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I am not my acne: Regaining your confidence after a severe acne breakout


Personal Struggle

I am not my acne: Regaining your confidence after a severe acne breakout

I stopped finding joy in looking at myself in the mirror because I did not admire what I had turned into.


Acne doesn’t discriminate on gender

An acne breakout is a heavy blow on one’s confidence regardless of being male or female. In 2020, I experienced a severe acne breakout on my face. I had moved to a new city, and it seemed my skin was resisting the water and the environment. Having a smooth face became a thing of the past in my case and my confidence levels shrank from a 10 to a minus 4. The mirror changed from being my favourite to being my worst enemy.

One of my acne flare ups

I stopped finding joy in looking at myself in the mirror because I did not admire what I had turned into. I sought answers as to why my skin had done a 360 so like many people I turned to Google and the results were about how I was failing to adapt to a new environment, the stress of being homesick and missing your loved ones, eating too much oily or sugary food and of course, contaminated water being used to wash the face (tell me about it, I had moved to Harare and we know the water there is not safe for anything). If I tell you the number of concoctions I tried, you’d get bored. I tried cinnamon and honey, tomatoes, avocadoes, I even used mineral water for my face but nothing seemed to work.

What affected my self esteem the most were the comments I got from people in the streets, some were very nasty, and some were from people selling facial products who saw a potential customer. It felt as though anyone looking in my direction was looking at me and was disgusted by what was on my face. I transitioned from being a selfie lover to an ‘I don’t like taking pictures’ person. Believe me when I say it’s painful to feel the urge to take a picture but know you won’t be able to flex on your status because your inbox will be flooded with phrases like ‘What happened to your face?’ ‘What are you doing to fix it?’ ‘I have these products for your face.’ I wasn’t even confident about ‘umjolo’ (dating) because the ‘joling’ confidence bundles had depleted.

After months that felt like years, I met someone who genuinely understood what I was going through and introduced me to someone who had helped his mother and sister with their skin. I was skeptical at first because everyone who wanted to help talked about skin products that I know are used for bleaching and I am not about that life- I love my dark skin. I then decided to give the man I was referred to a try, his name’s George. I’m glad I did! I am grateful because of him I share a different story about my skin. George operates from a pharmacy in the CBD of Harare on weekends and in Kuwadzana during weekdays. I had to make my way to Kuwadzana almost every Friday after work and Kuwadzana is like the Cowdray Park of Harare, but I needed my smooth face back so yes I continued with my Kuwadzana and CBD trips.

The healing process required a lot of money to buy medication, facial products, go for deep facial cleansing, pay George for his services, travel to and from Kuwadzana regularly, and change diet, of which a healthy diet is not cheap! But, a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do. It took almost a whole year of back and forth with George, change of medication, and facial products because eyyyy the skin was not giving in shame. Finally, things started shaping up but I was very impatient.

Fast forward, I moved to Mutare- a beautiful and peaceful city. In as much as my face had been showing improvement, I started glowing up faster a few months after moving to Mutare. I was now at peace with the fact that I would not be seeing my family every day so minus homesickness, the water was amazing, the people were welcoming, my friends were supportive, I adopted a skincare routine using African Extract Rooibos products that were recommended by George and I studied my body to know what it wanted or did not want. So, sis started glowing up! Now I am at a level where being on my monthly cycle don’t cause serious breakouts; my skin is smooth, and I am back to taking selfies with confidence- I walk in the streets with confidence knowing I will not be getting nasty comments about my face.

My skin now

What worked for me in my journey to regain my confidence? At some point, I didn’t think I would love my skin again but here I am, I love it and I am content. Here are 6 things adopted to get my skin in check.

1. Stop obsessing about your skin.

Yes, your skin is not at it’s best but stop worrying about it every minute. Stop thinking everything revolves around your acne. Your acne is not you and this is a passing phase, you don’t have to obsess about how the acne looks on you or what people think about the acne.

2. Invest in genuine skin care products.

If you want something to work, you have to invest in it. Be willing to fork out money to buy skin care products for your face. It may seem like a waste of money when starting off but trust me it will pay off one day. I use African Extract Rooibos products from soap, face wash, face scrub, mask, toner, vanishing cream to the spot cream and it’s working.

3. Have a skincare routine.

Your skin needs you to take care of it. Follow the guidelines on how to use the products. Wash your face regularly and figure out what skin type you are then find what works for your skin type and use that product religiously.

4. Eat healthy and stay hydrated.

They say you are what you eat and it’s proved to be true, the food we consume shapes how our skin will turn out. So, avoid too much oily food, fast foods, and things containing loads of sugar, and drink loads of water.

5. Avoid stressing.

Easier said than done I know but stress can cause acne breakouts. Try by all means to avoid stressing especially about things that are beyond your control. Talk to someone when something is bothering you.

6. Surround yourself with people who love you and bring out the best in you.

When you are going through a rough patch, you don’t need someone with negative vibes. Make sure you surround yourself with people you love and bring positivity be it friends or family. People who’ll pick you up when you’re down and tell you they love you the way you are and stick around even when you don’t look your best.

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Journalist and a digital media associate. Passionate about women's rights and well-being. God fearing young lady who wants to make her life work according to God's will. Hair Braider.

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