a matter close to my heart

by Roxanne C.

for a really long time, i was an unhappy girl. as far back as i can remember, it was since primary six. but it was all due to many reasons and they just happened to all add up and make my life suck. but the worst was when i had got into junior college and my complexion started to get worse and showed no signs of getting any better.

i guess some people don’t get my obsession with a flawless complexion and i can see why. they’ve never gone through what i had to go through when i was around the age of 17 – 21. they wouldn’t understand.

while other girls complained about a pimple near the upper lip as being “gross,” i wondered, what about me? was i then, somewhat like a troll? a bottle of liposuctioned liquid fats? i was basically a walking disease. i was disgusting. i never understood how the time of the month would contribute to an outbreak for a few days prior to its arrival. i never had that. my outbreaks came all the time. every single day. and they came in huge waves. like, big disgusting cystic-like pimples all over my face. 5 or more at a time kind of outbreaks. i was so depressed!

i looked all around me and wondered why the other girls didn’t have the same problem as me. were they even undergoing puberty like i was? their skin was FLAWLESS. like a baby’s. the weather made it worse for me. hot, humid, stuffy, ugh. i had an oily face even before assembly in the morning! i hated it! and when we had p.e. classes, it just made things worse! the other girls didn’t seem to sweat at all while i probably stood out like a lit-up bulb. my extra-high metabolic rate also contributed to my low tolerance of heat and even now, i still very much prefer colder climates.

once, i had gone to see a dermatologist at the national skin centre. after a few appointments, oral medication and creams, it did improve. then the dermatologist gave me this bottle of stuff to apply all over my face and i had a bad reaction to it. that was the day i found out that i was allergic to alcohol. my whole face turned red. it wasn’t even patchy. it was red all over. and the skin was tight. i couldn’t twitch my eyebrows or talk properly because it would hurt. it was just terrible. i went to school but then decided i had to see the dermatologist about it because people were staring at me.

and another time, i got so depressed and my self esteem had plummeted so low that i refused to leave the house. my mum got angry about the way i handled it and she told me that what mattered more was the person inside, not how i looked. but her words didn’t do much to help me. i wanted to get rid of whatever i was having once and for all and it was proving to be really difficult! my dad, on the other hand, told me that first impressions counted and mattered alot and appearances were very important. i suppose both of them were right, just that one was more “right” than the other depending on the situation.

i felt terrible about myself and didn’t like what i saw in the mirror. everytime i looked, it just made me feel worse than before. many times, i would get tired of all these and i’d become happy for a while after counting my blessings or after listening to clubbing songs. i’d excitedly ask my friends out to party, only to pull out at the last minute because of what i saw in the mirror minutes after. that started to piss people off and friends started to think i wasn’t dependable and that i was the kind of person who couldn’t keep dates. and maybe i was and i hated myself for that. but i simply couldn’t go out looking like shit. i just couldn’t. they didn’t understand. how could they? they weren’t going through life the way i was. i once had to turn my date down because of a sudden (and i really mean sudden) outbreak of rashes, after i had already agreed to go to a concert with him.

my social life was in ruins and i’m really glad that my true friends have stayed with me till now. it was not exactly fun to have crazy skin that broke out every day. new pimples came out even before the old ones healed. so my face was in a constant mess. the weather made it worse. the oil made it worse too. and then my skin became sensitive. on a good day, i had maybe 5 new ones. on a bad day, i lost count. it was raging hormones on my skin’s surface i swear. i could feel them oozing out because there wasn’t enough space inside of me to contain them (ok this part may be a bit exaggerated).

even now, my skin is sensitive and i usually feel that it’s unfair when i hear other girls tell me that their skin is sensitive. i mean, come on. i don’t think anyone’s skin is more sensitive than mine. does yours grow a new pimple overnight at the spot that touched your pillow and/or blanket while sleeping? well, guess whose does. that’s right, you’re reading her bloody blog. and it’s not that my sheets are dirty. it happens to ANY sheet i touch, even those from nice, cosy hotels.

i had done all i could to make my skin better, to make it all go away. i washed my face twice a day, i tried clinique’s 3 step skin care routine, i tried masks, i tried exfoliators, i tried oral medication, i tried topical medication… whatever there was out there, i had tried it. they never worked enough. and because i had such sensitive skin, i also had to be even more careful about what i used as it could cause a backlash.

why do cosmetic and skin care companies always classify “dry/sensitive” as one category? they are being insensitive (haha pun)! i have “oily/dry/sensitive” skin and nobody caters to that. that’s why i want to have my own line of skin care in the future to cater to people like me. because nobody really cares about us. they only want to earn the big bucks and cater to the masses. and this is something that i feel very strongly about.

i wish i had discovered the contraceptive pill earlier in life. maybe i wouldn’t have had that many problems then. after all, the primary purpose of the contraceptive is to clear up your skin. the preventing pregnancy part is just a side effect, as researchers had found out. yet in today’s world, women use the pill to prevent having bawling babies and the accompanying good complexion is just a bonus.

i’m glad i got started on the pill. to be honest, i had hesitated for a while because i was worried about the other possible side effects like weight gain and not being able to have babies in the future (i don’t even know if this is true!). but the pros have outweighed the cons. sure, my weight fluctuates crazily, like plus minus a few kilograms every other day, but hey, at least my complexion is WAY better now. my skin isn’t as oily and i don’t have outbreaks often anymore. i can even use moisturiser in the day and not feel like my skin can be used to fry fish on it.

well, i hope that maybe someone out there who’s having the same problems as i did can find comfort in the fact that they’re not the only one. things will get better in time, trust me. meanwhile, doing things to fill your time will help alot in self improvement. reading up on topics that interest you like astrology or archaeology, or even novels is a good start because you can do that at home while your skin erupts like a volcano and simmers after.

i’m happy with the way my life has turned out so far. i’ve always wanted to keep growing older because i’ve always known that whatever problems i’ve been having would go away with time. i still believe in this now. time heals alot of things if you let it. some things remain as scars and they may not look pretty but they remind you of the troubles you had to go through to get to where you are today and they will make you stronger.

besides, you can always count on lasers. =)