It’s happened to us all, we wake up to discover we’ve had a break out – and it’s not nice. But what if that keeps happening, day in and day out? Our face is probably the one part of our body we look at the most, it’s exposed to the rest of the world and there is simply no hiding from bad skin. I realise I am not alone – over 28% of the British population have suffered from acne at some stage during their lifetime, and 39% confessed that they didn’t/don’t know how to handle it. And 7 out 10 of those people have visible scars or visible skin conditions, with 72% of this group saying it affects their confidence (according to British Skin Foundation’s Skin Deep – 20 Years of Research).
If so many people suffer, why do we feel so alone? From a humdinger of a pimple on the nose, to more severe bouts of acne – skin issues are far more complex and go much further than skin deep. Having identified all the triggers and lifestyle choices that have left me with rather poor skin – I am determined to share my experience to help other women who are suffering, to find a healthy and positive way forwards.
So why am I talking about skin confidence? Well, its no secret I have bad skin and it used to stop me doing certain things – it’s one of the things over the past 2-years I have trying to be honest about and turn it around. It doesn’t matter how confident someone looks, we ALL have some deeply hidden insecurities. I’m being more open and honest about mine, because I am human and I think it’s important to highlight I’m not perfect or 100% confident in everything single thing that I do, or with every aspect of myself. To say otherwise would be a lie and just outright delusional. But that doesn’t stop me saying I feel 100% confident in myself overall – or 100% confident in myself to make a change or that I have 100% belief in my vision and where I want go.
What people who have never had bad skin don’t realise is that problematic skin is a vicious cycle of treatment, cleansing, clearing, repairing, covering and praying that your sightly clearer complexion will last for more than a few days.
Being a confidence coach you’re probably wondering why I’m broaching this subject (and with such passion), well it’s because I have suffered. I tell everyone I meet, I wasn’t born confident. I’ve had a difficult life and I have had difficult skin as a result. I had issues with my self-esteem and confidence and a lack of love or respect towards my skin. For years I didn’t take care of myself, my toxic surroundings, my unhealthy lifestyle and my poor diet had all accumulated beneath the skin and when it surfaced – I was presented with yet another thing to contend with. Back then, I didn’t have the knowledge or the tools I have now, so I suffered. And now, to add to it all, the damage that I caused to my skin is showing up 10-years later.
Hiding behind make-up
I used to hide beneath thick heavy foundation, anything like water sports, holidays or being caught without my ‘face-on’ would make me feel uneasy. To avoid being caught out – sometimes I just wouldn’t go out. Oh, and I used to get massive horrible coldsores triggered by stress, poor health and lack of sleep, so again, I was in this perpetual cycle of my inner chaos showing through my skin and sapping my confidence – leaving me with very little to love about myself or my life. It seemed like I was the only person that was suffering with acne, coldsores (and more recently skin pigmentation issues)… It made me not want to leave the house, apply for any jobs in fashion or on TV, or go after the guys I liked as I was sure they’d never love anyone that suffered with skin like mine.
Finding the ‘right’ skin experts
I must confess bad skin in your late thirties doesn’t get any easier – you just learn how to live with it and stay focused on your inner confidence. But having met some skin care specialists and founders of new organic beauty brands – I’ve realised that over all the years I have been punishing my skin, not nurturing it and feeding it what it needs to get better and be the healthiest, clearest version of itself. I had learnt to do this for my mind, my body and my lifestyle – but nor my skin! Basically, what I have learnt is that your skin is a reflection of what you put into your body and how you live your life.
“When you change your skin, you change your life. As a woman who used to struggle with acne, I know the confidence blowing impact poor skin can have” – Renee Lapino
The 2018 skin game-changers for me:
- Renee Lapino is a skin expert and my new Skin Guru – what I have learnt from her has been amazing, she started me on a programme of skin nutrition from the inside before even starting treatment for my pigmentation (more on that in coming soon in another blog!)
- Fresh Lifestyle, a brand on the Ethical Brand Directory has revolutionised the way skincare products are made and changed my view entirely on what I ‘feed’ my skin (more on the products I love from them coming soon in another blog!)
- Advanced organic skincare brands like Ami Iyök have shown me that I can nourish my ageing skin without chemicals and see great results (an honest update on the results I have got from 3-products from their range coming soon in another blog!)
Home remedies for bad skin
Having suffered with adult acne most of my life, I can relate to the extraordinary lengths people with bad skin will go to – and how bad skin can badly affect your confidence and your quality of life. In my twenties I had days where my skin was so bad, it would crack and bleed. I would cake on the foundation to cover to scary red inflamed skin, instead of letting it breath. I would attack my spots not thinking about the scars they’s leave behind. I applied nail polish, toothpaste, topical antibiotics from the doctors, oh yeah – if your skin was stinging after you applied some random chemical (you’d never dream of eating) – we assumed that was a sign it was working. Back then, everyone I knew with acne would use sunbeds too… so I got myself one – and I used it far too often.
Add sun damage to the list of problems to my thirty something skin has today.
Here are some less harmful home remedies for bad skin:
- Tea tree oil
- Ice (it’s great for calming the inflammation and soreness)
- Steam (hot steam is a great way to gently clean the skin)
- Cold water after a steam or the shower (filtered water is best – using a ionising shower head works well) recommended by Skin Guru Renee Lapino & the owners of Fresh Lifestyle
- Taking zinc tablets – recommended by Skin Guru Renee Lapino
- Taking a drop of chlorophyll in a glass of water in the morning and before bed – recommended by Skin Guru Renee Lapino
Focusing on skin imperfections
Whilst I am very confident in most areas of my life, I do have some hangups about my skin and I am not confident having my photos taken or doing live videos without foundation or at least a tinted moisturiser on. I am bare faced at home though and my partner sees me with makeup on all the time. But there’s a little part of me which often wonders ‘how’ can he think that my skin is OK or if he is repulsed slightly.
I look at my skin and zoom in on every imperfection – and that’s what I focus on. He simply doesn’t notice the details – in fact he is having treatment for broken thread veins in his face at the moment, but prior to a skin specialist pointing it out to him . He didn’t even realise or notice it on himself (despite spending a lot of time admiring himself in the mirror and very often I hear home saying “god I look good – you handsome beast”) – and that right there in the big difference in me and him. I used to feel like I needed perfect skin to be truly confident with the way I look – and in some ways it’s still true. But what intrigues me the most is the way men enjoy looking at themselves, flexing in the mirror and giving themselves compliments.
He’s definitely onto something – positive reinforcement, especially saying complimentary things about yourself out loud, is a proven method for stimulating confidence and creating a positive view of yourself in the world. So why do women always look for the faults in themselves and focus on what needs to be fixed? It’s most likely due to the way our brains are hardwired, we are detail oriented creatures and we are constantly bombarded by the media with air brushed women, leading the aspirational lifestyle we want – so we think having perfect body, clear skin and a perfect wardrobe is the answer. Whilst I would love to say it is – inner confidence and combination of all those things working and coming together is what makes you feel fantastic. If you only focus on the exterior components you’ll never be truly happy. If you don’t take time to focus on yourself from the inside out, you’ll find plenty of internal struggles along the way.
Confidence exercise: Take a few moments to look in the mirror right now and identify 3-things about your face that you like, if your skin is really the issue find 3-positive things to say about your skin and then say it out loud to yourself in your reflection.
My top skincare tip
Always think about what you put on your skin, anything applied to your skin is absorbed and the easiest way to think about it is ‘Skin Food’ if you can’t eat it – don’t apply it.
The skin confidence diaries
Over the next few months I am going to be sharing more details of the treatments and products I have found along the way – and show what has works and what hasn’t. I am focusing on my skin now because I have done all the work on the inside. Over the past 2.5 years I have focused on my my internal happiness, found my why and purpose, invested in my health, a healthy body and a healthy mindset, then I curated a wardrobe that reflected who I am and who I want to become, and now, well now it’s time to look at my skin. My skin confidence journey is all about that ‘extra confidence boost’ and being able to say to myself and others “I am truly confident in the skin I’m in”.