If you read my last post here, you’ll know that the last few months have been crazy for me. At the beginning of this month, I decided to change many aspects of my life and I’m happy to report I feel absolutely amazing. Both physically and emotionally. I’m not 100% there yet but it’s been a complete 180 from where I was not too long ago. Most of the turmoil was stress related and at least that’s one aspect that has reduced dramatically.
Most of you know I’ve been struggling with acne ever since my daughter was born in 2014. She recently turned 3 so that’s how long I’ve been suffering for. I know acne affects so many people and having full blown adult acne just feels a million times worse. I’ve tried everything from beauty products to facials and supplements. I went on a course of Roaccutane which had horrible and scary side effects. It went away but reappeared two months later. I’ve been so desperate to get rid of my acne, I was very willing to explore that option again. I was on a four-month course earlier last year and if you want to read more about it, you can check out these posts here. It’s not related to anything recent so I won’t be focusing on it today.
Today’s post is going to be a bit different because it’s more of a story of what I went through to get where I am now. Yes, the just of it is acne related but I think everything I endured was part of the process and if it helps just one person clear their skin up, it’s worth it.
I tried out products from The Ordinary, Isabella Garcia, PhytoCare and other brands on my journey which I will cover in separate parts as a follow up to this post to let you know what worked for me.
The whole ‘acne clear up journey’ became a priority when I was on my blog hiatus. I had just watched this video and realised a possible cause for my acne. After my daughter was born, I decided to get the birth control implant, Implanon, inserted into my arm. My gynae advised it was the least painful (I’m a sissy and the Mirena IUD would be too uncomfortable) and it slowly releases hormones for up to 3 years so I wouldn’t have to remember to take pills every day. It was a swift process because the vial just gets shot in the arm with a local anaesthetic. Minimal pain and over in two seconds. The implant releases a synthetic version of the hormone progesterone which prevents the uterine walls from building up and can inhibit your menstrual flow. It has been years since I’ve had a proper period due to my pregnancies. In March 2012, I fell pregnant with my son, he was born December 2012. I breastfed him (many women don’t get their periods when they exclusively breastfeed) for 9 months when I found out I was pregnant for the second time in Nov 2013. My daughter was born July 2014, I had the Mirena inserted in September 2014 and due to the implant and breastfeeding, my periods never returned. I spotted every couple of months for a day or two but that was it.
I watched the abovementioned video in June and two days later I went to my GP to have it removed. I was scared AF because I knew the implant needed to be cut out. Surprisingly, the process was not painful at all and I managed to film the doctor removing it for future reference. I know I’m weird like that. I can do blood and scalpels but I absolutely hate needles LOL. Once it was out, my GP advised it would take a couple of weeks for my acne to subside. She prescribed the birth control patch instead which is something I had previously used in the past. You wear a new patch each week and in the fourth week, menstruation would appear as normal. I waited but Aunt Flo never came to visit in June.
In July I decided to start eating healthy. I would pre-pack my lunch with chicken breasts, cucumber slices and cheese cubes. I increased my water intake, had cereal for breakfast and a warm glass of milk before bed to relax. As the days progressed, my skin raged and got worse. The inflammation got out of control to a point where it was painful to touch any part of my own face. I cried whilst looking in the mirror because, for every one that I targeted, ten more would appear. I attributed it to the removal of the implant, my hormones trying to come back to terms with my body. Sadly in July, Aunt Flo never visited either.
I messaged a friend about my non-existent menstruation and she suggested I go for cupping, an ancient form of alternative medicine. I’ll do a separate post on my cupping experience because it is nothing short of interesting I can assure you. Long story short, I had my cupping appointment on Saturday and Monday morning I woke up to my periods. I couldn’t believe it I was so happy. Weird right?
I started having oats for breakfast, proteins for lunch and cutting out gluten and carbs as much as I could. I watched everything I ate and finally came to the realisation of the main thing that has been causing my acne because I slipped up one day. *Drumroll please*
DAIRY. Yep, just plain ol’ dairy. Can you believe it? I’m sure most of you were expecting some miracle product, serum or mask. But alas, it’s that simple. Not something I would ever have thought in a million years. I grew up drinking milk every single day of my life. Most of the time, even after I got married, my late night snack would be a huge bowl of Strawberry Pops or Frosties in cold milk. And back then I didn’t even have a single zit. I don’t know what changed but I’m glad I finally figured it out. I stopped dairy with this new diet and one day I was desperate for milk cereal and I woke up with 3 breakouts on my chin. I was suspicious but didn’t think much of it. Last week I had a block of Aero chocolate to see what happens and I woke up with another zit. Checked the ingredients and it has milk powder. I’ve cut out all dairy from my diet in the last two weeks. No milk, yoghurt, cheese, chocolate, butter, cream, cakes. Not even sauces that contain any form of dairy.
During this time, I used an at home DIY mask to treat the inflammation and make the acne disappear faster. I think this is a great mask if you suffer from pimples and breakouts but on its own, it won’t get rid of your acne completely. All you need are two ingredients.
6 teaspoons of fine cinnamon
Mix the two ingredients together and leave in the fridge for 20 minutes to thicken. Add more cinnamon if it’s runny or add water if it becomes too thick. Apply it to your entire face an hour before bed to dry and then go to sleep with it. You may experience tingling but it will subside. Wash it off the next morning with warm water. Repeat for 5 days every night. Any leftover mask product can be stored in the fridge for the next day. You can add honey if you have sensitive skin but then you cannot sleep with it on for it to work overnight.
I am going to continue to use the mask for 5 days each month as maintenance because it keeps the surface of my skin soft and removes any dead skin cells to reveal brighter skin. It will continually lighten the scars but I’m going for a chemical peel to attend to that. I am not a doctor but this mask worked for me and since it’s all natural ingredients I’m happy to share it with you.
Last month I had full blown acne on my forehead, cheeks and chin. I even had painful breakouts in my sideburns which hurt when I wore a scarf. The only flat surface was on my nose. In just two weeks, TWO WEEKS, I can count the number of pimples I have on one hand. My skin is flat and not inflamed at all even though I still have lots of scarring to take care of now. This has honestly been the biggest revelation for me and I feel (and look) like a completely different person now. If you’ve tried everything and are still suffering from acne, just try eliminating dairy out of your diet for one month and see if it improves. If it doesn’t, then try something else but at least you can check this cause off your list.
Hope this helps. Thanks for reading.
Have you ever suffered from acne? What did you do to get rid of it?
*Images are not my own