Hello everyone, hope you are all staying safe and well.
This week I thought I'd share with you part of my own health and wellness journey, in relation to my skin ! This is something I've (what seems like forever) been working on and trying to fix. My skin still isn't perfect, but at the moment especially with less stress from uni it is looking quite good.
I believe I started struggling with acne around the age of 15. At this stage it was probably just 'usual' hormonal acne, in relation to the fluctuations of hormones we have during puberty. I was a fairly healthy teen, ate well, exercised every day and took good care of my skin externally, so it likely wasn't due to any lifestyle factors.
However, 15 year old me didn't want to put up with acne - so I visited my GP and was prescribed a long term antibiotic to 'treat' the acne. Please note, I'm not taking a swing at GPs here, this is the first line of action they are taught to prescribe. Obviously (though completely unknown to me at this time), these long term antibiotics wreaked absolute havoc on my digestive system, there are also a lot of other potential side effects that these things can cause that are just not discussed, but you can take a little look for yourself if you want to know more. The acne cleared, but as soon as I went off the antibiotics, it started to return, and it was even worse than before. I wasn't educated about even taking probiotics to supplement the loss I experienced back then, so you can imagine how my overall health was looking after this. I also had countless urinary tract infections, and then took more antibiotics (with no probiotics) to treat. My digestion and absorption was so bad that I had to get an iron infusion in year 12, because I was severely anaemic.
So when I finished my antibiotics I went back to my GP, and was then prescribed an oral contraceptive - just for my acne. Again it cleared up. I stayed on the same pill for the next three years, and the whole time my skin was perfect. BUT, I was experiencing migraines almost every week to every second week, my periods were unbearably painful, I felt depressed, anxious and stressed. Back then I didn't know a whole lot about pharmaceuticals, and thought I was just having 'bad periods' (even though I wasn't having a real period..?!) It took me until I was 18, out of school and working in a pharmacy (probably reading all the side effects when handing out meds..) that I realised my symptoms were all due to the pill I was taking. So I stopped taking the OCP.
It's been 4 years since then, and my skin has only just really started to look good again now. I don't think I really realised how bad of a state my gut health was in for some time, but I was constantly bloated, in pain, constipated, and feeling like I couldn't digest any real food. I guess I thought I had already fixed my gut health with one round of probiotics when I started seeing a naturopath. I think there can also be a lot of 'rebound' effect when it comes to the pill - whatever it was masking will come back and it will likely be worse than it was to start.
While studying to become a naturopath myself, I have focused on gut health as part of my usual diet, as well as balancing my hormones through botanical medicine. These two things combined, as well as general good diet and lifestyle practices are what has helped me the most. In my opinion, achieving clear skin for some may just be a life long task - as in once you get there, it's not like you can just go back to what you were doing before. You must maintain the new practices, lifestyle, dietary choices etc. in order to see continued results. I still see noticeable differences, as I mentioned at the beginning of this post; when I'm at uni a few days a week and feel the stress of getting on public transport, at 6 am, making it to class in time, assessments, exams etc.
So - what am I doing at the moment for my skin ? I use my diet to promote a healthy digestive system (if you want to read more head to this post), and when I need to balance out my hormones with a botanical mix. I'm also working on my daily skin care routine. Recently I've implemented jade rolling as part of this. Trialling different serums and creams for anti ageing effects (prevention is better than cure !), and making sure nothing I put on externally will cause me breakouts.
I hope you enjoyed this post, and if you had a similar experience or would like to share your own skin journey - please leave a comment below. You can also always send through a dm on instagram if theres anything you'd rather not share publicly. Stay safe lovely people.