"I started getting acne when I was about 13 years old so around 15 years ago now!
It was an awful time for me as it was around the same time I started getting bullied at secondary school and my mental health started to deteriorate. Even now, it affects me daily. I struggle to leave the house without putting some kind of makeup.
I remember being told by my mum and other family members that I would grow out of it and it was 'just a teenage spell' so I didn't know what else to do other than turn to makeup. I used makeup as my mask, and have relied on a good foundation for pretty much the whole of my teenage and adult life so far. In the last few years, I have seen numerous dermatologists (through the NHS) and have tried lots of pills and potions with no luck. I have also spent many hours on the internet and youtube looking for alternative, more natural options to help my skin improve but again, I have had no luck! I have been living with anxiety and depression for over 10 years now and my acne has been one of the biggest triggers, some mornings it has lead to me being unable to leave the house and I can't remember how many social events I have dropped out of last minute because of how my skin made me feel.
I have recently been prescribed one more antibiotic and acid gel to try before going on to Roaccutane (suggested by the dermatologist). Ideally, I would like to avoid Roaccutane as the side effects can be very severe and I anxious about how it may impact my anxiety and depression.
Although I still feel the need to reach for my foundation 80% of the time, that is 20% better than where I was this time last year. I think this is down to a combination of things. Firstly, I started my own little 'side hustle' yana.org.uk - which is a fashion brand with meaning. I started this brand to spread positive, supportive and empowering messages for others that are affected by mental health illnesses. My Instagram (@yana.org.uk) has become full of inspirational people that help me think more positively about myself.
I have found a community of people that make me feel less alone with my own mental health problems as well as my acne problems - the two go hand in hand for me.
It was through my social media that I came across accounts like Abbie Bull and Free the Pimple who really helped me build confidence being me, in my own skin! I also attended the Bioderma #EmbraceYourSkin event which I was super anxious about as I had only really been open about my skin issues with family and close friends up until that point. I left the event feeling so inspired and have since started to share my skin story and have even been embracing my make up free skin. It really is liberating to be able to do little things such as go to the shop or to the gym without spending so much time covering my face with makeup. Don't get me wrong, I still have a long way to go to be fully confident in my own skin but I definitely feel that I am on the right road!
Have a social media detox - make it a place that is full of things that make you feel good. There is an incredible acne community out there who will help you to feel less alone and in turn, will help you build your own skin confidence. Always remember, 'You are enough' - just as you are."