By Rebecca Drew
AN inspirational British woman has revealed how she overcame her fifteen-year struggle with acne thanks to adopting a natural approach to skincare and sharing her journey on Instagram, after being dismissed by doctors who told her that hormone filled medication would be her only chance of having clear skin.
Digital content lead, Amy Saunders (27) from Brighton, UK, was just 11-years-old when her acne started on a family holiday to the Caribbean. Putting her change in complexion down to the suncream she was using, Amy expected her skin to return to normal after she came home but it didn’t.
Throughout her teens, Amy’s spots didn’t bother her too much as she assumed that it was something she would soon grow out of. It wasn’t until she came off her contraceptive pill at 24 that her skin flared up like never before and she felt unable to leave the house without a full face of makeup out of fear of strangers’ negative comments and her own poor self-confidence. Formerly a makeup artist for film and TV, she tried to ‘kid’ herself into thinking she had clear skin through her skilled makeup application.
Struggling with her self-image like never before, the advice Amy received from doctors was to go back on the pill or start Accutane, a medicine used to treat very severe acne. From this, she started her blog, Skyn Therapy to chart her own natural healing journey and to inspire others wanting to pursue this route instead of medication – she explained the healing process and how she looks after her skin and body now.
“When I came off the contraceptive pill at 24, my skin erupted like never before. Even whilst on the pill, my skin was never clear and I would never leave the house without a full face of makeup but the reaction my body had after coming off the pill was indescribable,” she said.
“Not only did my acne explode all over my face, but I also struggled with terrible PMS that left me feeling depressed and caused me to take time off work each month.
“Over the years I’ve experienced various negative comments from people about my skin, mainly from innocent children who have asked “what’s that?” while pointing to my face but I have also experienced hurtful comments from people I know and work with, these are the comments that have cut so deep.
“A part of me felt I could almost kid myself that my skin wasn’t that bad, or that my experience as a make-up artist meant that it was hardly noticeable underneath my skilfully applied makeup – but the second someone points out something that you are so deeply self-conscious about, there’s no going back.
“It’s nearly impossible to forget those hurtful comments and despite all the lovely things people say about my skin and my healing journey, it’s the negative comments that stick in the forefront of my mind and have been the most difficult to overcome.
“After seeking medical helping, Doctors told me that my only option was to go back on the pill and take Accutane for my acne. Deep down I knew this wasn’t the way forward so I decided to start my blog, and Instagram page to start documenting my journey to clear skin whilst providing regular tips and advice for fellow acne suffers who are also sick and tired of being dismissed by doctors and wanting to seek out a more natural route that would heal the body rather than just mask the symptoms with medication.
“After the initial healing which involved dramatic diet changes, gut-healing probiotics, supplements and the switch to non-toxic, natural cosmetics I now keep my skin under control by using gentle, natural skin care products and eating a healthy, whole food diet rich in healthy fats such as seeds, avocado, salmon and butter and plenty of fermented foods like sauerkraut or kimchi.
“Despite my healthy diet, I will never say no to the occasional gin and tonic or bar of chocolate, I fully believe in balance and find that being too restrictive with your diet can actually make your skin worse! I also find that regular exercise and taking time out to relax and de-stress have a huge impact on the quality of my skin too.”
For Amy, sugar and refined carbs are the biggest triggers that cause her acne to flare up but now she feels more confident in her skin than she ever has done before and she is enjoying helping other women through her Instagram and blog posts.
“After fifteen years of hating my reflection and being so self-conscious of my skin, I’m still getting used to looking at a clear complexion every day. I’m so proud of everything I’ve achieved, especially over the last three years and although my natural healing journey had many bumps along the way, I get regular emails from my followers saying what a huge difference they’ve seen in their skin since discovering my Instagram and blog,” she explained.
“Helping young women take back control of their skin and see such a positive difference makes all the suffering and set-backs I endured so worthwhile.
“Sugar and refined carbohydrates are, by far, the biggest trigger but I always struggled with cutting down on these trigger foods as it would often leave me hungry, moody and lethargic.
“However, things changed dramatically when I started exploring the HFLC (High Fat Low Carb) diet and found that by increasing my intake of healthy fats, my skin very quickly started to clear, my periods became regular and I stopped craving sugar and junk food.
“I’ve even had a couple of acne suffers message me to say that they had gone from getting spots every day, to not getting a single spot since introducing more healthy fats to their diet.
“While these extreme success stories are rare and many people do require a little more help to achieve fully clear skin, it does show that what you put in your body can have such a huge impact on the overall health of your skin.
“After years of being told by my doctors that my skin condition was genetic and aside from Accutane there was not a lot they could offer, I found that taking back control of my skin was the key to helping my embrace my skin.
“Before I started Skyn Therapy, I felt so alone and lost, like my health was completely out of my control but from the moment I started sharing my story, I felt empowered to inspire others which gave me the strength to start loving myself more and stop being so critical of my skin.”
Amy shared her advice to other sufferers.
“Remember that you are, and always will be, a work in progress,” she said.
“Acne doesn’t just clear overnight especially if you’re in it for the long-haul. Quick fixes are never the answer and medication, antibiotic or the pill will only work as a sticky plaster, masking the real reason you’re getting spots.
“If you invest in yourself and work towards healing your skin from within you will never have to live with the fear of your acne returning. “
For more information see www.skyntherapyblog.com