My Skin: A Dermatological Journey

Currently, my chin is covered in dark, red patches. Psoriasis is particularly unflattering on my already-ruddy, redheaded complexion.

My current remedies: medicated cream from the dermatologist (of course), green-tinted concealer (to counterbalance the red), and a multi-vitamin (can’t hurt).

Battling with my skin is nothing new. I started breaking out in fifth grade and soon had what even the most delicate doctor would call “severe acne”. While most of the Junior High set is dealing with their own pimples and self-esteem issues, my fellow Elementary school students would, with the blunt innocence of children, ask me what was wrong with my face. Did I have chicken pox, perhaps? Too young for make-up, I had to bear the burden bare-faced.

Junior High was awkward, but at least it had the reputation for so being. My skin faced the dual assaults of harsh medical treatments and the drying effect of the chlorine in the pool I swam in daily. Any attempts on my part to best the situation failed. I’d moisturize thirsty skin only to have it break out with renewed vengeance. I’d silently scoff at adults who told me that eventually the acne (and the related teasing) would pass. While there were, of course, things of greater importance happening in the world, my own world didn’t extend much beyond what I saw in the mirror each morning.

As quickly as the acne arrived, it vanished. Stasis was never my thing. I went from astringent to cold cream overnight. Psoriasis – once contained to lower extremities – slowly crept to my face.

As a pale redhead of Nordic extraction, I’m in frequent contact with my dermatologist regardless of cosmetic concerns (PSA: Wear sunscreen!). The most recent visit added rosacea to the list of epidermal insults.

Just like the girl in Junior High who fervently reapplied pressed powder in the girls’ room in between classes, I still find myself drawing a disproportionate amount of my self confidence from my reflection.

However, a few key things have changed. First, I possess far more knowledge and skill in make-up acquisition and application than I did sixteen years ago. More importantly, as with everything, I’m surrounded by people who support me regardless of how badly my skin is misbehaving. The biting comments of “friends” I had in Junior High would no longer be tolerated. My skin may always be persnickety, but I’m slowly starting to see it as a quirk rather than a flaw.

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About Helena

Helena lives in Chicago with her boyfriend and two cats. Her boyfriend thinks she's awesome. Her cats agree.

Posted on June 14, 2011, in Miscellany and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. I’m a blonde with pale skin. There’s always some skin prob. If it’s not acne, it’s sunburn. And, like you, it’s now rosacea, too. It used to bother me that my skin wasn’t clear all the time, but now I just take it in stride. We live, we learn.

    [Have you tried V-Beam laser treatments for the rosacea? For me, they’ve been very successful at getting the red out permanently.]

  2. Lord, i have been really lucky with my skin — just some super gross, standard-issue acne when I was a couple of years younger. Now I use a simple soap to cleanse and Argan oil to moisturize, and I haven’t seen a breakout in ages.
    Weight gain, on the other hand… (apropos of nothing)

  1. Pingback: An Open Letter « Bye Bye, Bitters

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