Unmasked

Well, I derma-planed myself after all. When I was working my stock job at London Drugs, I saw we have a bunch of razors to do it yourself, so I watched a couple Youtube videos and tried it. It’s supposed to help get a couple layers of skin off so your skin can breathe (our skin doesn’t shed as well as we get older. Or some of us just don’t shed as quickly as others). It helps minimize wrinkles, acne scarring, and makes your makeup go on smoother. Essentially, it’s a really, really close shave but your baby fuzz doesn’t grow back thicker or darker. It grows back the same. Usually, I wax but ever since I started using retinol, the wax pulls off too much skin and I’m really raw by the end. Anyway, it was incredibly satisfying to watch all the baby fuzz on my face turn into these dust bunnies. It definitely gave a nice glow after I did my skin care routine. As soon as the salons open, I’d like to get it professionally done. Apparently, the aestheticians can get the blackheads on your nose, too. I’m not there yet.

Anyway, after doing it on my own, I realized how much I rely on make up. When I was in high school, I didn’t wear much at all. But I was taking birth control then which cleared things up significantly. I wore a bit of concealer under my eyes but even then, not much. What’s odd though is it’s when I was the most comfortable in my own skin. Which seems really weird to me considering how awkward our teen years tend to be. Anyway, I started wearing makeup in my 20s when I was trying to get off birth control (it took a number of tries) and my skin went baaaazirk! I’ve eliminated all kinds of foods from my diet, tried birth control again (it caused different problems this time and I barely lasted two weeks), and started using retinol. Some days my skin looks great. Other days, I flare up. Sometimes from food, sometimes from hormones, sometimes from stress.

Anyway, I knew I was using makeup as a crutch to feel good for awhile but wasn’t ready to let it go. After going down the rabbit hole of Youtube and watching all these videos about dermaplaning and then tutorials on how to feel pretty without makeup, I decided to take a break. It’s altogether the best and worst timing to do it. The worst because my skin is red and angry. But the best because:

1) We’re still in (semi) isolation.

2) I work in stock. My coworkers are the ones who see me the most. They obviously know I have acne and what I’ve realized is they still talk to me the same with make up as without.

3) I don’t have a boyfriend. I don’t have a crush. I’m not actively dating and even if I was, he’d probably see me without makeup at some point, anyway. I don’t wear makeup to impress dudes but I’d be lying if I said their attention didn’t provide the same crutch as make up does. Perhaps taking a break from both is in order.

4) I want to let my skin breathe.

5) I want to find other ways to feel beautiful. There’s this one video I found where the girl listed all these ways to feel confident and beautiful without makeup. We both struggle with acne scarring and out of all the videos I watched, her’s was the most inspiring. I’ll link it below. The others gave tips too but they would tint their brows and use self-tanning to contour “naturally’ and get their lashes done and get lip injections, which isn’t a bad thing, it’s just not the same thing as being yourself. Acne scars and all.

6) This one’s a hard one to admit– I was having a hard time looking at myself in the mirror without it. So that was a red flag that something needed to change.

Dad has offered to take me to a dermatologist. Which is really sweet and maybe one day, I will but for right now, I’d just like to be myself. Bumps and all. Obviously, I’ll keep working on my gut health, eliminate foods that are causing problems and up my skincare regime but I’m dropping the foundation for awhile. Not sure how long. Until I’m ready to put powder back on. I did cheat a little by putting some concealer under my eyes this morning at work but it barely did anything (there’s only so much concealer can do when you wake up at 4am). However, I didn’t cheat on the pic I posted here nor on the one I posted on Facebook and Insta. That’s completely unfiltered and unpigmented. I’m debating whether I will use concealer for my under eyes still or not. Will keep you posted.

I have to do some grocery shopping but before I go I wanted to tell you about a woman who kinda inspired me to see acne scarring differently. A friend commented on my Instagram which made me want to tell the story.

One of my bosses at the Globe Theatre had acne, too. I admired the way she came to work without makeup. She takes good care of herself. Eats well, does yoga, talked about going to get treatments for her acne, looked into alternative options. In spite of the flare ups and the scarring left behind, she remained confident. By that I mean, she didn’t shy away from opportunities. She’d maintain eye contact with people she was talking to (something I didn’t have a hard time doing until I took my makeup off). I remember her putting on makeup once but for the most part, she remained uncovered. She was herself. Bright, well-respected and cheerful. The patrons and staff love her. Even the kids she teaches love her. She had a social life. She had a boyfriend. She performed onstage. She is beloved, even with spots.

While I don’t think it’s wise to base our identity on how many likes we get on social media nor on how friendly people are to us, I do admit the support has been encouraging. I know not everyone who reads my blog agrees with me, nor do they all follow Jesus, but I’m hoping this time of un-masking will help me see myself through His eyes. Imperfect but beloved. I’ll try to keep you posted as I go.

Ta ta for now.