Rewriting your skin story

When it comes to our skin, it’s easy to fall into categories that are very limiting to growth or change. If you have dry skin, you’re immediately meant to get wrinkles faster. If you have oily skin, your pores will forever be clogged and you’ll most likely breakout. If you have sensitive skin, then you better watch out for every product or procedure out there because you’ll most likely have a reaction from it. Come on people, it’s 2019. It’s time we rewrite our skin stories.

There are so many people that I meet who think that the zit on their face today means they are just as broken out as they were in high school. The disconnect happening is from the endless conditioning that we have experienced as a culture obsessed with having perfect beauty. But if you look around, who’s really living up to that standard? No one other than the extra small percentage of people with “perfect” genetics and the other extra small percentage of people who make it their job to look “perfect”. And as a former perfectionist, this ideal that we are not meant to age or have flaws completely destroys the inner child I’ve worked so work to heal over the years. To scroll through my feed of my already insanely curated social media, I still manage to feel the deepest wounds of my teenage self. The story of young Hayley who was obsessed with beauty magazines to read each ingredient of the newest beauty product she couldn’t afford and who felt worthless because of her acne. Even now as a 31 year-old woman with healthy skin and an abundant life, I still feel the old story of my skin creeping through as if it were my present reality when I’m not careful.

I began to rewrite my skin story starting in 2010 when I was 23. I decided to start taking compliments about my skin and stopped using products that were labelled for acne or breakout prone skin. I finally transitioned out of the mindset that if I don’t over-treat my skin, I’ll get my acne back. Throughout the years, I would slowly regress when a breakout would come up or I’d be covered in a rash from an allergic reaction. It would make me want to cover up and hide from the world. But as soon as my skin calmed down, I would embrace my complexion and forget about my irrational reaction to hide the days prior. It wasn’t until I was going through a deeper physical and emotional health crisis that I realized how when allowing myself to fall back into the old narrative that teenager Hayley held with her acne, I would relive my old wounds of it every time a transition in my life would cause a breakout or flare. My language towards myself would revert back to negative self-talk and I would pick at my face as if I were in the 7th grade bathroom again too ashamed to leave because of my bloodied complexion. My body underwent the most intense changes after my shingles that I finally decided to honor everything I preached to my clients by advocating the shift of skincare as self-care to each new client in the early stages of Therapeutic Skin Coach.

When I started my practice, it’s as though I really started to hear what was going on with the majority of people struggling with their skin story. The irrational behavior that would come with a single breakout or development of a wrinkle would prove to me that some intense healing would need to happen in order for these individuals to finally see a more accurate reflection of their skin. Creating a custom facial is not difficult, but what would soon become my greater mission would be the thorough follow up notes I would put together after each facial. Diving into every aspect of an individual’s life to help them better understand how their skin isn’t just a label of “good” or “bad”. Skin health is a subject of endless study and interest within the health community because there is no one size fits all solution. For as many products out there, wouldn’t you think that at some point we would have discovered the right formulas to help balance all skin types? The true study of skin is a study of individual health and emotional well-being. Crafting an often novel length follow up email full of resources, custom recommendations, and discoveries of uniqueness in their skin was taking over my days because I felt they brought so much value to helping my clients rewrite their skin story. It wasn’t about the products anymore, but rather finding the root(s) of the imbalance. Or discovering the full spectrum healing that would reveal itself upon more self-reflection. Clients would start to uncover the pain that was initially linked to their skin woes and work towards healing from a more holistic approach.

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It’s now 2019 and I’m still shocked that most people have yet to rewrite their skin story. I took it upon myself to launch two online courses that help shift that mindset for long-term skin health by walking you through each step towards discovering the care that honors your individuality. Yet, some people still find a major block with doing the work. Case in point, my husband had a co-worker leave their work because they were so upset about their acne. He immediately reached out to me and said; “Can I gift your course to someone I know who needs it?”. I said yes and offered a consultation as well. All wrapped up in a bow was this person’s opportunity to hear something other than “it’s acne, take Accutane” and they rejected it. My guess is that the skin story of this person is so rooted in the ideology that clear skin equates to worthiness. Since I struggled with that belief for decades, I can typically spot it from afar. It saddens me that an opportunity to dive into a new concept can so easily be rejected but I have to remember that we’ve only come so far. I’ve only come so far. I still have wounds to heal but I’ll continue to try to lead by example by embracing my entire story, not just the one of my skin. From my body image issues, to my career woes, to all of my relationships, to my desire to get pregnant, to my long-term friendships, and my overall emotional wellbeing - I’m always working on letting go of what I thought was supposed to happen by now. The more I let go, the more I realize the amazing life I’ve led so far.

If this is at all intriguing to you, here are a few ways to get started on rewriting your skin story:

  1. Clear some space. If you’re already at capacity with the amount of things you’re doing to your skin, then scale it back. Most of the time when a new client comes in with several skin concerns, they have a cabinet full of products and are on several different protocols from different practitioners. I’m not here to tell you that the other practitioners are not helpful but too many cooks in the kitchen can really silence your own instincts about what is happening. By the time you clear some space by reducing your product usage and sticking with one procedure at a time, you can start to connect with all parts of your story to help make a greater shift.

  2. Pause social media portals. If you’re anything like me, you can be triggered by the most meaningless posts. All because the noise quiets our own intuition and congests the brain with the crowdedness of influence and disconnection from true healers. You can discover some healers on social media but you can’t get any healing through social media. Put it away and start remembering what living in the present without posting is like again.

  3. Remember your uniqueness. No one is you. No has been you. No one will be you. No one gets to have the authority on how you feel in your skin (or other parts of you) ever. So the decision to feel great in your skin has to come for cultivating a self-loving practice every day. Whether you’re choosing to cleanse your skin with love, tap into your intuitive skincare skills, or are indulging in a self-care practice. Each time you choose to love yourself, you are honoring the main character of your story - YOU. Be on your own side, love yourself fully and know that this ride is only ever going to be experienced by you. Enjoy the armor you’re born with and wear it proudly. Even if it is different or communicating something with you.

Honoring yourself is the best way to rewrite your skin story. You don’t have to stick to the same old story if you don’t want to. The skin itself may not change from congested to clear overnight, but at least you’re going to be nurturing it from a far more compassionate place. If you want to learn from my skin health 101 or skincare rituals courses, by all means, I’d be honored if you allowed yourself to learn something new. My commitment to helping others feel confident and comfortable in their skin is beyond just treating symptoms, it’s about nurturing who we are and what we are capable of being. If you’ve been struggling with your skin story, then I hope today you learn that you have to power to rewrite it. It’s up to you and you deserve to achieve your dream skin as long as it’s honoring your true self along the way.