Before and Afters

I’ve shared lots of before and after pics, but they all focus on my body, which is where the most dramatic changes have taken place. Kate over at This is Not a Diet, it’s My Life suggested I do a face before and after and I thought it was a good idea. I never carried a huge amount of weight in my face, so it never occurred to me to do a comparison, as in that respect there’s been little change. But looking at that picture there, I’m seeing that there HAS been dramatic change. For the record, the pic on the left was a GOOD picture of me at the time, I remember seeing it and telling my husband to save it because I looked decent for a change.

There is a five-plus year time lapse between the two pics. I was 33 or 34 in the first pic, and the second was taken a few days ago (I’m 39 now). The most noticeable change is my skin. I wore makeup daily to camouflage my dull, problematic skin (I’ve got heavy foundation and blush on, as well as eye and lip makeup). I’ve suffered cystic, hormonal acne from about age 10. In my teens and early 20’s I tried everything, including three courses of Accutane, to clear up the problem, but nothing worked. I always had some pimples, and two weeks out of every month I would get deep, painful cysts along my jawline. By my 30’s I’d given up on finding a treatment and just found some cosmetic products that hid the issue decently and got on with my life. It was part of who I was. My dermatologist said I’d probably suffer with it through menopause.

Changing my lifestyle was NOT an instant miracle cure. Even as all my other health issues started to improve and eventually disappear, my acne remained. Like I said, I’d pretty much accepted it as part of life, and although I’d had some hope that a healthier diet would lead to improvement, I wasn’t surprised that it didn’t. Even two years into my lifestyle change I was still breaking out like clockwork before my period.

But I’m 3+ year into my lifestyle change now, and somewhere along the line, without my even noticing it, I stopped breaking out so badly. My skin hasn’t been on my radar for YEARS, simply because I’d accepted that I just have bad skin, and gotten on with life. But recently people have been complimenting my skin, more and more often, and then I took the second picture, without any makeup at all, in bright natural light, and when I saw it I was suddenly shocked and AWARE of what has happened to my skin. It’s beautiful. What? MY skin? It’s still not totally perfect, but what I have now are tiny, superficial little breakouts that go away quickly, I honestly can’t remember the last time I had a deep, painful cyst. I don’t think it was too terribly long ago, but when did the ‘switch’ flip? I can’t really tell you.

I’m sure it could be age. But I suspect it’s an indication that my body is still healing from decades of poor nutrition and inactivity. It’s a long, slow process. No magic pills, no quick fixes. Health takes time to (re)build, and the longer you cultivated illness, the longer it’s going to take your body to repair.

But make no mistake. Your body WILL repair, and you WILL heal. Be patient and give your body the tools it needs to do this important work. Real, whole, nutrient dense foods. Daily physical activity. Sleep. Patience.

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5 thoughts on “Before and Afters

  1. Ditto on the cystic acne. I’ve been eating a 90% clean diet now for three years, and, not so shockingly, my skin’s improved dramatically in that time.

  2. I, too, had acne since I was 12 (I just turned 40). I, too, had tried everything from Accutane/Antibiotics to every topical treatment available. I was the only one in my family with such a bad problem.

    I decided last year to finally get to the bottom of it. I noticed that when I first went vegan that my face cleared up a lot but like you still had the monthly breakouts including the cystic kind along my jawline. I also noticed that when I ate mainly fresh veggies/greens (lots of salads) and not a lot of packaged or grains I would clear really well but not completely.

    In the process I had my food allergies tested to find out that I had problems with milk/cheese, egg, gluten and garlic (weird on garlic). I was already not eating dairy and egg but the gluten and garlic were new to me.

    My face is now completely clear for the first time in my life. I kick myself for not finding this out sooner. I could have saved myself from almost 30 years of torture!

    The one good thing to come of this is that I can pass this knowledge on to my two daughters … one who just turned 12 this year. They eat vegetarian diets cooked by me … lots of greens, vegetables, beans, nuts, seeds, and fruit.

  3. Hey girl,
    I know this may sound kind of a stupid question, but I’m hoping you could answer it. What makeup products of and (and skincare products) do you use that were the most helpful and kindest to your skin? I’m still battling acne and I’m really trying to develop patience while I change my lifestyle. So in the meantime, I wanna make myself look as decent as possible. Can you help me out please?

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