The story my mother tells is that I came into this world red and peeling. Stressed and over-heated my first line of defense to the outside world, my skin, would continue to scream ‘sensitive’ in the years to come – harking back to that first contact. Yet despite knowing this story all too well it has taken more than three decades to come to understand my own skin philosophy. And what is exciting is that as the skin is simply an outer reflection of internal states, the philosophy stands for so much more.
Calm and kind. Simple yes but somewhat difficult to put into practice when your skin is rampaged by years of acne – the last thing you want to show any comedones or cysts is mercy! However years of scrubbing, picking, extracting, peeling, cleansing, skincare brands, oral and topical medication can leave a girl raw to the core. Inflamed, irritated, hot and bothered (and that’s just the skin) on the inside I was feeling just the same, only darker. I wasn’t showing any calmness or kindness to my skin or myself, instead I was tough, disciplined and angry; where a tiny spot was a war zone and bad days ended in a mass picking session, and if anyone dared comment on how good my skin was looking I’d shoot them down in flames because they clearly needed their eyes checked.
It wasn’t until I met my current facialist that the tide began to turn. I feel that any chronic skin condition is so personal, so emotional, that you can’t possibly begin to understand unless you’ve experienced it yourself. I mean I really feel the need to start a ‘Roaccutane’ recovery group (but that post for another time). What I learned was to control my inflammation, inside and out, and that inflammation manifests through various means. From sugar to caffeine, alcohol to anxiety, dairy to stress and gluten to self-loathing, my task was to control the heat and reactivity in my skin and that meant slowing down, becoming mindful and finally, making friends with my skin.
For once I had to look after my skin like I would my twin and not wage constant war on it like I would a mortal enemy. This meant showing my skin love and compassion, forever calm and kind in every action, and in turn by looking after my skin I was looking after the being inside it. Now this didn’t happen overnight, I’d say the process has taken about 3 years and I’m still working on my philosophy of skin, every day, trying to spread the word any chance I get! So stop being so hard on your skin, stop being so hard on yourself and remember to be calm and kind.