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Hormonal acne was a product of my perfectionist mindset. No joke. I put so much pressure on myself to be perfect that my body literally had an intense physical reaction.
My health declines…
It all began the second semester of my freshman year of college. I was taking chemistry classes & was going through some rough friendship patches. What you should understand is that:
1. I am really bad at chemistry & knew I wasn’t on the right career path.
2. I was used to getting easy As in high school, so when I struggle to pass the exams I didn’t know how to handle myself.
3. I went to a small high school where it wasn’t difficult to have friends at all times. Plus, I had three sisters who are around my age if all else failed.
It was a lot for my body to handle. I began feeling anxious while driving and while in class. I held all of my emotions inside, causing me to have panic attacks.
*Little warning for ya: I’m going to be sharing before & after photos of my hormonal acne. They’re pretty graphic.
Hormonal acne like I’ve never seen before
Then, in the fall of my sophomore year, I began to experience hormonal acne. It started with just a few pimples on my jawline. At first I thought they would go away; I had struggled with acne in the past. When these didn’t go away, I realized something different was happening.
As the weeks of the semester went on, my anxiety skyrocketed and my acne began to worsen. I would be sitting in chemistry class and get this uncomfortable feeling that I needed to leave the room immediately for seemingly no reason. I didn’t know what was going on in body, which made me more anxious. The increased anxiety brought on more acne, and the cycle continued.
Perfectionism makes hormonal acne worse
My perfectionism blinded me from the truth. I refused to recognize that I needed to get help. I could handle this on my own.
The turning point was Thanksgiving of that year. I remember my mom watching me cover up my acne with thick makeup. It was her that pushed me to get help.
“Noël, it’s getting really bad. We need to do something about it.”
I was in denial before she confronted me. I thought that if I could just not think about my acne and how bad it was getting that it would go away on its own. After that, her comment helped propel me to face reality.
Facing reality & getting help
Below are photos of my acne in December of 2017 while we were on vacation in the Holy Land. I remember doing makeup in the mornings with my sister and wanting to cry because my skin was so uneven no matter how much makeup I applied. Although it didn’t hurt physically, it was mentally scarring.
I’ve never shared these photos publicly before, so yes it is a little scary! Keep scrolling to see my face after I got help.
I decided to get help, however I didn’t know where to start. I had tried every face wash and spot cream on the market. Then, I stayed up late every night crying because I didn’t think it would ever get better, spiraling into a pit of depression and despair.
Although Accutane seemed to be the only answer, I considered it my last resort. I had heard how nasty the side effects of the drug were. Dermatologists told me Accutane was the only option. I never went on it. I was determined to clear my acne in a healthier way.
Here are the five things I did to clear my hormonal acne.
This was a GAME CHANGER. Purchasing a hormone test kit was my first step on the path of healing my acne. If you have acne on your jawline or neck, please test your hormones. It is a little pricey but is so worth it. I know that if I didn’t get my hormones tested, I would have spent the same amount of money on face washes and spot creams anyway.
One day, I was scrolling through Instagram, looking at hormonal acne before & after pictures. I stumbled upon a girl who had used Spironolactone for her acne and it worked after about 90 days. I decided to mention it to my dermatologist. After using it for 90 days, voila! My acne was nearly gone. Talk to your doc about this one in place of Accutane! It was a lot easier on my body than Accutane would have been. Plus, you don’t have to do blood work every month.
If you have oily or acne-prone skin or acne scars, this is for you! The Glyolic Acid Face Wash Exfoliating Cleanser has tea tree, peppermint, lavender, shea butter, seaweed, willow bark & bamboo inside for a skin-quenching cleanse.
I just discovered this cleanser a few months ago but wow is it a game changer for acne scars. I use it every morning and night and have noticed a significant fading of scars. There’s no need for expensive skincare products when this product is on the market!
I went to three different counselors throughout college. It was so therapeutic to talk to someone about the things I was going through and to be able to process my emotions properly. I’d highly recommend visiting a licensed counselor if you’re struggling with any sort of mental health issue, be it perfectionism, anxiety, PTSD or depression. Also THERE IS NO SHAME IN COUNSELING. I have several friends who go to counseling too and we all love it. If you’re scared to go, don’t be. It can only do you good.
5. Taking a chill pill
This is easier said than done for the perfectionist. Each morning, I try to do meditative prayer which I’ve found very helpful in maintaining my health. I also had to train myself to stop whenever I was getting stressed and take three deep breaths. This helped me return to my inner peace. Writing, running, cooking, shopping and visiting with a friend also help me to relax.
Y’ALL can you believe that transformation?! I look back on pictures and can’t believe how far my skin has come.
The biggest takeaway from this terrible experience: Perfectionism does way more harm than good.
In conclusion, perfectionism leads to anxiety and stress, which leads to an imbalanced body. Even doctors know this as there are so many health conditions that could be prevented if stress was managed.
What skin tips do you have? Comment below – I’d love to know!