Photos by Bonnie Nichoalds.
Since launching Berlin Skin, I have had the privilege of meeting so many wonderful people. I love chatting about skin care, and through these new acquaintances I've had the honor to hear many personal stories about skin struggles and victories. Our skin can often feel like a complicated puzzle...one that takes a lot of trial and error to figure out.
I get it. My own skin care journey has been, well, a wild ride.
Some people are blessed with amazing, uncomplicated skin that thrives without little assistance; that has never been me.
Our skin type is determined by two main factors: our genes and environment.
I have always had oily/combo skin which gracious people deem "glowy" but I often feel more "greasy" at the end of a long day. "Glowy" does sound better, though. ;) This skin type is awesome for aging-well, but not-so-awesome for preventing breakouts. In high school I had the normal, mild acne that was easy to control. Plus, I grew up in a high desert, so the dry weather helped to keep it manageable.
In college, I moved to the rainy side of the state, and my skin still did pretty decent in the new climate.
Then, I hit my early 20's. And that's when it all changed.
The terrible combination of hormonal and cystic acne.
It came out of nowhere. At first, I had no idea what was happening except I noticed a few random, painful bumps under my skin. I shrugged them off-until 4 months down the road, they were still there.
Eventually, as the bumps became worse and more frequent, I made the connection that I was breaking out in a way that I had never experienced in my life. I had previously imagined that the mild "acne" would go away after my teenage years, but to my dismay it was just the opposite: it was getting worse.
For anyone who is or has struggled with this sort of acne, you know too painfully well what I'm talking about. Not only is it physically painful, but the emotional and social struggle is real, too.
At this time in my life, I was also modeling a lot. I felt so unprofessional because of my skin and I would often skip castings or turn away jobs if it was a bad week for my skin.
I'm not one to give up easily, though-especially when times get rough. I'm very self-motivated and like a challenge, so when it came to figuring out my problem skin, I dug deep. I was so fed up with the breakouts, and wasn't getting the answers or solutions that I needed from my dermatologist: "take this new pill, go on this drug..." were not long-term solutions, in my opinion.
I didn't want a band-aid, I wanted to figure out the root of the problem.
So I researched for hours and hours on end, experimenting with every natural solution I could find. Drink tons of water. More oil. Less oil. Essential oils. Apple cider vinegar. Go paleo. Go vegan. Cut out this. Cut out that. You name it - I probably tried it. It was exhausting, but I wasn't about to give up.
Sadly, not much of it worked. I was still getting the same sort of breakouts, and they would hang out for months.
Then, one day it hit me: What if my external struggle was more of an internal issue?
This was a huge turning point for me. I began to think through how my entire body was doing. And that's when I had a huge breakthrough...
Read the rest of my story later this week when I post part 2.
If you are struggling with your skin, I would encourage you to think about your body as a whole and work with doctors or specialists. These are great first steps.
If you relate with this post, I would love to hear about your personal journey. Feel free to comment here, on social media, or through email.
From my heart,
*the above statements are based on pure opinion and personal experience and should not be considered medical advice. consult a doctor if you feel you need serious medical attention