It constantly plays on my mind that I haven’t gone anywhere without wearing a full face of makeup since I was 13. I am baffled by how ridiculous this seems and yet I cannot bring myself to reverse this process. As much as I love to wear makeup and experiment with products, I would also love the choice to do this rather than be faced with no other option. As when something is compulsory it almost always becomes slightly less enjoyable or, in this case, tinged with anguish.
My skin has always affected; my mood, my self confidence and the way in which I live my life. I am proud of none of these and strive tirelessly to combat it. However, it is so difficult to socialise and feel confident when you feel that anyone and everyone you interact with is looking at your face, specifically your spots, and judging, thinking that you’re dirty or don’t wash properly. (I imagine this is not true but when it’s on your face it’s harder to believe).
For a school assignment in year 10 we were asked to write about ourselves. My classmates wrote about their eyes or hair or other aspects of their body that they liked. I chose the self deprecating route and below is a snippet of what I wrote about my skin age 15.
“Skin. The clearness that the luckiest of people encompass, the “smooth as a baby’s bottom”, feel is unknown to myself. I am, unfortunately, not one of the opportune beings that are oblivious to the rest of the world’s need for trowels of foundation to be plastered on each morning, to hide the mountain ranges that cover their faces.“
This expresses that at a young age I was already frustrated by my skin and I vividly remember longing for clear skin, simply just to feel more confident. A longing which I still feel now.
I remember starting to wear thicker and thicker make up around age 13/14. I saw my friends skin getting clear and mine getting increasingly worse. When I plucked up the courage to ask one of my friends what products she used on her face she informed me that she had been to the doctors in order to get higher strength treatments.
Zineryt was the first medicinal treatment I was prescribed by my doctor. Zineryt was described to me as a topical solution I could apply to my face morning and night, which would clear my ‘simple teenage skin’. It came in a plastic bottle which you applied using the roll on applicator at the top of the bottle (similar to a roller ball pen). For a short period of time this treatment appeared to be working, but quickly the spots came back and continued to get worse. The only positive was that I experienced no side effects from this treatment. It was then my doctor suggested taking tetralysal. Looking back, at this point in time I can now see that my skin was not too bad, I would describe my skin as having a lot of spots and blackheads but nothing cystic. However, it proceeded to get worse.
Tetralysal (or its alternative name, to my knowledge, Tetracylcine) is a broad spectrum antibiotic used predominantly in the treatment of infections. The doctor suggested this would clear up my skin. However, it failed to do so, so after a period of time and a medication review, my doctor suggested trying erythromycin. The only positive was that I also experienced no side effects from this treatment either.
Erythromycin was the next medication I was prescribed to try! Thank goodness for the NHS!! I knew a number of people at school who were taking this for their skin, and for them it seemed to work so I was hopeful. However, after months of taking this, with no results, the only positive was that I experienced no side effects from this treatment either. So there I was, on my way to university feeling hopeless about my skin and thinking there would never be a solution.
Part 2 of the Journey coming soon- Roaccutane!