For more than a decade I felt alone, embarrassed, ashamed and frustrated. Trying everything under the sun to feel like my best self, I was never able to find a permanent solution that would silence an inner monologue reiterating the idea that “I am ugly” every day. That was until I broke up with my makeup.
Since the age of eleven I have struggled with severe acne. While the chronic condition is typically associated with teenagers, FDA studies show that many people suffer from acne well into adulthood. As a teen, I envisioned an acne-free life by the time I went off to college. Quickly realizing that wasn’t my reality, I dreamed for porcelain skin by graduation, just in time to start a career as a television news reporter. Spoiler alert: at twenty-six years old I am still suffering from cystic acne, both on my face and back.
When I first started wearing makeup, I felt beautiful because thanks to the magic of foundation and concealer I was able to cover up any red marks. What couldn’t be covered were the cystic bumps, inflammation and negative self-talk that had me believing I was truly ugly, regardless of whether I was wearing makeup or not. That all changed when I underwent a treatment in March of 2018 that prevented me from wearing makeup for a week.
In the spirit of trying to figure out what could be causing these breakouts, it was suggested that I ditch makeup for a year to see how my skin responded. Until that point, I was rarely seen in public with a naked face due to embarrassment. The first time I went in public post-procedure I was so humiliated by the way my skin looked I got in the car and cried, wondering if I could actually survive for a year without my security blanket.
Taking on the most terrifying challenge of my life, I eliminated makeup from my morning routine. While it was difficult at first, each week it became easier to head out the door with a fresh face. Much to my surprise, I noticed a huge change, not in how my skin looked but in how I viewed myself. Suddenly, the opinions of others meant less and my self confidence grew stronger.
Breakups are rough and at the same time they teach us a lot about who we are and who we want to be. Two years later, I’m incredibly grateful for my breakup with makeup. My skin still breaks out and I have red scars all along my cheeks and jawline. Some days I feel down about the way I look and other times I put on some makeup to feel dolled up. However, for the first time in my adult life I truly appreciate how beautiful I am, wearing makeup or not. I encourage you to practice some self-love today and know that you are beautiful just the way you are.