The Skin I’m In

I empathise with Penny Dreadful’s Mrs. Poole. Her willingness to sacrifice her soul to Lucifer in exchange for eternal youth and beauty is understandable. Old age is a bitch.


Mrs. Poole


I would kill for the skin of my youth. I didn’t suffer with acne in my teenaged years. A short bout of acne in my early 20s was cured by a gifted dermatologist and it was baby smooth skin until sporadic outbreaks in my late 30s. Then came 40… In April, painful red bumps covered my chin and the left side of my face. I was depressed but determined to find the source and destroy it forever.


Death to acne!



My latest flare up occurred during a post-retirement baking splurge. I had eaten more flour—white bread, traditional sponge cakes, zucchini bread—than I have ever consumed in my entire life. I’ve never been a fan of flour and this baking spree was totally out of character. I wondered, was there a connection between the flour and my acne?

I was also in the midst of a milk phase. I divorced milk around the age of six. As my mother tells it, one day, she brought me my usual glass of milk before school and I refused to drink it. Why the change of heart? Well, the constant yapping from all quarters about ageing and brittle bones and calcium goaded me into drinking three cartons of milk. My body does not ever recall a time when so much milk entered my system at once. Was the increased dairy intake to blame for my acne?

I’ve heard dermatologists say that there is no link between diet and acne but I ain’t buying it. To heal the outside, I had to eat better. At least so that I didn’t worsen the problem.

I stopped eating white rice. That was easy to do because I’ve never liked rice and ate it only because. I’d given up pasta months before and had attempted to eat the whole wheat version but I just couldn’t. Whole wheat pasta is ugly to look at and icky in taste even when dressed up with cheese. I eliminated pasta completely.

Those who know me, know that I despise most vegetables and peas and beans (what’s the difference between peas and beans anyway??). My ideal diet would consist of fried chicken, steak, ribs, and potatoes, with copious amounts of cheese and butter thrown in, washed down with rum punch.

However, looking like a red-spotted Dalmatian drove me to extreme measures. I started buying foods like lettuce and black beans, which I abhorred. I still have chicken, lightly seasoned and baked, and I eat minced beef. I’m staying away from overly spicy and fried foods. My only dairy is a spot of Kerrygold butter. I will not totally give up butter. I’d quicker bathe in the blood of virgins before I do that.

Snacking consists of plain popcorn and the fruits that we have in the yard (these days, mangoes and bananas). I don’t have much of a sweet tooth but when the urge hits, I have a little khurma.

I also made the painful decision of not replenishing my home made rum punch stash. No alcohol till this is over.

Skincare routine

Thankfully, the outbreak has subsided. I’m focussed on healing the scars. Honey proved to be a very powerful healing agent. Tea tree oil was no longer working for me so I was elated to find something natural that was this effective. Apparently, honey also works wonders on eliminating scars so it’s still part of the routine.

I wash my face with Cetaphil’s Daily Facial Cleanser morning and night. During the day, I apply Black Opal’s Even True Skintone Brightening Crème followed by Cetaphil’s Moisturizer with SPF 50+. I sleep in a very light bentonite clay mask and I have found that it has significantly reduced oil production.

I’ve never been one for make-up (only recently started using lipsticks because I was bullied into it) but I’m not leaving the house without my mask of Sacha’s Cream-to-Powder Foundation in Almond Beige and their Mineral Powder in Matte Ivory. The coverage is nothing short of magical.



[Image via Pixabay]

Right now, my make-up free skin feels better than it looks!

What the doctor said…

A thorough ultrasound on my lady parts, as well as blood work, and a consultation with a gynaecologist, revealed that my acne explosion wasn’t hormonal. I have regular periods. I haven’t suffered from menstrual cramps in years, and the headaches aren’t as bad as they used to be. I had to look elsewhere for the source of the problem.


I’m high-strung, aggressive, and impatient, which is disastrous for keeping stress levels down. Being calm doesn’t come easily for me. Even in my sleep, my brain fails to shut off. So what do I do?

As a self-professed amoeba, exercise is not an activity in which I indulge. I’ve never liked sports of any kind and I don’t like gyms. I’m not disciplined enough to exercise on my own at home. For years I’ve been saying that one day I’ll sign up with a personal trainer to whip these 125 lbs into muscle but I haven’t done it yet.

If stress is the trigger of my acne, this might be the motivation that I need to get serious about exercise…

Review of the situation

Two weeks ago, I had a delightful roti since my acne had healed. The following day, a huge red bump appeared on the clean side of my face. I thought maybe it was just a coincidence and had a small cheese puff last week. The next day there was a pimple on my right cheek. I’m not willing to take any more risks so no more flour!

I will most likely have to revisit my skincare routine in a couple months as my skin tends to reject products that previously worked. I may consider a cosmetic procedure if the scars don’t disappear as quickly as they should. I’ll definitely book an appointment with a dermatologist should another outbreak occur.

If all else fails, like Mrs. Poole, I’m going to have to start sacrificing innocents…kidding…maybe not…


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