As a teenager, I spent a lot of time reassuring myself that when I was in my twenties I’d finally be beautiful. I’m not exactly sure how this hopeful and destructive mantra worked its way into my head, but I’m guessing it had something to do with my belief that acne problems disappeared when you became an adult. When I decided I wanted to write a blog about acne I wanted to include photo evidence of my own acne battle, as proof of the struggle that was most definitely real.
So for you, dear Reader, I made the long and arduous trek through my Facebook photos: a timeline of my most awkward and embarrassing years documented by photos posted with careless enthusiasm by a younger me. I scanned every photo of myself, searching for the tell-tale traces of a bumpy forehead or a crusty, make-up coved chin spot...and came up empty. As expected, the girl on my Facebook is a total goofball (see grainy photo on the right), but unexpectedly, she’s virtually acne-free, how???
I came up with three thoughts on the matter
- Camera Quality: I came of age parallel to the digital technology boom. In fact, some of my earliest memories are of my mom taking me to our local library so she could study on a giant dinosaur computer while I played Arthur’s Computer Adventure. Now we have iPhone cameras that capture every pore, but when I look at some of my earliest selfies (taken on my iPod) I feel like I forgot to put my contacts in. There is a good chance that acne would’ve been erased by poor quality.
- Self-consciousness: while I fondly remember the care-free days of my adolescence, I am also careful to take into account every memory I’ve carefully altered or erased. Time has a way of softening the edges of history and I have to remember that young Nora was probably only putting her best face forward on social media.
- Oh, wait a second: I don’t need to find proof because it’s currently all over my face! And the only reason I don’t have pictures that prove I have acne is because I avoid taking them. (Although, I did find one. Please feel free to zoom in on the picture below so you can see the giant spot on the bottom right of my chin).
Yes, that’s right. I’m almost twenty-two and I still struggle with acne.
And do you want to know something else?
That’s perfectly normal.
I am not abnormal, and neither are you. In fact, according to Mayo Clinic, “For many women, acne can persist for decades, with flares common a week before menstruation.”
While this information is comforting in its unifying nature, it still won’t cure the actual acne.
Acne, pimples, zits -- like adorable puppies -- come in many shapes and sizes, grow rapidly, and typically in batches. Puppies are pretty great, but if you had to walk around with five of them hanging off of your face and biting you, you’d probably change your mind pretty quickly.
Now, if all the puppies on your face happened to be labrador retrievers, you could probably get rid of them by throwing a stick. However, oftentimes we find ourselves with a variety of puppy breeds on our faces so even if you get rid of the labradors you still have four terriers gnawing your chin. This isn't an easy problem to solve, in fact, I spent about half my life trying to figure it out.
I’ve tried just about everything to get rid of acne over the span of ten years. When I saw a dermatologist as a teenager I was given a harsh face wash and a salve that smelled like rotten eggs. I eventually tried a three step acne kit that cleared my face somewhat and bleached all of my towels. When I got tired of smelling like a floor-cleaning solution factory, I gave up and tried water-only rinsing my face twice a day which worked until it didn’t. At this point, I became desperate and went into a chaotic DIY phase. I made homemade face scrubs from anything I could find in my kitchen (would not recommend) and once I even covered my face with peanut butter (would really not recommend). I disliked the thought of switching back to something with harsh chemicals, but I felt like I didn’t have other options. I kept it simple with one face wash and my face was doing much better, but I didn’t want better, I wanted the best.
Even though my acne had improved, my skin often looked tired and dry after putting makeup on, and when I got home from studying abroad this fall, my skin took a turn for the worst as it tried to adjust to the frigid, Minnesotan winter. Afraid to stray from my routine, but desperate for change I thought, what the heck? and before I went to bed one night in January I tried the Honey Carrot and Tangerine Face and Body Bar. When I woke up, the painful cyst on my chin was barely there. For the next week, I had the clearest, most beautiful skin I’ve ever had (included proof in the picture below). This bar smells like glowing memories: a warm, happy deja vu...and can be used with any skin type.
I was so thrilled with the results that I ordered the next biggest size along with a sample Acne Battle Bar, because my skin tends to get oily and I wanted a cleanser that would tackle everything from whiteheads to cysts. The Acne Battle Bar is packed with antibacterial, moisturizing and exfoliating ingredients like grapeseed oil and oatmeal...and the reviews glow as much as I want my skin to. Of course, I didn’t want my roommate to be jealous when all my fantastic soap arrived wrapped neatly in Tiffany blue tissue paper, so I had to order a sample Calendula Castile Bar for our bathroom counter, perfect for my roommate’s eczema (and also for my sensitive skin!).
Because AVNS soap is natural, it doesn't cleanse with harsh chemicals and detergents that dry out your skin. Instead, our soap contains natural glycerin, a byproduct of natural oils and fats. Glycerin works as a humectant and draws water into the skin while also strengthening it. Studies have shown that Glycerin hydrates and improves the skin's ability to defend against harmful agents, allowing it to act as a natural and effective cleanser.
These bars are working wonders and I love using a small pump of Organic Moroccan Argan oil for an extra moisturizing boost. If you suffer from dry skin, the Antioxidant Beauty Facial Soap Bar is packed with vitamins that will pamper and brighten your skin. Regardless of your skin type, you should try to keep your skin hydrated and clean. I do this by trying to drink at least six glasses of water a day and changing my pillowcase every week.
As I scrutinized pictures of myself for flaws I could expose for the purpose of this blog, I continually caught myself on this heartbreaking thought: “She’s so beautiful, and she didn’t know it.” I still criticize my appearance all of the time, when instead I should be appreciating the beauty I already have. God made everyone with natural beauty, inside and out. We hope that our products will encourage your natural outer beauty, so that your inner beauty can shine.