I reside in Hamilton, Ontario Canada. I am currently 35 years old. And I own and operate a boutique Digital Marketing Firm and operate as a Social Media Manager, as well as a mixed media and resin artist.
I first developed severe acne during my first pregnancy at 18, I was suffering intensely with what was often disfiguring. Prior to that id only had what seemed to be relatively normal teenage outbreaks from time to time.
I have been suffering and struggling to find cost-effective solutions, for 16 yrs.
As a part-time model in my local fashion industry over the past 11 years, there has not been much forgiveness when it comes to flaws. We are a growing city with a strong community of artists and the standard for high-end jobs often left me competing with girls whose glass skin made me feel meek and introverted in their presence. In essence, I shrunk. For fear that even though I could see past my spots, perhaps the other team members wouldn’t be able to envision the quality we all hope to achieve when collaborating with other creatives. This unrelenting pressure and stress understandably lead to self-esteem issues and a lack of confidence. Depression, anxiety, thoughts of worthlessness … the whole dark nine yards…
I grew entirely overwhelmed, second-guessing people’s kind comments and backing out of plans or avoiding social gatherings and even dates just to seek comfort of no makeup and a facial to help ease the pain of inflammation. I have had many people on set comment about my skin and it even would flare worse before shoots or runway shows which would frustrate the top makeup artists and they wouldn’t work on me. Or photographers at events take an obligatory pic and move onto the prettier girls and I end up with less promotional material and this invalidates my presence, my efforts, my value in the project, and it’s something I’ve had to find the strength to push past. The Acne Effect Page on Ig has been a safe space where I can find support to help me better understand the psychology of coping with how acne affects my job opportunities relationships and overall self-image. I even had my father tell me if I “fixed my face”, maybe I “would feel better about myself” as he tried to tell me what I had to do and he would pay for it if I met his criteria, followed his instructions and fulfilled his expectations of redoing consultations with specialists, etc… this obviously led to a barrier. So overall this has had a major ripple effect in my life as a female, daughter, gf, mother, and entrepreneur.
My coping tools to manage these complexities range from regular skincare to practising self-love with my daughters to help prevent them from developing similar mindsets about their own flaws while teaching them to love themselves. I too am embracing the idea. Flaws have become a rebellious notion and that feels empowering to wear proudly.
Social media in my case has been positive, I FOUND THE ACNE EFFECT ON IG. Which has had a profound and bold impact on my self-esteem and provides me endless information to pass down to the young ladies I raise and influence, like my beautiful nieces whom I see managing the modern teen experience with strength and keeps me motivated to change the social norms for their own well being. I feel social media can be that catalyst for change, awareness, and empowerment. I have been lucky to learn to block out the fake perfection and the unattainable standards. But I still don’t post enough of the everyday me and don’t often go without make-up on social, that’s one goal I hope to achieve for 2021.
BE BRAVE ENOUGH TO POST WITH BARE SKIN!!
As for the methods I’ve tried everything from prescriptions to topical creams and ointments, everything that burns, dries, and peels your skin, and I’ve tried dietary changes, am attempting to cut out dairy as I know my body cannot process it, I reduce my sugar intake, I was ordering Proactive from the USA via telemarketing infomercials before it was even for sale in stores here in Canada. I had tried professional facials but cannot afford the ongoing costs in addition to raising two girls, I tried to make home remedies with coffee grounds, washed with baking soda, used apple cider vinegar, and burned away the bacteria as an astringent. I’ve taken apple cider vinegar shots each morning and burnt my esophagus, I’ve taken two rounds of the cheaper brand of Accutane called ‘Isotretinoin” prescribed by my family Dr and Dermatologist, I believe, only to find out by a second dermatologist that it has made my teeth so brittle and discolored.
The exorbitant amount of money I spend on cleansing my body and ridding it of toxins, like consuming and applying Sea Moss gel and doing charcoal facials, etc.
I wish people knew how painful and exhausting it already is, that their comments and judgments only make it harder to embrace our natural selves. If we ask for help, we need it. Not judgment or unwelcomed assumptions about solutions. JUST SUPPORT.
And let us eat junk without giving us a look, we are allowed to enjoy food without being to blame for our skin condition. It’s internal and I deserve to not miss out on the spice of life.
I HAVE TO PAY ALMOST ENTIRELY OUT OF POCKET FOR QUALITY SOLUTIONS. Every time I’ve received a treatment that the cost is covered… I ended up with additional complications. Sometimes no one listens or helps if it’s not dier, but what people don’t know is just how deep the impact of the ongoing battle can be. On average I spend maybe 100 a month on things to apply topically, to use to cover or combat acne as well as ingesting to help balance my internal ph. I’ve been very blessed to work as a small business promoter and have numerous companies have me test their services to see how it affects my skin, I also enter into a ton of facial contests on IG, and thankfully that has helped me cover the expense of deep dermal cleaning. I believe that these treatments and products have reduced the severity but have not concluded my battle.
Relating to the dream career, I spoke briefly about my work environment above, and do feel I definitely did not achieve what I could have, but I also feel like the industry is shifting towards a trend of being more encouraging and re-educating on acceptance and since finding THE ACNE EFFECT I feel validated in my work and in my body, my self-esteem has grown, and I KNOW there has to be a creative team that can see beyond the skin issue and still make beautiful work. So I persist even at 34. It’s all about the right team.
As for biases in the workplace I also spoke briefly above on that but I feel like lil comments by makeup artists about them having to clean their brushes after working on me, and just making the most obvious and played out suggestions like as if I have been lazy or mistreated my skin and didn’t have the common sense to attempt to rectify it, but I remind myself the “Stigma” people hold onto, as if it’s dirty, or a result of overindulging and a lack of self-control. But it’s really so much more complex when you look at the chemical absorption rates for young people and, specifically, females are exposed to in products, it makes complete sense that our body’s changes no longer can be generically tracked and charted… our genetics are all different and ever-evolving to our conditions. SO much of this is beyond our control and I urge you to push past the guilt society puts on us.
I work on my emotional health with daily reminders that in a world where there is a multimillion-dollar industry designed to make us hate ourselves, I can radically combat that and hopefully shift the thought process for future generations. Imagine the power we could have if we didn’t feel overshadowed by our flaws.
My Instagram account is a social activism page for outspoken and creative minds to share art, photography, stories of overcoming hardship and bringing amazing businesses to light, and acknowledging social inequities…. It’s a mishmash but I’m so proud of it. I currently promote my social media consulting business in addition to my resin art projects that I custom design and sell.
For the lovelies who are still learning to embrace their face- BE PATIENT WITH YOURSELF, and be less patient with others. Sounds mean but I feel like the lack of acceptance stems from ongoing discrimination that’s often a social undertone, off the cuff comments and judgments aren’t to be tolerated anymore.
YOU DON’T DESERVE TO FEEL LIKE YOU HAVE TO LAUGH IT OFF.
If someone makes you uncomfortable it’s time we let them know it’s rude and won’t be accepted.
Check out Alison’s Instagram account to follow her passions with modeling, social activism, and digital marketing.