Well, Radiant Rebels, I’ve finally done what I’m always asking you lovelies to do. I’ve decided to share my before and after pictures!
Now, this has been a long time coming, as I had to go from never EVER wanting anyone to ever see (or be reminded) of how bad my skin was, to a place where I KNEW sharing my before and after would encourage others!
As it turns out, when I went to hunt down a close-up pic of my skin at it’s worst, I couldn’t find one! Which I suppose isn’t all that surprising, since I shied away from the camera at that point. Not that I’m a huge ham now (hiding behind the camera is still my preference).
So since I couldn’t find the worst of the worst, I used the worst that I had!
The before picture was actually from 2013. Yup, well after my business was underway and I knew what to do to keep my skin clear! “So what happened?” you’re probably asking. Well, this particular picture was taken after a 2 and a half week long flare-up (I have ankylosing spondylitis) that had me bedridden and sleeping 16 – 20 hours a day. The hours when I was up, I was rarely out of bed. When I was out of bed, the last thing on my mind was my skin!
So, after a couple of weeks of not doing my usual skincare routine and not keeping my gut flora balanced, this is what happened to my skin!
Before I continue, I want to stress that not everyone will have breakouts after getting their skin under control if they deviate off their acne clearing path. In fact, some of you will just need a simple, soothing skin care routine to keep your skin looking great.
On the other hand, for chronic acne sufferers like myself, keeping our skin clear requires daily actions. After a while, those actions are second nature; a simple skincare routine and whatever internal regiments address the root cause of our individual acne.
My skincare routine requires:
- a gentle cleanser that contains fruit enzymes. I use the Green Tea & Pineapple Cleanser (daily – in the morning. In the PM I use this cleanser).
- a super-powered hydrator. I use the Calendula Gel Hydrator (daily)
- a healing moisturizer. I use the Patchouli Facial Moisturizer (daily)
- a hydrating + targeted mask. I use the Acne & Oil Balancing Facial Mask (a few times a week)
The internal / root cause of my acne is based on the digestive system.
While my skin care routine keeps external triggers from flaring up my acne (learn about the difference between triggers and causes here), keeping my digestion system happy is the key to keeping my skin in a non-reactive state.
Since our digestive system is constantly adjusting to what we put in it, it took me a while to figure out what worked best for me.
Seeing a naturopath allowed me to narrow down foods that spark a lot of inflammation in my body as well as supplements to support low inflammation levels. A holistic nutritionist helped me to figure out what to eat to keep inflammation low, increase my energy levels, and support my body.
Depending on what’s going on in my life, the internal actions I take through my diet and/or emotional self-care, occasionally need some tweaks. Since I have the groundwork figured out, I’m never far off of getting things back on track.
In a nutshell (without going into a ton of specifics), my internal routine requires:
- taking a daily mix of probiotics
- drinking or eating fermented foods at least every other day
- taking zinc if my skin flares up (zinc speeds up the healing process)
- limiting dairy and processed sugar
- getting lots of antioxidants in my diet (as well as a NAC supplement)
- daily movement for inflammation reduction
Some other things I do for my health (to keep those AS flare-ups at bay) also put my body in a good state to reduce the chance of internal things bothering my skin and help increase the rate that I heal from any blemishes that pop up.
You can see from the after picture (which was approximately 2 months later), I have permanent scarring from my pre-teen / teenage acne days (my acne struggle started in grade 5), but have been able to fade a considerable amount of hyperpigmentation.
When I get a bad blemish now, I still get hyperpigmentation but it heals much faster (weeks rather than years!). Knowing it’s not going to stick around forever helps me not get stressed out about it.
The permanent scaring I mentioned is any textural damage (pitting, dips in the skin, etc) from when my acne was cystic and full blown. These scars are not something skin care, alone, can fix and would require procedures to eliminate them that I’m not comfortable with. Thankfully, they don’t bother me that much as the worse of them are mostly along my hairline just to the side of my eyes. They are easy to miss unless you’re really looking for them. I’ve come to accept them as part of my body and my journey.
There ya have it! My occasionally requested, and long overdue “before and after” reveal. I hope this encourages you to keep a documented journey of your skin’s progress, even if it’s just for yourself.
If you’re brave and would like to share your before and after pictures, I’d love to see and share them! The more success stories we can share in pictures, the more hope and encouragement we can spread to those still struggling!
And if you’re still struggling, I can help! Just head over here to get started by finding your Grounded Sage skin type (we call them “floral auras”). Then check out all the resources we have available here (including a facebook group where you can get personalized recommendations and support).
Love, light, and radiant battle scars,
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