WHAT I DID WRONG -my skin story-
I didn’t really have troubled skin as a teen, it wasn’t until my twenties that I encountered the beast that is acne for the first time. Sure, I was accustomed to the odd breakout here and there but it wasn’t until my face erupted into an acne rosacea and acne agminata super hybrid that I really knew what skin issues were all about.
I was a qualified Naturopath at the time so I thought I was doing all the right things, most of the time. Now that I know what I know, I realise that I was doing all the wrong things.
1. My diet was overloaded with grains
Breakfast for me was uber sweet granola with yogurt (hello sugar and dairy- the two biggest dietary acne triggers), snacks were rice crackers (hello nutritionally devoid carbs) lunch often incorporated some brown rice (more grains) and at least once or twice a week I was having spelt pasta for dinner. GRAIN CITY!
Back then, I didn’t understand the impact grains could be having on my health and my skin, I was eating what I thought to be a pretty healthy, whole food “naturopathic” diet, unaware of what it was doing to my blood sugar.
Insulin spiking through high carbohydrate consumption was activating the sebaceous glands in my skin to produce more of the sticky, oily fluid known as sebum. The very thing that the propionibacterium acnes bacteria feeds on! Hello inflamed, infected skin :/
2. I was consuming concentrated dairy
When I was after a quick snack I could have at my desk at work, my go-to was a whey protein shake with soy milk. Red flag times two.
Whey protein is concentrated in Igf-1, the nasty growth factor that contributes greatly to acne by stimulating skin cell turnover, leading to congestion. And soy, notorious for messing with oestrogen metabolism, was a poor choice for this oestrogen dominant gal. Not an ideal combo!
3. I was using the wrong makeup and skincare
I thought that because the makeup I was using was “natural” it couldn’t possibly be aggravating my acne. Turns out, it was full of the highly occlusive mineral bi-product bismuth oxychloride, disguised as a “mineral” that we assume is a natural and harmless ingredient to put on our skin, it clogs pores and can lead to inflammatory skin issues in some people (such as me!)
The same went for the natural skincare I was using. It had some great nourishing properties like roseship oil and shea butter but those rich oils were way too congestive for my acneic skin.
4. I was in my 20’s and having fun
I was a qualified Naturopath when I had acne, so health was always important to me but as it goes for most 20 something year olds, my priority at that time in my life was having fun with my mates. As much as it pained me to layer on the makeup to hide behind as I got ready for a night out, I didn’t really grasp the concept of how my weekend lifestyle was affecting my skin.
Not getting to bed until the birds were chirping, binge drinking and making poor “weekend diet”choices was all taking it’s toll on my skin (not to mention my health!)
5. I tried to treat myself
As any health practitioner will tell you, trying to treat yourself is overwhelming and it can be difficult to be subjective, even with all the knowledge in the world.
Trial and error with natural medicines, skincare and makeup was exhausting (but great research in hindsight!) I needed some subjectiveness from other health professionals and I needed to understand much more profoundly, the causes and triggers for my acne.
I sought out the advice from an array of different professionals- doctor, dermatologist, naturopath, beautician. Not seeing any significant results, I realised there was a big gaping hole in the health industry for practitioners treating acne from the inside out and resolving it successfully and naturally without harsh medications or skincare ingredients. And so began my research project using myself as the guinea pig and I’ve now been acne-free for 6 years.
Acne can be a self-esteem destroyer. If then-me knew what now-me knows, I’m not so sure I’d be where I am today. My experience with acne has shaped the way I approach and treat my clients and directed me towards my passion. And for that I am grateful.
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I’m Brooke Venables, I’m a naturopath, acne specialist and an ex-acne sufferer. I’ve been there, I know what you’re going through.