Putting My Best Face Forward
You know how there always seems to be something that you would like to change about yourself or situation?
Don’t try to deny it. It seems like the majority of women I know (myself included) are constantly trying to make themselves, their families, their homes, their finances or their attitudes healthier, happier or more functional. I bet that any one of you reading this right now has AT LEAST one self-help or self-improvement book, magazine subscription, or board dedicated to somehow bettering yourself on Pinterest! Often times we focus on these things negatively and wallow in them in an unhealthy way, but other times the things that bother you about yourself can challenge you to change them.
If it’s a self esteem issue, you can pray about it and focus on saying positive things about yourself to build up your confidence. If it’s your home, you can follow a blog or two on how to organize it better. If it’s your finances, you can read a book and start getting out of debt. If you are unhealthy, you can walk around your neighborhood and put down the cookies.
Like you, I’ve gone through the all-too-common seasons of not liking parts of my figure and body type (the size of my feet and the width of my shoulders to name ONLY two) and for the most part, I can honestly say that I am grateful for the health and the body that God has given me. This genuine acceptance of who I am and what I look like finally emerged after YEARS of prayer and personal emotional growth. However, there has been one on-going issue that I am still seeking physical, emotional, and spiritual healing from.
If you personally know me you may be thinking, “Are you kidding me?!”
Many times when I am sitting face to face with someone and I confess my sincere concerns and complaints with my complexion, I get looked at like I’m joking. Two main reasons exist for the surprised looks from friends when I complain about acne. The first being my skin may not look super terrible to them right then, because I wear quite a bit of make-up to cover it all. The second reason makes me cringe to share right now but I feel like I should be honest. When my skin is breaking out REALLY bad, my friends don’t ever see me…meaning that I don’t make plans when my skin is flaring up because I’m embarrassed. I’ve actually cancelled plans because of my skin. I know that sounds super lame but I feel like a leper sometimes. I mean, come on. I’m 27. I’m a married woman and my skin looks like I’m a prepubescent boy.
My skin is particularly tricky since I have eczema, dry skin, and acne. Usually acne exists on faces that are oily, but mine is constantly peeling and flaking and itchy and…well, dry. Many over-the-counter (OTC) acne washes are meant to dry out your pimples and maybe that works on oily skin. They tend to dry my face out so much that sections of my face literally fall off. I would continue using the washes even if it meant my skin would flake from all the drying IF they actually worked on the zits! I honestly would be surprised if there was a face wash product at Target that I haven’t tried. I’ve tried Pro-Activ a couple of times, and experienced similar results. I’ve tried prescription topical ointments (again, really drying and ineffective) and even oral medications including birth control and Accutane. The birth control helped alleviate some acne, but my complexion wasn’t ever completely clear for more than one week at a time. Accutane cleared it up completely for about six months, then it showed up yet again. I’ve changed my diet and hygiene habits and still have seen no substantial decrease in acne.
After YEARS of trying to treat this nasty situation, I decided to go to the doctor and get some medical tests done to see WHY I have adult acne.
I was curious to find out if I had an allergy to some common food that I could simply cut out of my diet and see immediate results. It turns out that I have absolutely no food allergies that would be the culprit for these pimples, which I was kind of bummed to find out. However, I do have a slight zinc deficiency which is a minor contributor to the situation. The major reason for why I have acne? High levels of free-floating testosterone.
This was the image that IMMEDIATELY popped into my head:
Women with higher levels of this hormone tend to experience more zits than women who have normal levels of testosterone. My levels weren’t off the charts but we’re high enough to cause acne, and the doctor explained that I shouldn’t worry or be self-conscious about it. Apparently many women walk around with acne their whole lives and have higher levels of this hormone but don’t ever know since the majority of them don’t ever get their blood drawn to find out.
Upon discovering the reason for this condition, we discussed treatment options. My doctor said that the most effective way to treat my acne would be to start taking birth control with higher levels of estrogen and progesterone. Well, I didn’t want to get back on the pill since I came off it over a year ago and my body is still trying to figure itself out. The second option would be to start another round of Accutane, but since I’m of child-bearing age I didn’t want to be on that medication again should I become (accidentally) pregnant. The best option for me in this stage of my life would be topical medications. I didn’t request a prescription for one that day since I wanted to look into more natural options.
So, here I am trying to treat my acne naturally. I’ve spent hours upon hours researching recipes for acne washes using ingredients that I have in my pantry. As I have mentioned before, I’m a bit of a hippie when it comes to my lifestyle. My belief is that if it’s not something I would feel right about eating, I shouldn’t put it on my skin. I mean, your skin absorbs what you put on it into your blood stream, almost to the magnitude that eating does! Some of this may be a bit extreme sounding to you. But to each her own.
I am bound and determined to effectively treat this condition without extreme measures. I may fail, but it’s worth a shot. I feel like I have nothing left to lose since I’ve tried treating these pimples every other way.
If you are a woman who suffers with acne or you just want to give natural hygiene a try, be sure to check back on anchorwife.com to see if I have any recommendations!