I was the kid who easily sunburned. I had eczema patches and unsightly warts. In my early teens I developed mild acne, which got progressively worse. Neither of my parents suffered from skin problems, nor did my younger siblings. I remember my parents researching, and struggling, to find solutions that might help me.
I was around eleven when I started seeing our dermatologist regularly. Dr. Bell wrote prescription after prescription, but he also treated me holistically. He had me use a gentle, unscented acne wash. I learned to make compresses out of chamomile and aloe for my face. I was told to avoid wheat, dairy, red meat, and citrus. At twelve I became the family vegetarian, making homemade peanut butter, oat bread, natural scrubs and salves.
By eighteen things were under control. Yet I was still dependent on prescriptions and my homemade food and skincare. Once I started college, and later a full-time job, it was almost impossible to keep up. When I was too busy to manage my complex self-care care rituals my skin flared up and reminded me of those days I did not want to leave the house, and when my face hurt so badly I couldn’t sleep.