleeping, and the list goes on. But it was all make-ups fault, right?

I did not want to wear make-up, but I was too self conscious to go out in public with my face looking like it did! I should probably mention, my make-up collection never really included a foundation. I would highlight my features using blush and a little bronzer, but I did not want to cover up my freckles, therefor, no foundation for me.

I decided to invest in a mineral foundation (it sounded like the best for my skin) and wore it religiously. However, the foundation, in an odd way, symbolized this hatred and frustration I had with myself and my skin. I felt completely betrayed. I dealt with it while abroad, but the moment I returned to the states I went to my dermatologist. She took one look at me and said, my hormones were – for lack of better words – totally out of wack! It took a quick trip to my GYNO, a prescription, and my face was back to high school! (Disclaimer: I do still struggle with occasional breakouts, but I know how to cope with them now.)

I think it is crazy how your body works. I had to go to my GYNO to fix my acne problem. Who would have thought!

Since my experience I have grown and learned a few things.
  1. Water is always necessary. I have become much more aware of how much water I drink. I can see a difference in my skin when I drink at least 64oz a day.
  2. I have a really bad habit of touching my face with my germy hands. I am now conscious of it and try to stop myself when I do it!
  3. I really do not like foundation. I just do not like the feeling of it. I try to take care of my skin (sunscreen every day, face masks multiple times a week, and my nightly skin routine) to ensure I do not need more than a little concealer.
  4. I am the kind of person who MUST remove my make-up every evening. I am OK with it. I have a routine and I look forward to it every night.
  5. Make-up is not the enemy. It is an art form and is beautiful. However, you are just as beautiful without it. Break out or not. I had never had to deal with the insecurity of people looking at my face before. I was ashamed to go out in public at times. Acne completely took over my life. For those of us who struggle with acne, I just want to remind you to never be ashamed. You are stunning in your most naked form.

I have learned to respect my body and how it works so much more. I try to filter what I put in it, what I put on it, and what I expose it to. Although your body can withstand a lot of abuse, it is fragile and needs constant TLC.