I’ve suffered from skin problems in one form or another all my life. I’d break out, freak out, head to the doctor, get some creams and feel better. Then another episode happens and the cycle begins again. I’d cry, stress, and scream in the past, not really considering that if I looked within and asked the questions I needed to ask would help me.
Now I’m no longer that naïve teen and have learned some lessons along the way as I blossomed into an adult. I still have skin breakouts from time to time, and as much as I hate it, I’ve come to accept that my body doesn’t always function optimally all the time. I’m not perfect.
In the fifteen years or so since my first eczema breakout, I have learned a lot about what is considered ‘beautiful’, and how to approach life. Here is some of what I have learned:
I stopped going to the dermatologist a long time ago because all I would do is sit in the office for five minutes, and walk out with creams, antibiotics and steroid pills. My skin would clear up and then it would flare up again. Over the years I started looking at more natural solutions to clear up my skin, including what I was eating. It took longer than a few days (unlike those creams), but my skin eventually cleared up. I didn’t like the experience of the doctor because in the end there was not much discussion about what was going with my body and 5 minutes isn’t really enough time to diagnose anything. By learning to slow down and really looking at other solutions taught me that it is ok to wait a little while for results to come. I apply this approach to other aspects of my life as best I can.
I used to get angry at models and other people I know for having flawless skin. I had a friend that would complain about her body, but she had beautiful skin! I realized then and there that everyone has something they don’t like about themselves. Also, people who appear to have beautiful skin might have problems with things like weight or other diseases. We all have flaws. Mine just happens to be my troublesome skin. I learned to focus on what parts of my body that I think am beautiful, like my eyes.
Health Comes First
Having eczema forced me to figure out what was causing these breakouts. After many years I was shocked to find out that diet plays a large role in skin health. If my digestion isn’t working as well as it should, then my skin breaks out. I’ve learned to appreciate these breakouts in way because it gives me a visual clue as to the condition of my health. I’ve moderated my diet because of this, and established a more disciplined routine through yoga. If I’m not healthy, my skin will show it. I noticed that my mind feels better, and I am happier as a result. I learned that if I put my health first, then good things will follow.
Beauty Comes From Within
It’s nice to have a good body and beautiful facial features but what does that matter if you have a horrible personality and have no friends. I have been fortunate in my life to have great friends who look beyond my physical imperfections and like me for who I am. During instances where I have bad breakouts and feel self-conscious, it is those very same people that tell me ‘you are beautiful on the inside’. In the end, do you marry or fall in love with someone for their looks? What happens if you get older and your beautiful face fades away? I try to focus on having a beautiful personality these days, rather than looking physically beautiful.
In hindsight, I am glad that I am able to learn all these lessons. It’s too bad that I have to have a condition like eczema to force me to do so.
Sarah Li Cain loves yoga, travel and photography, and blogs about all of the above at mumbledjumbles.wordpress.com.
Feel free to follow her on twitter @slicain