If you’ve been reading this blog for some time, you know about how much I’ve struggled with breakouts over the years. You wouldn’t notice it in photos, because I usually wear my hair down, but I had terrible cystic acne for years on the sides of my face. (Look closely in the photo above, you can see the scarring!) Certain things helped a lot to clear it and keep breakouts mostly at bay, but it seemed like nothing I tried would actually cure it. The thing was, I didn’t struggle with bad acne in my teenage years.
When it got really bad was in my early twenties. I had a feeling it must have been hormonal–because it seemed like such a strange spot to break out–targeted in a very specific area on the sides of my face–and literally, NOWHERE else. But I couldn’t really find any clear information on hormonal acne anywhere, and I found that western medicine in general pretty much rejects the idea that something like hormonal imbalances, or what you eat or drink can affect something like your skin or how you feel.
So, I kept trying to find solutions, piling on the makeup, and refused to wear my hair up for several years in order to hide the breakouts on my face. (It worked. You probably didn’t notice, did you?)
As I moved into my later twenties, I’ve had a few friends who had gone off the pill in lieu of other non-hormonal methods. (Which I will not get into here.) The idea that it’s probably not good to be pumping artificial hormones into your body began to make its way around my circle of friends, and the thought also intrigued me.
Then, in January, honestly–by accident–I missed too many days of taking the pill, and that served as a catalyst to just stop taking it all together.
Guess what happened?
All my acne disappeared.
It was so instant it was scary. Within days, honestly, my breakouts were totally gone.
I wondered if it was just because I was on vacation, because the sun can do wonders for clearing your skin. But sure enough, even when I returned home, I went MONTHS without seeing a breakout.
This was further proof that I never wanted to put fake hormones in my body ever again. (I decided to get the copper IUD, by the way, which does not contain hormones. If you want me to do a separate post on that, I’m happy to, but figured this wasn’t a topic I needed to go right into unprompted, haha!)
Going through all of this really made me stop and realize that we really don’t pay enough attention to what we’re putting in our bodies. I realized that my early adult breakouts were probably also triggered by going on the pill when I was in college. No wonder I didn’t have skin problems before that! It all made sense. It was an alarming revelation, really.
So, over the past couple of months (that I spent debating whether or not to write a post on something so personal) I’ve begun paying a lot more attention to the products I’m using and what I’m eating and how it affects my overall health.
I honestly used to roll my eyes at a lot of this stuff–I figured that anything a doctor prescribed me was good for me, that “toxic” ingredients in skincare products were a bunch of rubbish, and that there is no way eating more grapes or extra kale or taking vitamins was going to make your skin prettier. Now, because of this experience, I’m looking at it through a whole new lens. If my birth control was wreaking havoc on my skin (birth control acne, if you will)–what other damage am I unknowingly doing to myself?
Let’s be honest, I’m not ever going to be a crunchy granola type of girl. I know myself, and I love makeup too much to give up everything that *might* be considered toxic. I know I’d probably be healthier by eliminating things like gluten and dairy, but I love eating pizza and french fries too much to drop them all together. What I am going to try to do though, is to simply be more aware of the choices I’m making, make healthier swaps when possible, and strive to achieve a better, healthier balance. (I recently finished a book called The French Beauty Solution and it has been the driving force of a lot of my motivation! I can’t recommend it enough!)
I’ve debated a lot about whether to write about this topic publicly, obviously because it’s a pretty personal one (not to mention one that can be highly controversial!) but ultimately, I thought it was really important to share, in the hopes that it can help anyone else who might be going through the same situation! With that being said, everyone’s body is different and reacts differently! This is simply what I’ve experienced personally.
On that note, I’d love to hear your thoughts on everything mentioned above. Do you have any “safe” beauty favorites? Do you pay a lot of attention to this stuff, too? I’m new at this, so any wisdom you can share would be awesome!