For the first time ever, I’m opening up about my personal skin struggles.
In this article, you’ll learn:
- What my skin has been through
- How my acne journey has evolved
- Why I started Skin Discovery
Growing up, I had flawless skin. Although I didn’t need skin care products, I bought them because I loved trying the latest potions and lotions. This led me to trying everything from Proactiv to making my own skin care products, simply for the fun of it. Ten years later, I realized this was the calm before the storm.
MY SENSITIVE LIPS
It all started in the winter months when my lips would crack and bleed. In effort to move away from Vaseline and Blistex, I started creating my own lip balms.
Over time, I developed irritant contact dermatitis, a type of eczema from overusing lip balm! I later discovered that my skin became sensitive to beeswax, not the essential oils that I originally suspected was the cause. As annoying as this was, eczema was the least of my lip problems.
After university, I lived downtown Toronto working 10 hour days for $28,000/year carrying a lot of student debt. I was running a busy office with no experience, doing everything from managing executive calendars to sitting at reception on my “lunch break”. To say I was stressed was an understatement.
One morning I noticed that my lips were so red, inflamed and tight like I’ve never experienced before. I had trouble talking and eating throughout the work day.
That night, my lips had completely peeled off. The same thing happened every day for the next two weeks. I was so embarrassed, I took sick days and vacation time so that I didn’t have to show my face in the office.
After seeing a dermatologist, I discovered I had a rare reactive condition called exfoliative cheilitis where my lips would become extremely red and inflamed while the delicate skin on my lips would peel aggressively. He informed me that stress was the likely cause of my lip condition. He gave me a note so that I could take a bit more time off work and urged me to not to lick my lips or use lip balm.
Luckily, I knew that calendula is a powerful healer so I created a simple ointment using shea butter and calendula oil. I avoided licking my lips and drank over 2L of water a day. This remedy soothed my lips enough to allow them to heal in just one week. This was my first time experiencing a skin issue of this severity.
Little did I know, it would not be my last...
MY ACNE JOURNEY
In my early 20s, I started getting intense migraine headaches that forced me to quit the birth control pill. In less than 8 months, my skin completely changed.
I started noticing breakouts in random areas on my face. The texture of my skin was different, it felt uneven and bumpy. My skin was oily for the first time in my life and yet I hadn’t changed any of the products I was using. I was confused, frustrated and embarrassed of my complexion.
Thankfully, I had just graduated as a certified Skin Therapist so I knew what to use topically to manage my breakouts - but that’s all I was doing - managing.
Being well versed in skin care ingredients, I quickly learned what products to avoid to prevent acne cosmetica. Even after I switched to acne-safe products however, I was still experiencing breakouts on most areas of my face.
Since topical treatments weren’t getting to the root cause of my acne, I started documenting my diet and areas on my face where breakouts would appear in effort to spot a pattern.
I noticed that my skin would flare if I ate dairy. And if I ate dairy and sugar in the same meal, I’d notice cystic acne on my chin and jawline. If that wasn’t enough, I discovered that wine paired with high-glycemic foods like pasta would cause fungal acne to develop on the back of my neck. The itch was so frustrating that I decided to get a food sensitivity test.
I discovered that my body was highly sensitive to all forms of dairy, egg whites, yeast and peas (of all things)!
Avoiding these trigger foods and following an anti-inflammatory diet improved my complexion considerably. However, I later discovered that stress was another important trigger for my acne. I started practicing yoga regularly, I tried meditation, listening to podcasts and focusing on sleep quality to support my skin holistically.
I’m proud to say that I’ve come a long way in my acne journey in the past five years. I’ve learned a great deal about what triggers, worsens and heals acne. Although I still have a breakout or two on most days, I’m okay with it. Perfect skin isn’t a realistic goal and that isn’t the message I want to portray. I’ve accepted that my journey is not over and I’m okay with that too.
Acne has taught me the emotional and physical burden that my clients go through, and for that I am very grateful. Experiencing various types of acne also enabled me to properly test professional products that allowed me to create my clear skin product collection.
MY SENSITIVE BODY
I guess lip eczema, exfoliative cheilitis, persistent acne and fungal acne weren’t teaching me an important lesson that I needed to learn…
After a year of chronic stress from a career in the wrong direction, a relationship that wasn’t right for me and a lifestyle I couldn’t uphold, my body was trying to tell me something.
One afternoon while I was changing, I noticed an abnormal red spot on my back. Unbeknownst to me, it was the “herald’s patch” that proceeds pityriasis rosea, an agressive full body rash.
Two weeks off work, 10 days of prednisone and several conversations with friends and family later taught me that I needed to slow down and reset. I needed to make some big changes in my life and find what truly makes me happy.
My biggest skin discovery is this: our skin is a reflection of our internal health, a mirror showing signs that one should never ignore. This is why a one-size-fits-all approach to skin care is ineffective. Our skin is unique and our skin care should be too.
If I hadn’t gone through these devastating experiences with my skin, I wouldn’t be here doing what I love every day. My struggles have led me on this path to help people overcome what I did in less time. My clients would tell you that I not only help them achieve their goals but I also support them emotionally because I’ve been there, and I feel deeply for them.
If my story resonates with you, know that you don’t have to go through this alone. You have the power to heal your body, your mind and your skin with professional help.
Book a Ritual Review to get started on your path to healthy skin.