As a woman today, the need to be flawless is of high importance. Society’s standard of beauty is far from attainable and it leaves so many beautiful girls and women feeling unattractive, undesirable, or just not good enough. Our bodies are picked apart by the media as they constantly exploit female celebrities, examining each part of their body under a dehumanizing microscope, like they are animals in a zoo. Just there to be looked at.
It infuriates me more than I can express. I’ve met so many young girls that hate their bodies or focus on a specific area to loathe and condemn. They go to great lengths to hide a flaw, or make this body part look bigger or smaller, all to attain a level of beauty that has been feed to them through social media, TV, magazine, advertisements…you get it. It’s everywhere.
I have been this girl.
My biggest complaint about myself was my skin. Ever since I was a teenager, I struggled with acne and breakouts. Throughout the ages of 14-20, it seemed that I was never without a breakout on my chin. This is a hormonal area and at first, I thought it was just puberty. But by the time I hit my early twenties and not much had changed, I was extremely frustrated. I broke out along my bikini area as well and then pimples started appearing on my neck and under my arm pits. Most of these were really painful, to the point where I had to start basing what I wore around my breakouts so the clothes wouldn’t touch the area and make it worse. This did a number on my self-esteem.
Every time I would look in the mirror without makeup, I felt sad. In the morning, I couldn’t wait to cover my face with foundation to erase the red marks. After my face was full of concealer, bronzer, blush, mascara and lipstick, then I could feel attractive. Makeup became my only way to self-confidence. I was aware that this wasn’t healthy, that I should still love my face and my skin and my body, even with the blemishes, but it
was really hard for me to do so. I was my own worst critic.
The funny thing was, I didn’t really enjoy putting on the make-up. I would go through phases, especially with my sister who is a make-up artist and esthetician, and buy a bunch of new products and experiment with them. Sometimes it was fun, and sometimes I would think everything would look better if my skin was flawless. I didn’t even really want to wear it! But, I felt like I didn’t have a choice. Pretty and feminine, to me, meant clear skin and make-up. I just couldn’t see a way that I could give it up.
A few months after I turned 25, I decided I didn’t want to feel this way anymore. My face breakouts were getting better, but my body acne was still in full effect. I had tried tons of products: cleansers, toners, creams, foundations, scrubs…everything it seemed. But once the acne started becoming painful and cystic, I realized that something inside my body was trying to tell me something. Pimples and acne are bacteria from within the skin trying to get out. But your skin is your biggest organ. Everything in your body is working together. And I thought mine was really trying to get a point across. It had to be something I was eating.
I went to a dermatologist who diagnosed me with hidradenitis suppurativa, a chronic skin disease, that “didn’t have a cure”. She said this explained my cystic like acne on the hormonal places on my body, like my bikini area and armpits. She prescribed me a pill and topical solution full of chemicals. I asked her if she knew of a more holistic approach, such as what I would avoid eating. “No,” she said, shaking her head. “Only these medicines will work.”
Okay, I thought. Looks like I’m taking matters into my own hands.
This is when I cut dairy out from my diet, as I have mentioned in other posts. According to my research, I found that milk and cheese products contain a huge amount of hormones. Even if a dairy product claims to be “hormone free”, it really can’t be. Cows that are producing milk are pregnant. They are producing natural hormones that cows create during every menstrual cycle, and even more so during their pregnancy.
So cows milk is FULL of the natural cow hormones. Plus, there is also the hormone injection, BST or bovine somatotropin, that are given to cows to make them produce even more milk. So labeled “hormone-free” or not, whenever you drink milk you are getting a high dose of growth hormones right to your system.
The hormones that baby cows need to grow strong. For us, it just causing rapid hormonal growth, weight gain, and inflammation.
Your skin produces more oil, which clogs the pores, your insulin spikes, which prompts your liver to produce more hormones AND dairy also glues dead skin cells together inside your pores, trapping everything in there*. Eww.
After realizing this horror and thinking back to all the cheese I have consumed in my life, I knew what I had to do. NO MORE DAIRY.
I may have wanted to cry at first as visions of my favorite foods, ice cream, pizza, brie cheese, cheddar cheese, goat cheese (okay all cheese) and yogurt, were being snatched out of my fridge.
But I knew this was going to help. I could just sense it.
Within a month, my skin began to heal. The redness had gone down and the pimples were slowly filtering themselves out. I didn’t even miss dairy like I thought I would.
My body felt so good that I didn’t want to pollute it with excess hormones. I also stopped eating meat and limited my intake of sugar and gluten.
WAS THIS ALL I NEEDED TO BE DOING ALL ALONG??
Now that my skin was getting better, I knew needed to work on my self-esteem.I still didn’t feel comfortable without makeup and I really wanted to get to the point where I felt comfortable and beautiful in my natural skin.
Our trip to California was going to involve a lot of camping. The plan was to drive for 5-6 hours and then camp along the way. I wanted my camping experience to be fun, and most of all, simple.
I wanted to wear comfy clothes and not bother with hair and makeup.
I wanted to cleanse my mind of all concepts of beauty and just be a woman on an adventure.
Just me being me.
I decided to do a makeup detox.
I thought it would be easy because we were going to be in the car most of the time, not around a lot of people. But sometimes, I would feel self-conscience if we stopped at a restaurant or a gas station and I was bare faced, without flawless skin and in sweat pant shorts.
I was still fighting against the lie in my head, that I was unattractive in these moments. I mean, I honestly I felt good if I only thought about myself. I was clean (for the most part), I was on an adventure and I was comfortable.
So that’s what I focused on.
Soon, I really began to love not wearing makeup. My skin felt so fresh and smooth! I was simply washing my face with water and then applying coconut oil to it if my skin was feeling dry. The easiest skin regiment I had EVER been on.
My skin was free! And able to breathe!
When we got to California, I became a little self-conscience again. A lot of the women here are dressed beautifully, with immaculate makeup and hair and clothes.
Comparison is the root of unhappiness.
I am happy with how I look and that’s all that matters. Now, I hardly ever make up my face. I haven’t touched a mascara wand in 2 months. The only time I apply anything is when I go to work. I usually apply a little bronzer to even out my tan and a little lipstick to look more professional.
I actually learned to love looking at my bare face in the mirror and BE HAPPY with my reflection. My skin is almost completely healed of redness and blemishes.
I finally have the skin I have always wanted. But more importantly, I learned to value myself for who and what I am.
I am more than my skin and my body.
I am a strong woman with valuable things to say and do. I can contribute to this world.
And I’m not going to let society’s standard of beauty hold me back.
Have a happy and healthy day 🙂