My Obsession: Down the Rabbit Hole

Orthorexia – an obsession with eating foods that one considers healthy

We’re about to go down the rabbit hole into my obsession with having perfect skin and beating acne. Last chance to turn back…

Image result for down the rabbit hole

To give context for this post, in another post I talked about my struggle with acne and the connection it had to my body image. I talked about how I had taken Accutane and the worst of my acne had cleared up. And while it had some pretty substantial results, it was not a complete miracle. I found that I still got breakouts more often than I wanted.

By this point and time, I was hyper-sensitive to any breakout, whether it was one or 100. Even one blemish was too many for me. After having gone through a few years of my face being completely covered with acne, I think when even a few spots started coming back, it triggered significant fear in me. I was determined that I would never go back to looking like that.

A pivotal point in my life was when I found the book, “The Clear Skin Prescription” by Nicholas Perricone. I remember being in a used bookstore and coming across it, and thinking it was worth a shot. The book is based on the premise that diet is the main contributor to inflammation in our bodies, which causes acne. So, the book outlined a very specific low-glycemic diet, which recommended cutting out sugar, even sources like bread and certain fruits and vegetables. This was over 10 years ago, before Keto and Paleo were big – so it was a concept I hadn’t heard of at that point.

I had always heard that what you ate didn’t affect your acne. I read it in teen magazines under the “Acne Myths” section, and it was plastered all over posters at the dermatologist’s office: FOOD DOES NOT CAUSE ACNE. Young and naive Erica never thought to question that “fact” and so I never worried about my diet. And since I didn’t have any weight issues, it meant that I ate whatever my heart desired, such as ice cream for breakfast and lots of fast food.

I decided to give the diet a try, and lo and behold, it really did make my skin look better! (You’ll notice I said BETTER and not perfect.) With this newfound information that diet was the key to clear skin, all I had to do was find the perfect combination of foods to eat (or not eat) to solve all my skin problems. And thus, I spent the next several years in search of the ultimate clear skin diet.

(Here’s where the rabbit hole really begins…)

Read More »

Body Image: My Story – The Good, the Bad, and, of course, the Ugly (pt. 2)

Part of me didn’t want to write part 2 of this series. There are a lot of feelings wrapped up in writing it. Part of me didn’t want to revisit those feelings. Part of me is worried about being judged or made fun of. Maybe you’ll find me extremely shallow and superficial, or perhaps you’ll notice all those flaws that just you didn’t see before.

I know some of these fears are irrational – but despite that, I am still anxious about posting this. I think there is value to doing it – for me as well as for others. In the past, it has been healing for me to write about hard issues, and it has also been healing to share them publicly as well. So, here we go…

This post is dedicated to my struggle with acne – and the scars, both physical and emotional, that it has left me with. 

It all started around junior high – such glorious times, eh? I remember being somewhere around 5th grade when I got my first pimple. It wasn’t a huge deal. It felt more like a right-of-passage to becoming a woman. A few years of some spots here and there, no big deal. 

Unfortunately, it became a much bigger deal. As the years went on, it just got worse and worse. In high school my face was completely covered with acne, hardly a clear inch of skin to be seen. Perhaps it was not really that bad, but in my memories it is. I don’t have many pictures to confirm or deny this either – during those years I avoided pictures like the plague. Thank goodness selfies didn’t exist back then!

To my dismay, almost everything I tried made no difference to my skin. You name it I probably tried it. 

Proactive? Yes – and it burned so bad that I had to stop using it!

Over the counter medicines? – Salicylic acid (check!), benzoyl peroxide (check!)… made no difference. 

Prescribed antibiotics? – those tetracyclines did nothing for my skin.

Birth control (the pill)? – yep, started on it during high school and it also made no difference. 

The waiting was always the hardest. You’d go to the dermatologist and they’d be like, “well, let’s try this (insert whatever new medicine you like) now. Come back and see me in 2 weeks.” So then you’d wait the 2 weeks, hoping and praying that this would FINALLY be the miracle-working medicine you’d been hoping for… and 2 weeks later the doctor would be wracking her brain again to think of what else to try. 

Read More »