Thursday, May 10, 2012

A Real Secret

I use this blog for many things. It is a place I document milestones in our life. I share recipes. I tell stories. I let you preview things I've sewn or crafted. I hope that you get to see who I really am. I probably share more here, than I do in real life. Maybe more than is necessary. I have felt for almost a year now to share something with you that is really personal and every time I try to write it, I decide that it isn't something that needs to be shared. With summer temps being here, I am reminded of this thing daily. I feel that maybe if I share, I can finally accept it and move on. Maybe I won't, but I'll at least be one step closer. 

I've struggled for years now with skin that breaks our more times a year than a bar fight. I have let this, my outward appearance, keep me from so many things.

Years ago, I struggled with acne on my face. In college, I remember taking natural medicine and my roommate and friends thought I was crazy. I tried Proactiv. I made several dermatologist appointments and spent money on almost any and every type of 'skin clearing remedy' anyone recommended. I skipped going out because make-up just wouldn't cover it. I worked at a restaurant where people always saw my face. I also worked at a bank where again my face was exposed. One time I was asked if I got hit by a truck because I had a very large broken out area on my chin. As an 18 year old girl, how do you respond to this? My parents supported me and probably felt helpless because they knew their child was hurting on the inside and there was no quick fix. I was picked at by my brothers and sister but I know they were deep down trying to help ease the situation. We use comedy in our family so much that I wish now I wouldn't have gotten so offended. And I apologize to them if I ever made fun of them for any reason. I had one serious boyfriend before I met my now husband. Sadly, I can't remember him ever calling me beautiful or pretty. My friends knew it was a sensitive subject and more than not it was never talked about, unless of course I brought it up.

That's been years ago, and since my skin has cleared..on my face. Which leads me to my back. 

On my wedding day, I put this fear aside. I knew that not ONE person would say anything to me about it. I felt beautiful and flawless the way every bride should on a couple's special day.

Other than that, I've been hiding it for years. I currently have my hair as long as it's ever been to help cover it up. I pick out only clothes that will not leave my skin exposed. I skip out on invitations to the pool or beach, and often give those who invite me a lame excuse instead of telling them why I don't want to go. I've missed out on way to many pool dates with my sister to count and she graciously understood and we did other things.

I've allowed this to control me. I'm ready to face that fear or at least admit to you that I'm not perfect and that I have insecurities. I know that it isn't going to be easy. I'm going to put on tank tops or dresses and at the last minute change my mind and put on something to cover it up. But here is the thing, it really doesn't matter. 

This is me, this is who I am. I know with my whole entire heart, I would never lose a friend over this and this would never interfere with making new friends. They are going to love me for me, not for my skin. I should know better than this. I can however lose friends because of an ugly heart, an awful attitude, being negative, saying hurtful things, lieing, gossiping, and not being true to myself. 

I encourage you to look inward for the real source of beauty each and everyone of us have been given.

1 Peter 3:3-4 Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight. 

Also, a quick special thank you to my encouraging and loving husband who makes me feel beautiful every single day. 


  1. Lauren, I've been in your shoes. I had horrible acne as a teenager and then it semi-cleared up for a while. Right around 24 or 25 it came back with a vengeance. My back, chest and shoulders were horrible. My face had good and bad weeks. It was humiliating for me. My boyfriend at the time had a boat and his parents had a big houseboat. We were on the lake every weekend. I wore swimsuits, but I was very uncomfortable and self-conscious the entire time.

    I tried switching birth control pills, going to the dermatologist, ProActiv, Mary Kay, Clinique, you name it. Nothing helped.

    Finally, I just quit using all the products. I switched from a bar of soap to the Dove body wash. It moisturizes my skin just enough to keep it from drying out and causing acne. I also switched to the plain orange Neutrogena face wash (as recommended by my new dermatologist. I have the Retin-A micro, a topical antibiotic, and an oral antibiotic from my dermatologist to use as well, but I don't. The Retin-A micro is nothing like the original Retin-A that I used in the 90s but I hate having to worry about being in the sun while using it. I use the topical and oral antibiotics if I'm having a bad breakout.

    I stopped using all liquid foundations and concealers. I use only the Bare Escentuals powders now. It takes a while to get used to less coverage on the pimples, but really it draws less attention to them than cakey concealers and liquid foundations. It also doesn't continue to clog pores like the others do. I know their ads state you can sleep in their make-up, but I can't. My face needs to be clean...I rinse my face with warm water and a wash cloth before bed. If I try to use the Neutrogena more than once a day it wants to dry my face out thus causing more breakouts.

    Hair products: If you are using any sprays, make sure all exposed skin is covered with a towel or something before using them. If you have to use something more make sure you are washing off your back and shoulders before bed. If you sleep with hair product in, make sure you change your pillow case daily. Any styling products on the hair go straight to the pillow case and onto your face and clogging pores.

    I'm about to be 35 in July. I still have my days where my skin is more like a 13-year-old boy than a 35 year-old-woman. I do know that it is much better now than it was 10 years ago. I don't know if it is age or the changes to skin care that I've made.

    Maybe some of my little tricks will help you if you haven't already tried them. At least they won't cost you an arm and a leg.

    I'm sure I've rambled enough, but I just wanted to let you know that you are not alone and you are a beautiful lady!

  2. What a courageous thing to share with your readers. I am sorry you have struggled with this. I too have dealt with skin issues over the years. Not fun. You're an inspiration for coming out with this. I appreciate a blogger who can keep it real. :)

  3. I've dealt with this my whole life too, sometimes it was so so so bad. No matter what I tried it never went away. The first time in my life (since puberty anyway) that I didn't have acne on my face, chest, and back was when I was pregnant with my first daughter. After she was born, it came back but it wasn't AS bad as it was before. It is gone again now with this pregnancy and I'm hoping it is even less severe when (and if? could I be so lucky?) it comes back afterwards. As I get older the acne scars bother me less and less and I guess that's normal as we realize we are more than just our skin. I know people always say "It's what's on the inside that matters" but I feel like it's taken me my whole life to really "get" that. Even now, there are moments where I'll obsess over weight, or a stretch mark I think I see, or a potential wrinkle and it takes me right back to where I was with acne and I just have to remind myself "You know? It really DOESN'T matter" - because truly, it doesn't. Anyone who it really does matter to, or who gets fixated on those things about you, they don't matter either. The people that matter, it won't mean a thing to them, and it shouldn't to you either. :)

  4. Oh goodness me, I just stumbled across your blog.
    I'm really glad that I did.
    Thanks for sharing something so personal with everyone.
    I have never really dealt with acne, but struggled immensely with my weight. :/
    I just wanted you to know that your worth and beauty is definitely found in the grace of God!
    For in Psalm 139 (my favorite Psalm, btw):14: "I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made.."

    AMEN, sister!
    You are gorgeous.
    Here is to wishing you the Happiest Friday!
    much love, colie.

  5. What a beautiful post! Thank you for your realness and honesty. I know it's not easy to talk about these things (especially on the Internet) but it really does help so many of us feel closer to you. I struggled with these same things for SO long. I couldn't wear spaghetti straps or tank tops because I was too embarrassed by my back. Nothing worked until I started taking the pill. In one of my wedding pictures, you can see the horrible scarring on my back. I usually forget they are even there but I'll never forget how I felt for so many years. I'm proud of you and think you are such a beautiful woman! :)

  6. Lauren,
    I went to high school with you and I would have NEVER guessed you had any skin issues. I saw you every single day and I always looked up to you and thought you were beautiful. Every girl in your high school group was beautiful. That said, I have the same problem on my back and I have redness on my face that I've been struggling with for MONTHS. Even though I have insurance, I haven't met the deductible, so I can't afford the prescription for my face. I've tried tons of otc medication. The.only.thing that has worked for my back has been birth control. I never tried it until I was in my 20s, but most days it works pretty well. As for my face, my mom especially says "Are you sick?" and I continually say "No, my face is just red." Are you feeling ok? Your face is flushed. "Yes, I feel fine, my face is always red." Even with makeup... I can't go out without makeup. I understand where you're coming from. It's hard to deal with something that can make you feel so un-pretty inside and out. But I love your attitude and you're right, no one will judge you. At least not anyone who deserves your friendship. Thank you for the inspiration.

  7. Thank you for letting your hair down and opening up girl. Honestly you could have blue hair and pink eyes and still be gorgeous. You are not only physically beautiful but your soul shines through your appearance!

  8. Lauren,
    You are such a beautiful person, inside and out. I can't imagine the agony you have gone through. Being a woman is hard enough as it is. Who in the world needs added stress? The skin issues I have don't come very often but when they do, they last For-ever! The newest thing I've reserached and found to work is Tea Tree Oil. Walgreens had it. I just take a q-tip and dip it in the oil and put that straight on the problem. I had a monster come up two days ago (probably from stressing over planning a party) and I tried the oil thing again. It's almost G-O-N-E already. It dries them up really quick. I hope you find relief.
    You are gorgeous. Keep up your contagious attitue; it's inspiring many every single day.

  9. Hi Lauren, I am your newest follower, and I have to note that you are beautiful.

  10. Lauren. Thank you sooo much for sharing this. Your honesty is refreshing and inspiring! I hope your weekend has been a good one my dear.~

  11. Lauren, you are GORGEOUS! Inside and out...thanks for sharing what was on your heart :)

  12. I'm sorry your insecurities about your skin have made things hard for you - while I don't struggle with skin issues (besides hideous stretch marks from boob to thigh), I definitely struggle with body image issues. Issues that have kept me from enjoying my life and the lives of my kids for the past 10 years. I'm working on it... I'm glad you are too. Thanks for sharing.
    --also, your back picture looks pretty great, actually.

  13. Good for you being able to share something so sensitive with us all! I know it's not the easiest thing to be so transparent but sharing can sometimes ease your mind. Hugs to you dear!

    xo Shane