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Acne Awareness Month – Ashleigh’s Acne Story

As part of Acne Awareness Month some of the Face Fit team are sharing their own experiences with Acne. It is our hope that if you have had similar experiences or you are starting on this journey with your teenage kids that this insight will give you confidence in our team, knowing that they have been where you might be and our passion for treating problem skin runs deep.

Ashleigh’s Acne Story

Hey, it’s Ashleigh, the Clinic Manager at Face Fit. June is Acne Awareness Month and I’m glad it gets a whole month because there is so much to talk about! My journey with acne started in grade 7, I distinctly remember accidentally popping my first forehead pimple while rubbing my forehead at school. I didn’t understand what was happening when another girl said to me ‘your pimple just popped’, I ran to the bathroom and looked in the mirror to see I had blood wiped across my forehead and was utterly disgusted and embarrassed. I went home and told my mum and she got me some Nivea Young products, I’m sure you remember the ones. This would just be the beginning of my experience with pimples and supermarket skincare.

Ashleigh on her pimple and supermarket skincare journey

Pimples and supermarket skincare

Over the next few years as I entered high school, my pimples got worse, not only were they across my face they were now on my back and chest and would often be quite painful. My mum got a few supplements for me to try, to support me internally; and I was introduced to Benzac. As a teenager I thought Benzac was the best thing since sliced bread, I would smear it across my face and body so thick, as if the more I put on the better it would work. I didn’t have a pillowcase or towel in my house that wasn’t bleached from the harshness of the product and I became SO oil phobic that I convinced myself moisturiser gave you pimples, so I NEVER moisturised (my poor skin barrier). Believe it or not it took me about 10 years+ to break this myth and finally start regularly moisturising.

My other favourite products and treatments were: aggressive squeeze fests (do as I say, not as I did), spot treating my pimples with toothpaste (honestly, why), St Ives Apricot Scrub (if this is in your cupboard, kindly bin it please), Clearasil, Clean and Clear and tea tree based products, which aren’t the worst, however, everything I loved using stripped my skin and at no point did I provide any nourishment to help heal and repair my inflamed and stressed skin barrier.

As if early teenage years aren’t hard enough, starting high school, going through puberty, I was now a shiny forehead, brace face who was covered in pimples. It wasn’t great for my self-confidence. So my mum took me off to the doctor to see what other treatment options might be available. Enter a prescription of Oral and Topical Antibiotics, which I remained on for 3-4 years until I was old enough to go on the ‘Skin Contraceptive Pill’. My poor gut, right when my gut microbiome was meant to be developing I began wiping it out, if only I knew the things I know now!

In my early 20’s after I graduated from Uni my skin began to clear and I thought, YES! It’s finally happening, I’m not a teenager anymore, my acne is gone. I began having needling treatments to target the scarring and thought the worst of it was behind me. I still didn’t moisturise enough at this point though, my skin was dehydrated and my barrier was extremely compromised, but I’d never known healthy skin and was content.

About a year later my acne came back with a vengeance, it was across my cheeks and jaw and worse still all over my back and chest and it was PAINFUL. I was single at the time and didn’t even want to date because I was so self-conscious, I would try to only wear clothes with high necklines, that covered my shoulders. I slowly watched my scarring begin to return and I decided it was time to see a dermatologist. I was adamant I wanted to be put on roaccutane and say goodbye to acne forever. I’m so thankful that my dermatologist refused to put me on roaccutane, though he instead prescribed me a gentle cleanser, moisturizer and a prescription grade retinoid and benzoyl peroxide product. As someone with an already impaired skin barrier, this was not a great experience. I used the first bottle of the gel as prescribed and my skin would sting to the point that I would have tears running down my cheeks when I laid in bed at night, and then the tears would sting my cheeks because my skin barrier was so badly damaged! Worst of all this wasn’t treating my body acne and as soon as I stopped using the cream, my face acne returned and my skin started producing SO much oil to try and overcompensate for the dehydration, that I was shiny by 9am.

Ash after her turning point discovery on how to treat acne

 

My turning point

In my life before Face Fit I worked in Brisbane in a fast paced, and often highly stressful management role. I often wouldn’t have time for lunch, so I would eat a pack of lollies to get me through the day and then I would work late and eat pasta or potato gems for dinner, because they were quick and easy and tbh I’m incredibly fussy. I was unhealthy, with a terrible diet.l I thankfully woke up to how much sugar I was consuming and decided to cut most sugar from my diet and focus on eating healthier.. and the craziest thing happened.. my skin started clearing up. Who would have thought diet was directly linked to skin health! (Sorry mum, I guess some things we need to realise for ourselves). My skin began to be the best it ever had, I still had hormonal flares and occasional breakouts but I couldn’t believe how much clearer it was with my new improved diet.

Then things got even crazier, I started reading blogs on how to look after your skin and invested in my first high quality cosmeceutical grade skincare AND a good quality moisturiser and SPF and my skin started to GLOW. For the first time in my life I felt confident make-up free and I became obsessed with skin care, nutrition and everything skin. This is around the time I enrolled to study Dermal Therapy and a few months after that I changed my whole career and joined the Face Fit team. Don’t misunderstand what I am saying though, I still have breakouts, I have about 4 on my face right now as I sit and write this blog. My skin glows because it’s healthy and I know the pimples won’t last forever.

Ashleigh's fabulous results treating acne

When I left my long career in the dental industry to enter the aesthetic space, my driving force was my goal to help people better care for their skin. For me this includes, educating patients on how the skin works and what we can do to help support it, and to hopefully educate parents on how to support their teenagers on their skin journey. This way that can be better informed when making decisions about medication, skincare and diet.

I can honestly say hand on heart, I’m proud of what we offer at Face Fit because we combine education, quality skincare, gold standard treatments and the support of a Clinical Naturopath, which in my opinion is essential in getting long lasting treatment outcomes to give you and your family the best possible treatment! If anything I have said hits close to home for yourself or your family, please come in and see us! Treating skin is more than a job for us, it’s a passion.

 

Clinic Manager & Dermal Therapist, Ash

Ashleigh, Face Fit Clinic Manager & Dermal Therapist.

Ashleigh, our clinic manager joined the Face Fit team in 2020, coming from an extensive background in dental / managing dental practices.  Ashleigh also has an Associate Degree in Dermal Therapy.

If you need support with treating your acne skin condition, don’t hesitate to give us a call or book in for a consultation.

See our recommended Acne treatment skincare products.

Also see Naturopath Evie’s acne story.

 

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