I started developing acne when I was a teenager. All throughout high school I would get little bumps, but it never really became cystic until after I reached 12th grade (I was 17 years old). During this year in school I went through a traumatic experience that set me up for years of chronic acne well into adulthood.
High school struggles
I was struggling with high school both socially and academically.
My need to be the prettiest and smartest made me this horrible, nasty drama queen and as a result of my strive to be better than everybody else while trampling on others, I was in turn bullied and isolated for the majority of my last year of High School. It felt like the entire world hated me and that was something that actually broke my soul from a very young age.
" I had believed that my worth was measured by people’s validation of me. "
Not only was school difficult, but my family was disappointed with my school marks and so due to constantly disappointing everybody around me I just felt worthless... This ongoing stress and the irresponsible decision to go on multiple courses of antibiotics actually caused my mild pimples to form into severe cystic nodules.
I found the cure... or not.
After months of trying different home remedies and over the counter products, I went to the dermatologist and guess what? She quickly looked at my skin and said, “Yes. You definitely need to go on a course of antibiotics and your skin will clear right up”.
Out of desperation, I listened without asking for a second opinion from another professional and hopped right onto Minocycline.
“YAY it cleared my skin! Woohoo beat that acne!!”
… but boy I was wrong.
Since stopping my first course of antibiotics, my acne soon came back. So I went to another dermatologist and again was described antibiotics, this time a longer and stronger course. What I didn’t know was that this would eventually lead to severe long-term side effects. No one had informed me, not even my doctors or dermatologist that antibiotics would ruin my gut (They failed to inform me of the importance of probiotics). So a few months-years later, I’m left with digestive problems and cystic acne all over my face.
While it seems like a physical downfall, this took a toll on my emotional wellbeing.
Fast forward to my first year of university. Everybody around me had clear skin and here’s this Asian gal (me) with pimples all over. I was defeated. I skipped many days of uni, made lame excuses not to go to work and fabricated lies about being sick to my friends because I was ashamed of how ugly I looked and felt.
Every morning, I struggled to get up because it meant I had to stare back at the mirror only to see a monster…
Washing my face meant I would feel all the large sore bumps on my cheeks and forehead. I was no longer myself…
I became this quiet and depressed girl who wasn’t fun anymore. I lost my bubbly, fun, loving self. Every day involved crying. One day, I just felt so sick of it all.
Sick of hiding and sick of crying myself to sleep. So in came my crazy idea- starting an Instagram blog!
My first steps into the online world
I started uploading photos of my bare skin and taking people on my journey to healing both physically and mentally. I had to teach myself that I was so much more than my skin. To be honest, I began my blog to overcome my fears, and didn’t even know that people would be inspired by it. So when people started commenting and privately messaging me that I’ve helped them love themselves a little bit more, knowing that they’re not alone I knew what my new mission in life was.
" In a world that is so focused on external beauty and these unattainable standards, I aimed to put it all publicly out there to shatter society's perception of beauty. "
Not just for myself, but for all the other people in the world as well, because our skin does not define us or tarnish our inner beauty. Acne is normal and it should not corner us into depression because we are greater than any social standard imbued on us!
Thank you from the bottom of my heart for coming along on this journey of self-love with me. I have grown so much as a person and regained my power. This acne positivity movement is only going to get bigger and better from here on out.
Your gal, Liz.
Click here to watch Liz's self-love journey on IG TV...
Written by Liz Claire Nguyen