The year is 2007. Am in form 2 and just starting to experience adolescence, at least bits of it. Okay, just three bits of it. When my classmates were blooming into curvaceous ladies and getting overly dramatic or secretive about boys and some teachers on teaching practise ( those poor souls), my body was having a frenzy breaking out into ugly pimples EVERYWHERE. When you have as many pimples as I had, you didn’t have pimples or breakouts ( which is a fancy way people with otherwise smooth skin call the rare one or two pimples that appears on their skin), you have acne. Or severe acne. Every part of the body the biology books said you would probably get acne, well, my body took that memo as seriously as a soldier takes orders from their commander. My face, upper arms, my entire back broke out in pimples, which were sometimes big and really painful ( which didn’t deter me from breaking them anyway).
I remember I had a mirror in class that I used to check for “ripe” ones ( properly referred to as whiteheads). I didn’t have low self-esteem even then, but I wasn’t going to walk around school with those yuck things on my face, or elsewhere. The result, as you have been warned by beauticians and lifestyle magazines world over is the dreaded blackheads. Am amazed by my younger brother who NEVER breaks pimples. Like EVER. Of course his face has no single blackhead and his skin is as clear and smooth as ever.
I never invested much in a skin -care routine beyond washing my face with soap and a face towel and the breaking (all terrible habits). In fact, my mother was much more concerned about my ‘skin condition’ than I was. Distressed seems like a more appropriate word to describe my mother’s feelings on this issue. Oh, and did she put me through gm’s and ml’s of skin care products. If the product description had so much as the word pimple or acne on it, I was on it. I would use it for as long as my patience lasted, which was about two weeks, on the higher side. *monkey emoji* When all that didn’t work, you guessed right, I was sent to the doctors and the gels I was prescribed went straight from the chemist counter to the garbage bin at home. You know those things you look at for the first time and you can’t believe somebody made them to be applied to a human being’s face? They were that bad. The gels.
I wasn’t a patient person back then and by the end of form three I stopped trying to manage the acne. Well, I stopped my mother from trying to deal with it. I didn’t throw a fit or exchange words, nor do I remember having a sit down to calmly express my views on the subject; I was born in the early 90’s, in Kenya *chuckle* . There were things that you just didn’t get into with your parents unless you were on a suicide mission. If my mother and I had any doubts, they were settled by a sunburn experience I suffered one time in shagz. It was so severe splashing water gently on my face made me wince. The soothing balm I applied for the week it took the scaly skin to peel off was the last skin product I used. I have gone through every experience any person with severe acne can possibly go through. The unbelievable pity stares from people who probably think to themselves “this poor girl”, the concern from family members and friends who can’t stop themselves from recommending products or home remedies for your troubled skin, the occasional self -pity ( if you’re normal you will experience this sometimes), the temptation to try out some wonder product. By the way, I once tried those mafutas sold along River Road by very light mamas with flawless skin…After about 3 days, my face started to look a little smooth. A good friend of mine with whom I had shared the cream with ( Always try out new things or places with your friends) called me a few days later and told me that that cream had worsened her ‘skin condition’. She was scared and I could feel the blame coming my way. Fast. That tub of cream was disposed off promptly. Come to think of it, what was I doing buying that cream from River Road??! *Loud sigh* For the next couple of years I would do everything True Love says not to do: wash, scrub my face with a face towel lathered with soap ( sacrilegious) and apply vaseline , never mind that I have notoriously oily skin.
Fast Forward to 2016. My skin is not as bad as it used to be. I can’t say exactly when this happened. I still have blackheads on my back ( which I happen to really like), my upper arms and my face (I want to wake up one day and find them gone). My skin still breaks out but having lived with worse cases over the years, I could be having Ajuma’s amazing skin for all I care. However, years of faithfully reading True Love are starting to take root in my psyche. I start to look at my skin like it has feelings and I feel a little guilty for not caring for it like I should. There are alot of options : from home made remedies to luxurious skin care products and a lot of stuff in between. Me being me, I dismissed cleanser d and toners.
“Psst, too much work, ” I said.
I got a moisturiser ( Himalayas) and sunscreen (Nivea). I stuck to this routine until Himalayas stopped stocking their moisturiser. I remember this one time I went to every freaking supermarket in Eldoret just looking for it and finding the last remaining tub in Tuskys, Zion Mall. Lucky me.
I couldn’t rely on Himalayas much even though we had had a steady relationship for a year so I had to find another product in it’s place. The period between then and now is pretty fuzzy (how I describe things when I don’t pay them much attention) but sunscreen has remained as a constant element.
Enter Oriflame. I was introduced to Oriflame by a friend but I didn’t make a purchase until two months later. I knew I wanted quality skin care products that I could afford and Oriflame provided me with much more, that and a business opportunity. To look good and make money while at it. You don’t have to tell me twice. I went ahead and bought *don’t you dare roll your eyes* a cleanser, toner and moisturiser. All with tea tree as the key ingredient ( do a little web trotting and read all the benefits of tea tree for the skin).
I have quit washing my face with soap (Yipee) since and am sticking to cleansing and toning using cotton wool. It might take intervention to keep me from breaking new pimples though. Old habits really do die hard after all. I have decided to become emotionally and financially vested in caring for my skin henceforth. I have decided I want to look like am twenty-something when I hit my 40’s or 50’s many years to come and the only way to do that as True Love verily assures us is to start NOW. If there’s anything like happy skin, I want mine to be it, or at least say that I tried my very best.
What I will do here as a way to stay accountable to myself is to keep a diary of my skin-care journey, complete with pictures so that I can stay on track and also monitor how these products are treating my skin. I am so doing this! Yes! I am binning all those terrible, hehe, habits and embracing good manners as far as taking care of my skin is concerned. I want this to serve as an encouragement to anyone battling acne consciously or unconsciously (that would be living with a don’t care attitude) to either take a break because I know trying to manage acne sometimes makes it worse or to take courage and do something about it. It will cost you some good money but what good thing doesn’t? As an Oriflame consultant, I will also be sharing my business journey with Oriflame Sweden and perhaps how you can be a consultant yourself :-).