OUR SKIN: HOW I HELPED MY ACNE SCARRING
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, I thought I’d chat talk to a few members of Team HQ about their experiences with dermal conditions, and they were all keen to help others in the same boat. First up is the lovely Jess!
JESS BANTLEMAN, SOCIAL MEDIA & CONTENT EXECUTIVE
Please can you tell me a little about your skin condition?
I suffered with ‘problem’ skin as soon as I hit my younger teenage years. It was primarily linked to hormones and what was going on inside, which in turn took a toll on my skin from the ages of around 12-22.
What did you previously use on your skin to tackle your symptoms?
Honestly every product under the sun! As a teenager, I would spend any money I saved or got for birthdays on fancy skincare in the hopes of trying to remedy the sore, painful acne I had. I’ve always loved skincare, with my mum being a trained beauty therapist and masseuse by trade, so I’ve always known the importance of taking care of your skin, but it was frustrating to me that I loved skincare and knew a lot about it, but nothing was working.
I would never leave the house without makeup, so my skin never had a chance to breathe. Even at sleepovers, I worried about waking up around my friends, who had perfect blemish-free skin and were (the majority of the time) makeup-free, so would always be the first one up, running into the bathroom and putting foundation on.
I also tried every topical cream prescribed to me by lots of doctors, had courses of antibiotics and went on every combination pill to try and combat my skin issues. A couple of things worked for a few weeks, but the minute the treatment stopped, my skin concerns would return again.
I also have olive-toned skin that unfortunately scars quite easily, so this was another issue on top of the acne that started to get me down, worried that even if I cleared my acne, I'd be left with scarring that would be a lot harder to treat.
How did your skin condition make you feel?
I was so self-conscious and would always worry that the first thing someone noticed about me was my skin. I would always look at celebrities, or friends or even strangers and think how lucky they were to have such flawless skin, wishing that could be me because I thought I'd appreciate it even more than they ever would! I remember when my skin was really bad, it was sore and painful, and I came home from school one day after wearing a thick foundation to try and cover my spots, and my face was too sore to even try and remove my makeup.
It really got me down and knocked my confidence, and I genuinely didn’t know if I'd ever have skin that wouldn’t consume my every thought, every day!
What products eventually worked for you?
For me, my skin was primarily linked to hormonal changes from cysts on my ovaries, which were causing lots of hormone surges, so I think growing up and getting these hormones under control massively influenced my skin calming down.
But in terms of the acne, after lots of very unhelpful advice from various doctors, I decided to go on retinoids under the guidance of a dermatologist. I went on them for around 10 months, and the difference after finishing them was monumental.
Once my acne cleared, I could really focus on continuing to use good skincare to keep my skin healthy and happy. I was left with some acne scarring, but luckily most of these were on the surface as opposed to deeper, crater scars, so I was looking to help heal these with skincare, before looking at laser treatment.
Some Tropic products that really helped me were Tamanu Balm applied to my face on top of Super Greens, as well as Fruit Peel once a week (dermatologists advise waiting for the retinoids to completely pass out of your system before using any acids or exfoliating products).
When Glow Berry launched, specifically targeting pigmentation, I was so excited to try, and it soon became a staple product in my routine. Now, I barely ever think about my skin, but I’m so appreciative of happy healthy skin, more so than I would have been had I not gone through the journey I did.
If you could give one piece of advice to someone who is feeling self-conscious of their acne scarring now, what would it be?
It’s so easy to focus on everything you don’t like about your skin, because you see your face every single day. However, I think a shift in mindset of striving for healthy, happy skin, rather than flawless, perfect skin is something that really helped me on the days I didn't feel good about myself.
When it comes to products, it is a bit of trial and error to find something that works for you specifically, and when you find those products, I found that keeping to a simple routine and using products packed with lots of goodness was the most effective.
Scarring does fade over time, and while it may not ever completely go away, your mindset and the way you speak to yourself and to your body is genuinely one of the biggest things you can do to boost your confidence. And one last thing to remember is that no one notices your skin worries as much as you do!
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.