We can all agree that the most frustrating part of skin issues and imbalances is the waiting game. Most people think that there has to be an overnight remedy to fix these issues. People will spend an insane amount of money and energy to try to achieve the impossible. With so many promises out there it’s easy to get convinced that a skincare product or a crazy expensive doctors visit will provide the answer. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case. Our skin is live organ that has many functions it needs to do every moment of the day, including while you are sleeping. We can’t really control it unless we learn to listen to it. So how do we do that? The answer is simple, we have to be patient. How very irritating of me to say right? Here’s the thing: I struggle with two major inflammatory conditions, eczema and acne, and I’ve struggled with them since I was a pre-teen so I can identify with the impatience that comes along with these conditions. Here is my guide to how to stay patient when your skin isn’t clearing up and what you can do to be proactive.
Identifying bad habits is key. Are you a picker? Are you inconsistent about maintaining a healthy routine? Do you rush to the dermatologist every time something feels wrong? If you’ve answered yes to any of these questions than you have fallen into some bad habits for your skin. Chances are all of you can identify with at least one of these behaviors so don’t feel shamed or guilty about it, it simply means you are human. Like any other bad habits in life there are several ways to start making a change.
Shift your habit:
- Picking at your skin will only prolong the healing process and I have not once see someone who picks at their skin who did it correctly. If you are tempted to touch your skin because you think you are an expert extractor, do yourself a favor and don’t! It is incredibly difficult to achieve the same results of a facial on yourself (trust me I’ve tried for almost 11 years). The problem is that it’s not as simple as it seems since there are so many different types of pustules and lesions that can be occurring on the skin at the same time that can look the same. You can spread infection and prolong the healing process by doing this. If you’re tempted to pick, think about reducing the inflammation of the skin instead. Grab an ice cube, wrap it up in a clean cloth and massage it over the area of concern. If this isn’t satisfying enough for you than a more proactive step would be to do a calming mask such as Josh Rosebrook’s Cacao Antioxidant Mask or Laurel’s Detox Mask.
- It only takes 21 days to start a new habit - Challenge yourself to 3 weeks of consistency. Simplify your routine and commit to an AM and PM regimen. This equals out to a time commitment of about 10 minutes a day. I think that you can commit to a 5 minute morning and a 5 minute evening routine. After the 21 days, this will become just a part of your routine and your skin will start to appreciate the consistency.
- Dermatologists are not always the answer - Dermatologists are absolute experts in identifying conditions in the skin that require medical care such as cancer, fungal infections or auto immune related issues. They don’t consistently see or treat conditions like acne as much as estheticians do. Especially since most people think that one blemish equals acne. Acne is graded on a scale of severity and most people I see can’t even be ranked on this scale. If you break out all over in cysts to the point that you can’t move your face, that’s acne. If you are breaking out with just a few blemishes, you don’t have acne. The dermatologist will treat your skin with the same tools they do for someone with a high grade acne because that is their medical protocol. Unfortunately, it doesn’t really solve the issue. Seek out the help of an esthetician who has experience with the skin condition you are dealing with. Calling your local spa or simply google your location, condition and skin expert and see if you can set up a consultation. Most places will offer a free 15 minute complimentary consultation where the esthetician will look at your skin and provide you with an analysis. Whenever I would offer this as an option to clients, we were able to solve the issue within that time frame or we set up a game plan to tackle it together.
Don’t fixate on the problem:
I want you to picture this scenario, two young boys are playing around and climbing a tree and all of a sudden a storm starts coming. One of the boys’ mothers screams at him : “DON’T FALL!” and the other mother screams : “HOLD ON!”. One boy falls and then other is safe. Which one do you think fell? The one who’s mother screamed not to fall. The funny thing about our brains is that they are incredibly powerful. If we fixate on the issue it only enhances the problem. If you have a blemish and you are thinking about it so much, chances are it won’t go away as quickly as you’d like. Trust in your body and it’s ability to heal itself. Focus on your solutions. Eat a nutritious meal, go on a vitamin D enriched hike, or simply repeat a healing mantra to yourself such as “I honor my body in its present state of healing, I am perfect the way I am”. Letting go of the extra energy will give you enough space to actually heal.
Write everything down:
I believe in the power of journaling for many different reasons. Not only is it a great form of stress relief but it can also be a way to uncover some unexpected solutions. Think about when you remember last minute to go to the grocery store to pick up laundry detergent, body wash or a refill on your supplements. You may be rushed and realize your store doesn’t have the exact product you are looking for so you grab the next best thing. You then go about your day to day with a new item in your life but don’t realize the sudden difference in your skin. Journaling can help you log those changes so you can identify the underlying cause of a reaction, breakout or just a difference in your skin. Try doing this for about 2 weeks and I can guarantee that this exercise will reveal a lot you may not know about yourself that you may have been too busy to notice before.
At the end of the day, the one truth you can rely on is that nothing in life is permanent. You are always in a state of change so it's okay if your skin acts up. It won't stay that way forever. Patience can help alleviate unnecessary stress and helps you better connect with yourself. Be kind and patient with yourself and know that you are always perfect just the way you are.