kerry’s acne journey

the only photo i could find, of myself with acne. you can hardly see my cystic complexion in this scan of an original photograph from the 90’s. but hey, i’m with my mom!

i started experiencing acne as a pre-teen.  my earliest memory of the words “acne treatment,” is the thought of my mother applying steaming hot washcloths to my face, and then squeezing the blackheads out of my nose and cheeks. it wasn’t too long after that when she started bringing home creams and face washes from the drug store for me to try, but nothing i tried ever made a dent in the acne breakouts. i went to see a dermatologist and he told me to wash my face with the same bar soap i washed my body with. i remember mixing sugar with toothpaste and applying that to my pimples after my mother’s friend told her that it was a magical cure for acne. i couldn’t understand why none of these things made my skin look any better. in the end, they just made matters worse. all the years of harsh creams and products left my skin sensitive and permanently pink and flushed.

during my teens and twenties, the state of my skin was constantly on my mind. every morning i’d wake up and look in the mirror hoping that things had improved since the day before.

i was usually disappointed.

before acne came into the picture i was out going, i laughed a lot and was even considered to be a bit of a class clown but after i started breaking out i just felt like everyone was always looking at my acne and thinking to themselves “her skin looks awful!”. in an effort to avoid attention i became very introverted and self conscious. years later after my skin improved i still remained somewhat shy and reserved. it’s a tendency that i still have to this day and it’s all because of acne.

the acne breakouts persisted for many years. i am now 38 and i still have acne. the only difference is that today, my acne is under control.

EATING MY WAY TO CLEAR SKIN

a few years ago I read a book called “it starts with food”. it talked a lot about inflammation and how it is the precursor to many diseases like cancer, diabetes, heart disease, obesity and skin disorders. inflammation starts inside the cell producing chemicals that when released set inflammatory processes in motion. this inflammatory cascade has detrimental effects on the entire body.

i decided to embark upon a 30 day diet program called “the whole 30”. it’s a diet that calms inflammation and gets the body back onto a path to health.  it wasn’t too hard for me because i had already been eating a healthy paleo-based diet. i started eating this paleo-based diet about a year earlier and noticed improvements in my overall health and skin, but my acne never completely cleared up. with that diet at the time, i wasn’t eating any grains or beans so there were just a few things i needed to eliminate to start the 30 day diet program: dairy, soy and sugar.

after 3 weeks on the whole 30, the papules on my cheeks and chin and the nodular acne on my neck and jawline went away. my skin looked better than it has ever looked and the redness calmed down as well. the effects of the diet went beyond my skin – i lost 10 pounds, i looked younger, i had more energy, slept better and my outlook on life improved greatly!

after the 30 days, it was time to start adding foods back into my diet and take note of how my body felt with the introduction of each food. dairy made me extremely tired and my acne came back after about a week. soy gave me terrible gas. sugar was ok, but it made me gain weight after a month or so of adding it back in.

today, i am soy free and almost 100% dairy free ( i do my best with this one); monitoring my sugar intake is a daily battle. the diet gave me power over my own body. it was something that i had to do in order to see, first hand, how these foods were affecting my health. it was amazing to be able to do something in 30 days that i hadn’t been able to do in over 20 years: get control over my acne.

my own transformation was so life changing that i decided to find a way to help others through my own experience. as an esthetician at skinSALVATION, i was able to further my clarity with the knowledge of truly acne-safe (aka non-comedogenic) skincare products, along with cutting edge treatment modalities like expert extractions and chemical peels.  these, alongside customized home care regimens and nutritional and lifestyle counseling, help our clients clear their skin of acne in just a few short months.

the feeling i get when a client starts to see their skin turn the corner to clarity is indescribable. i am extremely blessed to now be in a position to help empower other acne suffers to uncover their own beautiful skin.