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January 28, 2021
Kara - Acne Positivity
Hello! I am Kara, I have a huge heart, and I love music, cooking, food, walking and lots more things! (Oh and I have adult acne).
For so long, I felt defined by acne. I’ve had it for five years on and off, and for the first two years, I was ashamed of myself.
1 in 4 people will experience adult acne. Repeat that. “1 in 4 people will experience adult acne!”
I am not alone. You are not alone.
But until I knew this, I did feel alone. I bet most of us do or have? Because from a young age, we are conditioned to believe that our looks and self-image define our worth, beauty, success and confidence.
But in recent years, I’ve discovered that I am SO much more than my skin. And you are too!
If you’re reading this and also have acne and feel the exact way I used to, I hope you leave this page with a different opinion and feel positive and beautiful just like you are and deserve!
My acne started when I came off the contraceptive pill at age 19. I was put on this pill for ‘heavy periods’ when I was 14 and suffered migraines, weight gain, mood swings and much more in between but my doctor always told me it was my ‘teenage hormones’ and not the pill causing these issues. So I stayed on it.
When I finally broke free of taking 21 little pills and seven sugar pills per month, I realised that it was, in fact, the pill causing ALL of my problems. But stopping the pill drove a bigger one I had never experienced before. Acne.
I started to break out on my back at first, and then a few months later, it spread to my chest and face. During this time it was a super hot summer here in the UK, and I was wearing winter clothes to cover my body acne and heavy makeup (which, might I add, I reapplied if it sweated off) during the day and I was really miserable, and I felt chained to my acne. It was so stressful to ‘upkeep’ this flawless facade, and ultimately I felt like an imposter in my own skin.
After trial and error, many months/years, taking lots of medications, trying different skincare products, I realised that my acne was a much larger symptom than just ‘my skin’. It had many root causes stemming from IBS, hormones, diet, bad blood circulation, toxins and stress.
The things that have helped me most would be lifestyle and diet changes. Looking after the inside for me has really shown on the outside. Many experienced naturopathic doctors, acne nutritionist or Chinese herbalists can help if you’re looking for a natural journey.
But also from my behalf, a lot of research and patience.
When it comes to skincare, I feel like I did the typical panic thing of ‘try this’ ‘oh and this’ and ‘TRY EVERYTHING!’ Everything that stated ‘Clear skin’ in the label I wanted to try in the hope it would help.
But this was a huge mistake I made and also trying too many products at once! Choosing the wrong products and being inconsistent can lead to irritated skin, compromised skin barrier and ultimately more acne.
Skincare requires time for it to work correctly, for our skin to adjust and also our skin needs to go through the natural cycles of shedding old and dead skin cells before real results are seen. Patience and consistency are required.
My biggest tip would be to look for non-comedogenic ingredients. Things that won’t clog the pores and further create breakouts or irritation. There are plenty of ingredient checker websites out there that really helped me search for the correct products.
I also found stripping my routine back to basics helped too! This way, I could pinpoint exactly what was and wasn’t working for me whilst giving my skin a break.
I started off with a simple and gentle cleanser, moisturiser, SPF and face mask. After that, I re-introduced acne treatments and actives slowly, once at a time to see which ones were helping and which ones weren’t.
When looking for skincare, I also opt for products now that are natural and kind to the skin. I also look for brands that share this same ethic, like Kate McIver. Their products are vegan, clean and natural with real user reviews and result too, which I applaud over a huge skincare company with false advertisements any day.
A personal favourite of mine is the ‘Secret Weapon Serum’ which is easy to use and great for my acne and sensitive skin.
Aside from all of the things that can help acne, time is precious and finding the right things that could help you might take a long time… That is why I chose to my skin, just how it was whilst on my journey to healing. I didn’t want to continue putting my life on hold and being unhappy because of my ski
I noticed that I wasn’t kind to myself or supportive during my acne journey. I didn’t love myself, and I didn’t think I was beautiful either.
But life is too short to wake up every day hating ourselves. Not thinking we are good enough or worthy of success, compliments or love.
I was so fed up with feeling rubbish and like the quotes, always say “change has to start with you”. So I made that happen.
I started to write down all of the things that I liked about myself. The list grew every day (it wasn’t easy at first) but after a few days, I had stuff on there like: ‘Loving sister, caring daughter, can make people laugh, good at my job, good at knitting’ (yes I love to knit) and it was this that I was proud of!
My acne hasn’t taken any of that away from me. It hasn’t taken the love I have to give away. It hasn’t taken my ability to care away, I am still good at my job, and it sure hasn’t taken away my good sense of humour because I love nothing more than sticking on a comedy film or making my friends laugh.
I now journal daily, write gratitude lists, and each morning I preach positive affirmations to myself.
I realised I was in charge. Only what I allowed to hurt me could. What I think about myself has helped more than anything.
I follow a range of social media people who are a part of the #acnecommunity who daily I think are beautiful inside and out. If I think these people are beautiful then surely I should think of myself as beautiful.
Now here I am, fully confident in my skin, embracing all that is and loving everything about myself. I’m not perfect as ‘beauty standards’ claim, but what really is perfect? I feel like a huge weight has lifted off of my shoulders since opening up about my acne struggles and being present and staying true to myself.
If you are loving, caring, funny, intelligent, good at your job, creative, have a hobby, have something you are passionate about or anything else, then THAT IS BEAUTIFUL.
What we see on the outside is only 1% of who we are as a person and it’s the things inside that count the most!
Be proud of your achievements, the love you’ve given and dreams you hope to come true. Please remember that you are beautiful, inside and out, and worthy of love. Start with self-love and the rest will follow.
On behalf of the Kate McIver Skin team thank you for sharing. Follow Kara on instagram @karaoliviabeauty
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March 09, 2023