Beautiful by Breakfast is home to my thoughts and experiences during a fifteen year struggle with acne.
Hey cysters! My name is Joanna. Welcome to my little corner of the internet where I provide a space dedicated to genuine, unaffiliated advice. I hope by sharing my story you will realise, you are not alone!
When I first developed acne in my early teens I felt ashamed and helpless. I had no idea of how to look after my skin, so visiting my local doctor seemed like the most logical step. Internally I was freaking out. I didn’t want to give the bully’s at school another reason to tease me.
At my first visit to the doctor in 2004, I was prescribed a topical antibiotic – Zineryt. When I saw no improvement with Zineryt I was prescribed Differin Gel and as a last attempt with topical solutions I was prescribed Dalacin T.
When I first started using Zineryt at fifteen, I had never had a skincare routine. As a skincare professional now, I remember how overwhelmed I used to feel choosing skincare products as a beginner. Everyone was saying different things. It was so confusing but I was too embarrassed to ask anyone for help. That girl is the reason I started Beautiful by Breakfast.
From 2005 – 2013, I tried various contraceptive pills to balance my hormones to combat my acne. Starting with Norethisterone and later Dianette, Microgynon, & Yasmin. In 2007, I was prescribed Minocycline oral antibiotics. I was given a 100mg dose of Minocycline each day for fifteen months. With no improvement to my skin I ended the course after experiencing symptoms of inflammatory bowel which later developed to Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). The symptoms of this condition took over my life for a long time. The pain and explosive episodes of diarrhoea were relentless and treating my acne had taken a back seat.
At eighteen I qualified as a beauty therapist with a passion for massage and skincare. My acne was at it’s worst. Being a model for students to practice their facials, makeup and facial waxing had taken its toll on my skin. I had to expose my acne to friends and colleagues regularly. And even though I was well practiced talking about it; I was dying inside from being the class guinea pig. The one upside was that I had perfected the art of concealing my acne with makeup.
While working in the beauty industry provided me with inside knowledge and access to cheaper skincare and treatments it also made it more confusing. Overtime I developed a warped perception of what being ‘beautiful’ was. My training had brainwashed me into thinking that skincare alone was the solution. And as the therapist who recommended that skincare; I needed to look a vision of health and beauty.
By the time I reached my mid-twenties I had evolved into a holistic therapist; moving as far as I could away from ‘beauty’. I was so done with acne. Everyone promised me by the time I reached my twenties I would have ‘grown out of it’. I was mentally exhausted. I had spent ten years patiently waiting for it to disappear. So I came to the conclusion that if I wanted to be free of acne, there was only one thing left to try…
In 2014 I reached the end of the nine month course of Isotretinoin, I couldn’t wait to stop taking the medication. The side-effects I experienced were manageable but by this point I was apprehensive about the toll it was taking on my body. My skin had mostly cleared. It was still very pink in appearance. My pores were tight and dry and my lips were constantly chapped. I still had a lot of congestion under the skin but no active cysts.
At the end of 2017, at twenty-eight and determined to enter my thirties with clear skin; I dedicated my time to discover the cause of my breakouts. I created Beautiful by Breakfast to spread love and acne positivity. Within a few weeks I posted a picture of myself on social media exposing my acne for the first time. With one click, years of acne anxiety washed away and I felt like I was no longer living a lie. This was the REAL me!
Understanding why I had acne was the key to my success in clearing my skin. After a process of elimination by journaling (and tests to confirm), I discovered I was allergic to dairy which caused me to breakout. This made treatment simple.
These days if I want to be acne free, I know what I have to do to make it happen. But since embarking on this journey, keeping my skin clear isn’t my first priority. I choose LIFE! And now I suffer with S.I.A (self inflicted acne) from one too many chocolate biscuits! Of course I would love to be blemish free without having to worry about how much dairy I eat but I’m no longer plagued by the same insecurities as I once was. I spent over a decade letting acne dictate what I did (or more appropriately didn’t do). No more!
If you need help understanding you’re breakouts, check out the Love Your Skin journal launched in 2019 to help blemished beauties all over the world banish their acne anxiety!