OUR SKIN: HOW I HELPED MY ACNE
Skin conditions aren't always just visible on the surface; many of us feel frustrated and deflated on the inside when experiencing a flare up, too. So, let's give a warm welcome to Our Skin Series, where members of our Tropic team who have truly been there (and got the proverbial T-shirt) talk to me about their relationship with their skin, and what has helped it stay happy and healthy over the years!
From eczema as a tiny tot to teenaged acne and scaliness in our senior years, our skin is constantly shifting and reshaping, much like our relationship with it. Where a single spot at school may warrant wild heights of humiliation, as we mature we often gain a greater understanding of our skin as a signal of what’s going on underneath, affording us a more respectful relationship with our body’s best protection.
However, it’s not always plain sailing, and some of us have no choice but to pay a little more attention to what’s going on up top. Skin conditions can work against the waves of our skin’s changing tides, creating a current of stress and frustration for those experiencing them. So, we thought we’d talk to a few members of HQ about their experiences with dermal conditions who are keen to help others in the same boat.
CALLUM MCMANUS, BRAND CONTENT WRITER
Please can you tell me a little about your skin condition?
As soon as I turned 14, it was like my body had flipped a switch and decided that my skin was going into acne overdrive – something I’m sure many of us can relate to during those awkward teen years! My skin type is oily too, which suddenly started to become very noticeable during this period, and even up until my early 20s, I was dealing with regular flare ups and blemishes.
What did you previously use on your skin to alleviate your symptoms?
I must have tried every medicated face wash under the sun as I was growing up, shout out to my mum for her valiant trips to Superdrug and Boots on the regular. There was always a bottle of tea tree oil by my bed as well, which I’d lather onto spots and scarring like it was going out of fashion (and probably a bit too excessively!)
How did your skin condition make you feel?
As a teenager, when self-confidence is so often at an all-time low anyway, I was incredibly anxious to even leave the house in the morning and spent most of my time at school feeling incredibly embarrassed. When I look back on images from that time, I’m always struck by the fact that my skin looks nowhere near as irritated as I thought it was back then, but that internal judgement of myself has still had a knock-on effect to this day. Even now, when my skin is clear, I feel those lasting psychological after-effects and the voice in my head that says “you look awful, you shouldn’t go out today, everyone will think you’re so ugly.” It takes a good stern pep talk with myself in the mirror on those days to break the cycle and see myself in a more positive light.
What products eventually worked for you?
I’d say there were two big game changers for me when it came to my acne. The first wasn’t product-related at all, because try as I might, it came to a point where there wasn’t really anything a cream or wash could do for me without medical assistance. I reached out to my doctor, who prescribed some pills which started to make all the difference within a few months.
From there, it became all about complementing the effects of my medication by really taking care of my skin. Prior to that point, I’d never had a proper skincare routine – I’d been using all of my face washes, but that was pretty much it. Moisturisers, toners and exfoliators had never even pinged on my radar before, so coming up with a solid AM and PM regime for my skin was so influential in keeping my oiliness at bay.
Since working at Tropic, there are three go-to’s I’ve discovered which have been a huge help and confidence booster. Clear Slate every morning and evening to really leave my skin feeling squeaky clean, Face Smooth three nights a week to fully exfoliate my complexion and Pure Lagoon daily before my moisturiser to keep those blemishes at bay.
If you could give one piece of advice to someone who is feeling self-conscious of their acne now, what would it be?
I know it can sometimes feel overwhelming, like acne is the only part of you that anybody will notice. In reality, most people are barely paying attention to how your skin looks, and while that shouldn’t invalidate your own concerns and anxieties, try to focus on that to alleviate them. The truth is, there are so many more incredible things you have to offer that shine through, and acne is only a small part of your life story.
Please note that all information provided in this article comes from one individual tackling their personal skin ups and downs. Any results from products used or lifestyle changes are unique to their own skin's reactions and might not work for everyone. If you are experiencing a skin condition, please speak to a doctor or dermatologist before using any product on your skin.