Our skin covers our body and inevitably contributes to how we feel about ourselves, and whether or not we choose to dwell on the fact that it may be scrutinized by others.
It’s a topic I haven’t touched upon yet in this blog, but as I’ve been encountering some personal issues with my skin that are making me feel more negative about myself than I have in a long time, I thought it might be worth it to put out some words. See what happens.
I have had sensitive skin from the moment I was born. Always conscious of special soaps, detergent, moisturizers, fragrance free, hypoallergenic, all natural, sulfate free…It’s a constant game of waiting to see how my skin reacts to absolutely anything.
Acne took over my face by the time I was 11. Large, sore, cystic acne spread all over my face, neck, arms, chest and back. I was used as a guinea pig, bounced around from dermatologist to allergist to specialist to whothefuckever. I decided to stop.
I eventually grew out of my particular phase of teenage acne, just as the dermatologists always said I would. I felt liberated. My skin was clear for a small patch of time, but it was still sensitive.
I discovered that whenever I went out in the sun for an extended period of time without sunblock, my skin would break out in a rash. Naturally, I stopped lying out in the sun.
Then I started developing hives.
At first it seemed they only cropped up when I was cold, or exposed to the cold for extended periods of time. Then it became more and more frequent.
An allergist assessed my situation and declared “You have chronic urticaria (hives), congratulations! Take antihistamines when they flare up. That’s all you can do.”
In the mean time, my scalp condition went from mildly annoying dandruff to something indescribable. It spread to my face, mostly my eyebrows and nose. Everything flaking, red and raw. I noticed it was mostly provoked by hot water or extreme heat.
I started taking cold showers. I started using 100% free trade organic all natural soaps. My skin problems began to fade.
My hives didn’t flare up too often and when they did it was only on my hands, arms and feet.
I later saw a psychologist about my anxiety disorder and started taking medication for it. After a month or two I realized every time I took an ibuprofen, aspirin or tylenol my face, neck, chest, arms and legs would swell into a itchy red mass of welts.
Some days they are there anyway. Today I woke up with them on my arms, hands and feet. I scratch myself in my sleep until I bleed and scab. When they’re on my face I feel like a monster. When they attack my lips and tongue, I feel like I’m going to choke. When it’s especially bad, they coat every inch of me - Including my scalp.
It’s painful and humiliating.
I am going to be graduating soon. I don’t want to be covered in hives when they take a photo of me holding my diploma. I don’t want to be immortalized as the sad girl covered in red welts.
It’s hard enough to be confident in your skin when it’s housing a body that fights the norm. But when your skin itself is letting you down, it is doubly tiring.
Anyone else who has suffered from chronic skin conditions or issues in general, feel free to submit a ranty rant. It feels nice to know you’re not alone.