picture of book Acne: A Memoir (by Laura Chinn)

Can Our Emotions Cause or Cure Acne?

The other day I was walking around in downtown Abilene, and outside of one of the stores was a table of books. As any librarian and/or book lover would do, I paused to glance over the titles. Only one book really caught my eye:

Acne: A Memoir

I loved the simple design of the cover, light pink with varying sizes of red dots sprinkled all over it. It seemed like a no-brainer for me – I love memoirs, I love reading… I don’t love acne, but unfortunately it has had quite an impact on me and my story.

I scanned the book for a price, and suddenly saw a sign that said “Free books: Limit 1 per customer.” Free book??? Even better.

I had no idea what this book was really going to be like, but when I came to this paragraph on the second page, I knew I was going to like it:

“After genocide, nuclear war, famine, slavery, and child abuse, acne is the absolute worst thing that can happen to a person. Okay, fine, maybe cancer is worse, and probably a bunch of other stuff, but acne is bad, really bad, and if you haven’t lived though it then… honestly, go f*** yourself.”

— Laura Chinn (p. 2)

I laughed out loud when I read that last part! It was so honest and real. If you’ve never had bad acne, you will think these sentiments are crazy exaggerations. If you have struggled with bad acne, you’ll know that during your lowest points of dealing with red spots all over your face, you literally do feel like this sometimes.

My experience with acne is something that deeply affected me, more than I ever knew until I really started doing some reflecting upon the experience in my 30’s. It affected my body image (I stopped thinking I was pretty, and in fact, was convinced that because of acne scarring I could never be beautiful again), my idea of my own self-worth (I questioned why anyone would want to be friends with someone as ugly as me), and my mental and physical health (I had a few years of extreme dieting when I was trying to find the perfect diet to “cure” my acne, and instead ended up losing so much weight that my period stopped).

Acne is no joke.

Read More »

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 »