I Struggled With Hormonal Acne.. And Lived To Tell About It.

Hey friends! For this week’s post I thought I’d share a little something I posted on Instagram recently. The small word-count of everyone’s favourite app is quite low which resulted in me having to post this in three parts, so I figured it would be nice to have it all together somewhere for reference.


While this doesn’t necessarily pertain to environmental sustainability, my deep passion surrounds a sustainable way of living all the aspects of your human life (I call it whole-istic living). My personal struggles and things I’ve gone through have led me to where I am today, which is actively pursuing a sustainable way of living - and that includes in the area of sustainable, realistic health and fitness and self love! I hope you enjoy a bit of my story, and if it resonates with you I hope we can connect over it!


 


I took this picture at the beginning of the year to remember my good skin. I was starting to break out on my right cheek and I wanted to remember what things looked like before it got bad again.


My struggle with hormonal acne has been long and gruelling, full of tears and pain (both physical and emotional) and as I’m sure you can guess, every potential antidote under the sun.

Beginning in puberty when hormones are going wild trying to survive the changes that take place in the transition from childhood to adolescence, I now know I had some severe underlying gut issues and food sensitivities that caused my acne to flare up worse than all of my friends.. and to stay long past it’s welcome. I jumped on hormonal birth control at 16 to fix (or cover up) some intense period issues and found the relief I had been looking for. That joy was smashed several years later when I tried to come off the pill and my body responded with a flaming vengeance that came out as painful cystic blemishes on my face. I dug up the only real evidence that remains of that time..there isn't much (see the end of this post). No way was I taking regular photos in those days, let alone foundation-less selfies.

I’m sad to say that because I had also gained a significant amount of weight around this point in life, I literally couldn’t handle the level of self-hatred that both issues initiated, so I went back on the pill (and eventually accutane) to alleviate one while handling the other. I remember feeling so ugly, so worthless and hopeless and deeply believing that everything I lacked in life was because I was less valuable to those around me due to my face.

I’ve heard so many similar stories and my heart never ceases to break for the humans behind the screen because the level of awful, debilitating self-hatred you can feel towards yourself is just that; heart breaking. It’s also completely unwarranted.

it has been my goal for years to get off hormonal birth control and balance my hormones naturally. when I took this photo I had the first two real blemishes I’d had in years.. I'd been off the pill since March (they say month 3 is when the backlash begins) and I was dreading the hypothetically inevitable storm.. 



The annoying thing about my choice to return to putting synthetic hormones in my body on a daily basis is that while it put a bandaid on the acne, it worked against my efforts to get healthy causing me to gain more weight as well as introducing never-before experienced depression and anxiety.  There’s so much science behind what actually goes on in your body during whole process of coming off of the pill and that’s another conversation, but I’d spent months researching and seeing naturopathic doctors in the past, doing everything I could to detox my body of excess synthetic estrogen and support my liver in processing the hormones as well as every other thing under the sun to prepare myself as best I could for the aftermath of PBCS (post-birth control syndrome).

I remember the day I took the photo I posted previously and feeling so afraid that it would all be for nothing. Fighting the old lies that I just wasn’t one of those lucky people who got to live a normal happy life with their face looking average, let alone amazing, naturally. I remember thinking I should take a picture so I could remember what I looked like when I was pretty.


*SPOILER ALERT*

My skin is looking damn good these days! I’d knock on wood except I know exactly what I’ve done to produce that result, and I’m stoked to see that after what feels like a million years, it’s. actually. Working. I’m not going to lie to you, there were definitely a LOT of practical steps involved, and I have 100% given up things that I used to love because they were affecting my body negatively and throwing my hormones off balance. But I’ve also spent YEARS healing my emotions surrounding the entire experience. I chose and continue to choose daily to speak and accept love over myself regardless of what my body is doing & how that does or does not manifest on my face. I’ve gone after the ROOT of both the physical and emotional issues tied to my skin and I’m just now beginning to live in the fruit of that. I’m telling you this, a friend or maybe stranger on the internet, because I don’t just want clear skin anymore.. I want freedom.




I think we all want freedom. Freedom from curating + perpetuating the epidemic of perceived perfection. Freedom that comes from being fully known & shedding light on an area that once felt like a deep dark chasm keeping us away from receiving love from other humans. I want freedom to share more honestly who I am because of where I’ve come from, and freedom to advocate for the freedom of others in every area of life.. even if it means starting with one as superficial but damn real as skin and acne.


My real life and my real passions definitely revolve around creating and sharing delicious food with those I love as much as I possibly can. but beyond that, my deeper passions surround whole-istic health (meaning your whole being) and the exchange of story and information surrounding how to pursue deep health in all they layers of humanity. That looks like how to fuel your body with real foods that make you feel good AND how to enjoy your life without empowering the insane narratives of diet culture and leaning into self-punishment. How to purpose within yourself to grow emotionally + relationally so that you can live vibrantly without carrying around a bunch of painful baggage. How to plan and organize and curate a dwelling space that makes you feel peaceful and alive and fulfilled; how to cultivate compassion for the next generation and practically walk that out in treating the planet we live in well! And for Frick sakes, how to embrace your God-given creative self, consistently pursuing your highest potential while having FUN.


Thanks so much for reading this novel!  At the end of the day, I’m telling a bit of my story for ME, but it’s so cool that you’re interested enough to follow along and engage with me over real life. And if by some chance you read all this and you share a similar story - hear me say: those lies aren’t real, there is hope for actual freedom and you sure as heck are not alone 💗✨


xx J



**these images were brightened & colour-adjusted to fit my feed, but my skin is bare. The appearance of my skin is true to how it looks in perfect lighting. The other 2 photos are the only ones I could find with any trace of bad skin**

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