Spots and stripes

I have a little problem with my skin. I've been pretty secretive about it over the years, which is pretty pointless given that it's in full display for anyone who looks at me. I have acne.

I have a little problem with my skin. I’ve been pretty secretive about it over the years, which is pretty pointless given that it’s in full display for anyone who looks at me. I have acne.

It’s waxed and waned for over 20 years (nothing makes me feel older than the fact that I can now say “over 20 years since…” on a number of subjects), but the absolute worst points coincide with high stress situations.

The best my skin has been in my life is when I was doing a Fitness Bootcamp two summers ago and was actually eating both sufficient calories and lots of protein. It cleared right up and looked fantastic. But then stress hit and I slowly slid off of my new dietary habits. Now it’s 2 years later, I have what looks like only a few breakout spots. However, what is less glaringly red and 10x more painful is the cystic or nodule spots, and I’m now starting to scar.

For the last week I’ve been experimenting with Tracy’s jojoba oil cleaning method. It works. No, really. I have a whole lot of lumps and bumps that have vanished, and new nodules/cystic spots have taken 2-3 days to vanish instead of months.

I have noticed an increase in breakouts, and worse, I’ve gotten 3-4 cystic spots this week alone, but the healing is going so much more smoothly that I’m going to stick with it for a month before making any rash decisions.

I’m also trying manuka honey, which is REALLY when the new outbreak started gaining speed. I’ve taken a break from it for the last few days.

I’ve noticed that the nights when I have the best results are when I apply the oil, massage firmly, then use hot water on a quartered facecloth and hold it over the troubled areas until it starts cooling. I repeat the hot water thing 3-4 times, then pat with a towel to dry. That little bit of heat seems to push my skin to accept more of the oil.

I also need to ‘fess up that I’ve been very impatient with my skin and perhaps overdoing things in hopes I could accelerate the process. I’ve used a number of exfoliation methods in the last week, because I could SEE the sebum releasing in my skin and the fact that it was so visible but not gone was driving me crazy! I think it’s ok to exfoliate as long as it’s gentle. Gentle. That’s the keyword.

Next up is getting fully onto the eating bandwagon. I’ve been tracking my food with Spark People again, and was a little horrified at how little I’ve been eating – especially since I thought I was getting better about it. It’s no wonder my skin refuses to clean up: I think my diet was 800-1000 calories for most of the winter. You just survive on that kind of intake. You don’t heal or thrive.

The current target is 1650 calories per day while maintaining my water intake – I realized about a month ago that I was drinking water instead of eating. Whoops.

I’ve ordered 25lbs of good quality protein powder from Canadian Protein to help with this – it’s currently sitting at the local Canada Post outlet awaiting pickup. I know whole food is the better solution, but I also know that getting calories *in* is the big first hurdle. So until this whole thing becomes routine enough that I can switch to 4-5 meals rather than 3 meals and 2 snacks, protein shakes are the best choice.

Now, speaking of food … it’s after 1pm and I should really find some lunch before I delay myself into skipping another meal.

Posted by Opal

I'm small, blunt, and terribly useful. I build websites, specializing in compliant CSS and XHTML. I like quilting, cars, and critters.