|Grey Booties: Acne (The right kind!)|
* Quick note... If you haven't read the first half, please do so... this whole thing will make a whole lot more sense if you do! (That is, if you have an interest in indulging in problematic skin topics!) First half is HERE!
So, firstly I should begin by being completely astonished at the fact that I wrote that post 3 months ago... oh time, how you sprint! Secondly, I must say how lovely your responses were... not that it's lovely to suffer, but it's always lovely to share the acne hate... love! Together!
So thank you!
I think my beautiful baby Annika whom I'm missing like a son of a ***** amount right now (HEALING VIBES BABY, HEALING POSITIVE VIBES TO YOU) hit the zit on the white head (eweeee!) when she said the best method for dealing with acne is to (and I quote!) simply "not give a crap". This is entirely true.
I've probably put a good 3 years in total of hours spent researching all things acne, and subscribing to the most intensive and consuming acne cults out there (I dont really mean cults... but I kind of do... you know what I mean!) This is all a part of the learning process I guess... but all this research and reading also feeds your acne hormones with tons of negative chemicals whizzing through your little body telling you that you do in fact have acne, and it is the most awful thing ever, and in order for you to get rid of it, you must do about 6 billion things... in the order stated!
I have a theory... it comes and goes depending on my minds state of clarity, but it's generally there these days in all it's helpfulness. My theory is, as with anything, if you spend a lot of time indulging in something, whether it be your vanity, or your hobbies or your fears, or your self loathing... this thing generally tends to become you. (seems pretty obvious, but I've certainly had to learn it the long way around!)
My dad has always been a firm believer in doing nothing... and I guess if you are a trained Buddhist monk, with endless scopes of mountains before you... and a bucket of water and a mop to clean the temple between meditation, well, this is a little more easy to do- in fact, not even then really... as this bucket and mop are totally riveting in such an instance (to me anyway!) However, when it comes to living in this mental world that is what the majority of us are in today, there is a tiny bit more stimuli about to distract us from all this "nothing"... good and bad. The internet is a prime example of the not so good when it comes to self diagnosis! It can also be great... i'm using it now, clearly... oh god, this is getting a bit to complex, bordering on existential in a few more sentences! Must stop.
So, anyway... to do nothing is just not an option... the option has to be, when it comes to acne, looking at it, picking at it, thinking about it... to do something else!
When I've been at my lowest points with my skin, i've sat there and cried, and picked at my face and looked at everyone else's perfect faces and brought on so much self loathing that has pretty much always ended in a panik attack of some kind, before I've covered myself in calamine lotion and eventually fallen asleep from all the hysteria!
It's the same with depression... for me, the only way to conquer this highly distracting affliction is to re-arrange my patterns of behavior, both mentally and physically... getting up early, going to the office, discussing things, getting outside of my head... it's all rather helpful. When you stay at home all day in bed, the nothingness just starts to eat away at you and beg you to consider all your failings! This is BAD! It never helps... no, no... and it's a slippery slope... One I shan't go into, but it very much applies to acne too.
Annika was indeed oh so correct when she said the only way she has managed to help her skin is to just not give a crap. It's actually the answer I am eventually going to get to in this new novel I appear to be writing!
(So I guess you can stop reading now!!!!)
Don't though! I have some products too to share with you that seem to be rather wonderful!!!!
It's always hard when your trying to deal with something as debilitating as a skin affliction (yes there are much, much worse things in life, undoubtedly... but this one is a real bitch, and I won't be more PC about it) because, as with anything, when your still learning and growing, you can't just take the advice of others! You have to go through the shit yourself... make sure what they are saying is in fact true... because at the time it rarely is.. especially if those who have no spots are preaching this to you in all their wisdom! Gah, those bastards with their beautiful clear skin, what could they possibly know?! Well, potentially a lot...
So, here is where I am in my life today... 25 years old, nearly 10 years of dealing with the little acne bugger! I get spots, all the time in fact... I do... I have clear weeks, and medium clear and totally gross weeks, where my skin needs a Mac paintbrush and a pot of Laura Mercier paint to look normal! The thing is... I don't care. I have learned that I get spots, that they go away... they come back, but then they go away. The more I stare at them, the more they haunt me... the more they like all the attention, the longer they stay!
Basically guys, zits/spots/acne/blemishes...whatever you call them, they LOVE attention! They love it... they suck it all up and tell their friends and their little friend join... the red ones, the yellow ones, the white ones, the black ones! They are all invited... speeding along to get in on the action and enjoy the attention fest!
You have to ignore them! Dont give them the pleasure! Or if you must, just love them for being a part of you... ugly as they are... they are actually your body trying to protect you... so it's a nice way to remember that you are alive if you want to be really sickeningly positive about it! And I do!
You can either ignore them... they will go away eventually... and return, but they will go again... or you can love them to death by just accepting them for the time being. Hating... it never works. Do it for a moment maybe, but then forgive yourself for being "imperfect" whatever that means...
It's not an easy peasy thing to do... I trust that any younger readers out there will have to go through the motions of obsessing before any of this is even possible... but it's good to know that eventually you will get totally bored of all the self obsessing, and realise that nobody actually cares... only you... and why bother?! I mean... really... it's just exhausting and ultimately damaging.
The most interesting thing you will see, is that when you are too busy to have the time to look at your face every ten minutes, you ironically wont have much to look at in the way of acne when you do get a second... your mind has been else where... thus ignoring the acne, and it upped and left!!! It's definitely one of the only cases where "Ignore it and it will go away" isn't completely incorrect, awful advice! You really have to be involved in what you are busy with though... there is no cheating when it comes to ignornig it... you cant just look busy! You have to actually be so busy you honestly havent though about it all week kind of thing!
Onto treatments that can assist in your being able to ignore/love to death your spots!
As I mentioned... I have tried EVERYTHING I have ever been able to get my hands on when it comes to products. Boots has in fact made its millions off me, i'm sure of it!!!
The one thing, apart from the pill that I have wished I never did to myself was Pro Active... it's like putting bleach onto your face! And this is sometimes what you may feel like doing... but if you think about it... even just for a second, it's clearly a bad idea! Poor face :(
But there is some really good stuff out there! More natural and pro-face/living organisms stuff! For me... that has been Aesop. A little gift from above! For men actually... but I'm thinking any one with as much testosterone as an acne sufferer can only benefit from a product aimed at men right!!!
Ive tried a lot of the products in this line... and they are ALL wonderful, wonderful, delicious treats that will leave you feeling like you ate only vegetables and water for a month kind of fresh and good about yourself!
My all time favorites are the "Amazing Face Cleanser", the "Mandarin Facial Hydrating Cream" and the "B & Tea Balancing Toner"
I'm currently out of all of them, surviving solely off my remaining jar of parsley seed face wash... (Supposedly more hydrating in these "cold winter months" that are in fact peak summer time temps for Europe!!!) It hasn't been as amazing as the Amazing Face Cleanser I must say... I mean, obviously, it's all in the name right!!!
The next thing on the check list is primary really... but I got to Aesop first, because I love it so!
So... sounds weird, but Olive Oil is a saving grace when it comes to removing your make up... and I mean ALL OF IT! Don't bother with expensive oils... unless you have the money, and desire to do so... but essentially all a girl needs is to know there is a bottle of Extra Virgin (the best option by far- if not, normal does the same trick, when washed off with the Aesop cleanser after) Olive Oil in her kitchen!
Smoosh it all over your face... as contradictory as it may seem... I'm not going to go into all the reasons why one shouldn't strip their face with harsh cleansers, I'm suuure you have read it all before... yada yada yada... just do it... let it dissolve all the make up... mascara included... then you get a soft face sponge- those round yellow disk shaped ones that are generally really cheap in most places (especially Hong Kong) get it all wet and warm with water... apply some Amazing Face Cleanser and smoosh it all over and rinse it off... and seriously, voilaaaa, you have totally clean skin! Test it! I assure you... cleaner than clean... and not dry at all! Then some toner, then some moisturizer and your done! Plus you smell like an angel!
I tried the EVO thing... where you use Olive Oil as moisturizer over night... Hit and miss this one... I think it's better as a cleanser really. But well worth a try if you have really dry skin, or feel like experimenting!
Anyway... this is all nice and simple... and it means you dont have to worry about worrying about what you are doing! No over thinking it all... just WASH N GO!!! snort! Sorry that was amusing!
So... there you have it... a condensed lesson of my acne life for you! Works a treat, if you stop fretting over your poor skin, that will pretty much always inevitably break out when you are stressed, eating purely sugar, about to get your period, not doing any exorcise, sleeping too much etc, etc... All fine, we all do it/dont do it/go through it etc, but as long as you know the non permanence of it all... it's all so fine again! I have a huge spot on my head right now, loads actually... but it's okay! I really dont mind at all! It will be there for a few days, then it will go... and then it will come back, but I wont mind then either! I'm just so over it! It's most liberating! And oddly enough, when you dont care, the world can tell... And they just don't either!
I hope this helps you in some way, shape or form... All the things I mentioned product wise are available on line in a ton of countries... Olive Oil is pretty much standard... unless you are in Thailand!!! What's that all about!!?!!? You can totally use any oil really... coconut oil is another amazing one. Peanut oil you should probably give a miss... not sure what that would do, can't imagine it's any good though... but you never know!!!
A last note... my love goes out to Annika right now. A huge hole has appeared in the blog world since your terrible news... you are so missed, in my real life and the online one too. You know how I feel... but it's seems only right that some words are said in this land of blog where we first did meet. And for that, I am so truly thankful, for you are one of my most valued, beautiful friends.
Photography by Albert Dedeu