There’s no glossing over it, it is what it is, raw, unfiltered, unapologetic and at times utterly soul destroying.

I recently had the pleasure of getting my beautiful niece Ammaarah ready for her nikkah.

There was an influx of comments and love when I uploaded her picture on Instagram that it got us thinking. Little did people know the struggles she had been going through prior to this with acne that we decided to share her story in the hope that it may help others in a similar situation. 

Here she speaks about how she developed acne, the effect it had on her and how she’s emerged from it almost scar free.

When did your acne first make an appearance?
Ironically, I actually went through most of my adolescent years without any skin issues apart from the odd hormonal spot. Acne for me made an appearance quite late in my early 20’s, which was strange, as I couldn’t understand where it had come from.

Asian Image:

Do you feel that something might have triggered or caused it?
I was studying at university, stress levels were particularly high, In addition I was also working full time hours. If I were to pinpoint one particular notable trigger, I’d say the stress I was subjected to at work was the defining factor. I had a particularly difficult manager who had singled me out and was intent on making me feel inadequate. I was the youngest person in the team and therefore that made me an easy target.

Asian Image:

Did you do anything about your acne?
I tried everything under the sun, from diet, skincare, routine, exercise, I even went to the doctors who put me on the contraceptive pill in the hope my acne would clear up. However nothing helped and I grew more and more desperate as it began to affect my confidence in a big way. 
I became obsessed with trying to get rid of my acne. I found myself constantly watching YouTube videos on the matter, consulting dermatologists, skin peels trying every recommendation, home remedies you name it, I tried the lot!

Do you think you over treated the acne and made it worse?
There were times I would give my skin a break, see no change and then get desperate again. It was a vicious cycle.

Asian Image:

Asian Image:

How would you describe your acne flare up?
The majority of my acne was on my cheeks; they were angry, red, raised and very painful. It completely consumed me at its worse.

How did this effect you psychologically?
I felt I became housebound, and would need a full face of makeup in order to just leave the house. It knocked my confidence completely, I wouldn't take a single selfie without a filter and when people spoke to me I was convinced they were looking at my acne rather than engaging with me. I was paranoid I was a catfish in the sense I looked different in person to how I did on my social media. 
It made me completely rethink my attitude towards people with acne as I could totally empathise with them. 

Your skin is clear now, what changed? What did you do and how did you go about it?
After having done lots of my research I felt I could have an in depth discussion with my GP rather than just take the advice given to me. 

We went through my past medical history and it was agreed that I would try oral antibiotics and even this was trial and error. At my most desperate I was prepared to go on a very serious acne drug called Roaccutane, I’m just very thankful it didn't come to that. 

Once the acne was no longer active due to the Antibiotics I was left with lots of blemishes and hyper-pigmented areas. It was then I decided to book in for a derma roller session to help with the scarring. Derma roller causes trauma to the skin where it is is encouraged to repair itself quicker. 
(Please note: it is advisable for you to do your own research and have a consultation with an expert in this field prior to undertaking such procedures)

Asian Image:

Asian Image:

I also gave my skin time to breathe and heal without wearing makeup and not over stimulate it with lots of products. I think doing too much to your skin and not fully understanding the products and ingredients further exacerbates the problem. 

Going makeup free was particularly hard, but I felt it was necessary, as I knew wearing a mask of makeup was not helping and as a result I’m a lot less dependent on it. When I do wear makeup, I actually enjoy it. My relationship with it has definitely changed in a more positive way. 

Everyone’s journey is different, and what works for one may not work for another. Do your research, ask your GP to refer you to a Dermatologist, be patient as it might take a while to find ‘your ‘solution. It is out there, just don't give up!

This feature appeared in the August Edition of Asian Life here