Growing up, I was one of those lucky teenagers who had the occasional breakout, but never suffered from acne. My complexion was mostly uniform, smooth, untextured, and I breezed through high school thinking that I had just been blessed with great skin.
I remember someone mentioning a correlation between the pill and acne reduction, but as I didn’t have acne when I got on the pill at 15 for my endometriosis, I didn’t pay much attention to it. I would have been on hormonal birth control for the following 11 years before deciding to give a break to my body. By then, I was on a healthy vegan diet, was practicing yoga regularly, and the thought of inhibiting my natural cycles didn’t make sense to me anymore.
Little I know getting off the pill would have embarked me on the emotional rollercoaster of acne insecurity with a 10 years delay.
It took over one year for my period to start again after I went off the pill, and the moment it came back, my skin started breaking out. At the beginning it was a few zits on my forehead and chin, but they slowly took over my whole face. I started wearing make up every day to conceal them. At the end of 2019, I packed up all my life in London and moved to North Macedonia and by then, I would have cysts so big that foundation was not enough to cover them up and some deep, dark scars on my cheeks.
And with the breakouts, came the unsolicited advice. Try this product. Eat less carbs. Eat more carbs, but less protein. Eat some fish. Change face lotion. Wash your face more often. Wash your pillowcases more often. Use essential oils. Drink more water. Change your face soap.
I didn’t understand what I was doing wrong. I had been off gluten, dairy and refined sugars for a few years; I wasn’t drinking alcohol; my diet was extremely balanced and my physical activity quite regular. I was trying it all with no results, and my self-esteem was plummeting. My flawless skin was my hallmark and there were days where I was struggling recognising myself in the mirror.
In short, I had lost my flawless skin privilege and was faced with the same insecurities most people go through since their teenage years.
Realising how acne was impacting my self-esteem offered me the opportunity to rethink my relationship with my body and reflect upon the concept of acceptance. It was easy to accept my 14-year-old self, her smooth complexion and her active attitude. It was much harder to love a 26-year-old with acne scars and a newly discovered health condition that prevented her from doing sports. But I decided to love her anyway. To accept my frustration. To be careful with the adjectives I was using to describe my physical appearance. I committed to keep eating healthy and keep cleaning up my skin daily. I put even more effort into researching natural beauty products that could protect my face from pollution and bacteria while respecting its sensitivity. And the moment I let go of all expectations, little by little, I started seeing my skin reacting to the love I was giving her.
And that’s when I bumped into Luxe’s blemish prone skin range. So many products claim to have a secret ingredient that will change your skin for good, but I liked how Luxe was not promising unrealistic results but was focusing instead on raising awareness about natural beauty, and I decided to give it a try.
One week into my Rainforest Revival Discovery Kit I realised Luxe’s products were really different. My blemishes were significantly reduced, and so were my acne scars. My skin was finally rediscovering its smooth complexion, and I wanted to cry for the relief. It wasn’t because my skin was looking better: it was because my skin was looking healthy.
The Kigelia Corrective Serum has been a life changer. Light and delicate, it hydrates my skin without overloading it and has become a great substitute to my morning lotion. The Marula Hydrating Pre-Cleanser is perfect to remove any trace of make-up, and its oily texture is the perfect nourishing booster for my very dry skin. The Camu Cleanser and Mist are great for a deep, yet delicate facial clean and I can see how the mist will be a lifesaver on those boiling summer days. As my skin seems to be happy with the serum only, I have been using the Kigelia Corrective Moisturizer at night as a leave-in mask and I wake up with the softest, brightest skin.
Looking back at my pictures from last year, I can see how my acne wasn’t as severe as I perceived it. In the meantime, I have connected with many acne-positivity influencers and realised how acne is a common problem -a problem that I was able to bounce off because of my hormonal birth control.
To this day, my skin is still far from flawless. I have some sporadic blemishes and I rarely see the flawless complexion of my early 20s. But what my journey with acne has taught me is that a healthy skin isn’t necessary always unblemished. Stress comes, and hormonal issues come, and food intolerances come. What really matters is accepting your skin’s journey and find some good allies to embrace its ups and downs.
I had a hard time adjusting to the second lockdown and my skin has been breaking out pretty bad in January. But the natural beauty routine I put in place with Luxe Botanics’s products made the new flare ups more manageable, both physically and mentally.