This was my face about a month or two ago.
In other words, this was my skin after I naturally worked through my dermatitis, started making my own nourishing skincare products, discovered the secrets to healing my skin, and had been writing about it for ILLUUM for nearly a year.
Here's what happened:
Too many skincare products
At this point, I had just started a job as a beauty editor for The Zoe Report and was getting free products delivered to my doorstep daily. Naturally, I wanted to try them all — even though I know my skin is sensitive and asks for very few, minimal, natural products. This flare up was basically my skin begging me to stop it with the chemicals, preservatives, excessive ingredients, and 10-step skincare routines.
This past year has been ROUGH on my poor hormones. From stopping the Pill, getting an IUD, getting the IUD removed, taking Plan B, and some more fun hormone-deregulating stuff, I was completely out of whack. The areas where I broke out — along the jawline, cheeks, and chin — are classic signs of hormonal imbalances.
I've seen the biggest improvements in my skin when I'm eating a clean, anti-candida diet: no sugar, dairy, or gluten. But when my husband bought a deep fryer, my life turned into wings and mozzarella sticks and fries 24/7. Those indulgences made it easy to make unhealthy choices the rest of the time, too — I got into a bad fast food habit and was ordering pizza at least once a week. My skin showed it.
This flare up started after I made some major life changes: Getting married, quitting my 9-to-5, moving to the middle of the desert, and starting a high-pressure freelance gig. Stress affects cortisol levels, which affects oil production, which equals pimples.
I blame it on the pizza — I completely lost the will to exercise. Moving the body is SO good for the skin. It drains the lymphatic system (which is the body's natural detox method) to usher toxins out, and sweat is a natural method of detox in and of itself. Sweating opens the pores, flushes them out with antibacterial sweat, and boosts circulation and oxygenation.
I felt "too busy" to take time for myself. Meditation was the first thing that I cut out of my routine, and this had a huge impact on my skin. Even just the deep breathing aspect of meditation has been shown to oxygenate skin cells and help clear breakouts — without it, I wasn't moving the energy in my body, which manifested as angry, red pimples.
Low self-worth and depression.
I knew exactly why my skin was breaking out and what to do about it — I just wasn't doing it. Why? Because I was in a bit of a pit of depression, and my self-worth was at an almost all-time low. When we don't feel worthy, we don't put the time and effort into doing the things we know will make us feel better. Working on my self-worth and self-confidence has been the biggest battle in my skincare journey, and I don't know if it's one that's ever really done. But I know that when I love myself, I love on my skin — and I'm just happier all around.
Here’s what I’m doing now:
Working on self-love. Cleaning up my diet: Drinking delicious celery juice and bone broth and hot water with lemon every morning and focusing on nutritious veggies. Meditating every morning. Seed syncing for natural hormone regulation. Carving out time for "me" stuff, like bubble baths and reading books. Cycling every day and doing yoga. Facial massage. Keeping my skincare products to the bare minimum — just my rose water cleanser, tea tree toner, and a homemade oil or two.
All of this is to say:
Shit happens. Skincare is not always easy, especially when you're sensitive (in all the ways). You can heal your skin. You just might need to heal yourself first.