Interview with @prettyprogress23 on her experience with acne

by Tommi Skin

We love learning more about our communities skin journey and discussing the impact it has within our lives. We asked Liz Claire from @prettyprogress23 about her experience with acne, heres what she had to say!

At what age did you start experiencing breakouts?
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 about 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.

What ingredients do you look for in your skincare products?
It depends on what kind of product I am looking for. If I am looking for an active topical treatment product I would look for products with AHAs specifically mandelic acid or glycolic acid. If I am looking for moisturising/hydrating products I would look for Vitamin C, hyaluronic acid. In general I also love a group of antioxidants and collagen. Also love a good charcoal, green, kaolin or bentonite clay.

How did you start your acne positivity journey? Was there something that made your mindset change, or was it a long road to acceptance?
Definitely a long road of acceptance. 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 but 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 a instagram blog! I started uploading photos of my bare skin and taking people on my journey. I began my blog to overcome my personal 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.

How do you think social media has shaped the way people feel about acne?Social media shows us images we can't possibly live up to. Celebrities , models, and actors not only have access to professional makeup artists, hair stylists and personal trainers, but their appearances are heavily altered with Photoshop so they end up looking like perfect porcelain dolls with “glass skin” and no visible pores or blemishes or wrinkles or any scars. It looks so realistic it becomes scary. As we become so accustomed to this we start to chase after something that doesn’t even exist. The media continues to lie to us about the way the average person looks. There’s always something that is deemed imperfect because of how we’ve been brought up. How many times have you edited your own photo? Even just the minor touches that is super subtle but you feel it to be necessary ? This is why I am so glad the skin positivity community on social media is growing day by day, helping us reshape our perceptions the right way.

Has having acne taught you anything?
Acne has taught me so much.

Here’s a letter I wrote to my acne a while back:

☁️Dear pimples,

I hated you. I hated you with all my guts because you made me feel so ugly. You made me cry alone on nights that I would never forget😥. You caused me to go through many heartbreaks. The look of disgust from the boys I liked, as they stared at my skin, broke me. They no longer found me attractive or beautiful because of you😔. You not only placed scars across my cheeks but also on my soul. You made me bitter, isolated and removed from the world. I had blamed you for a lot of years, but it was only recently that I realised you aren’t the one to blame. But rather the one to thank.

Thank you for teaching me that anyone who rejects me based on my appearance will never be worth my time. Thank you for teaching me how to be strong as I navigate through school and the world 🌎 around me. Thank you for pushing me to realise my talents and other splendid characteristics. Thank you for making me humble and less arrogant. Thank you for allowing me to understand more about my mind, health and body. Finally, thank you for teaching me how to truly love myself because with this love, I will never be alone. Thank you.

Acne scars are a big part of having acne, do you have any tips for dealing with them?
The biggest advice to love your skin is to never give up. There will be days where you feel beautiful and other days where you won’t but that’s okay, the next day will be a new day and you can can start all over again, just don’t give up. Self love takes practice and you will get there eventually. Here are three main steps that I do almost every day.

Stop comparing yourself to other people. You are unique and no one does YOU better than you. Know that social media is a place full of photoshop and filters. It’s not real.

Stay away from over analysing your face in the mirror. Keep an arm’s length to avoid self criticism and skin picking.

Say loud affirmations. Treat yourself like you would treat your best friend. Compliment yourself loudly so your body and soul can hear how much you love and appreciate yourself. We never have enough of it.

While you can accept and embrace your acne scars, there’s no rule you can’t also improve them. We can be both a masterpiece and a work in progress.

Personally I love microneedling tools to help lessen their appearance! Microneedling is a method that helps treat different skin conditions. The technique involves using multiple tiny, sterile needles to puncture the skin and cause physical trauma.This trauma prompts the derma, a deeper layer of skin, to rebuild and to boost collagen.

I only use microneedling tools from Banish Acne Scars. They are absolutely amazing. The next day after my first use, my skin looked super plumped because the micro channels created by the needles allowed my skincare products to penetrate deeper into my skin. I noticed that after 2-3 weeks of microneedling consistently, I saw that my large pores appeared less prominent and for over a year now my indented scars looked less dark and deep.

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