Skin warriors

In recent years, I’ve put myself up as a bit of a poster child/ poster old woman for skin stuff. Acne, rosacea, eczema, I’ve been there, done that and got the Tshirt. I’ve tried most treatments and I’ve heard the same old crappy advice from well-meaning people who know nothing about the severity of the situation I’ve been in.

Recently, I’ve had a new role, I’ve been fighting a battle for my son as well as myself. And all parents know that we fight a lot harder for our kids than we do for ourselves. We feel their pain, we want to take it away from them.

Acne has been in the news recently and I’ve been a little bit under the spotlight again, talking about my own acne and my son’s. So I felt inspired to set the record straight on some things I’ve learned and that matter to me, my son and other acne sufferers. My advice might help other sufferers and other parents of sufferers.

And if you’re a parent of a teen, who likes ‘banter’ (which I tend to think is borderline bullying) please point out to them how upsetting banter and memes and jokes can be…

  • Acne can be mild, moderate or severe
  • Mild acne can probably be treated with over-the-counter washes and treatments
  • Teenagers may accept a degree of mild acne because it’s the norm
  • For moderate acne, go to your GP
  • GPs can offer a huge range of treatments – both topical and oral, including but not limited to, various different antibiotics
  • For most people, a prescription from the GP should be sufficient to cure their acne
  • If the treatment doesn’t work, go back to the GP and request another treatment
  • If your GP won’t help, make an appointment with another GP
  • In the case of severe acne, ask your GP for a referral to a dermatologist
  • It’s not easy to get an appointment with a dermatologist and you will probably have a long wait!
  • If you end up seeing a dermatologist, the likelihood is you will be prescribed Roaccutane

Roaccutane, acne, 365

If you have mild acne, you may find that eating less chocolate, drinking more water or going to bed earlier clears your skin up. THIS DOESN’T WORK WITH MODERATE OR SEVERE ACNE!

There is nothing worse for someone with bad acne to hear someone say ‘Have you tried eating more vegetables?’ Because, yes, they have tried eating more vegetables! Some people are just really unlucky and no amount of ‘clean living’ is going to clear up their skin.

Also, it’s very hard for people with acne to hear people complaining in real life or on social media that they have ‘a spot’. Believe me, people with acne would give anything to have A SPOT. Just one, not hundreds of bleeding, sore, unsightly painful spots.

And it’s not funny when people post memes on social media of ‘what it looks like when girls cover their spots’. We don’t mock people for being fat, thin, having frizzy hair, wonky teeth or big ears, so don’t mock them for having spots and doing their best to make themselves feel better about them.

People with spots aren’t dirty. They do wash. They probably wash more than most other people. They’re already feeling bad about themselves. They don’t want to see these jokes or ‘banter’ or memes. Feeling bad about yourself physically can lead to mental health problems, including depression and anxiety. Banter and bullying help to exacerbate this situation. I’d like to think that most people wouldn’t want that on their conscience.

There’s a misconception that it’s ‘worse for girls’ because girls care more about their appearance. Yes, generally they do care more about their appearance. So there’s lots of advice online for girls – whether from experts or from vloggers. There really isn’t a lot for boys. DON’T FORGET ABOUT THE BOYS! They suffer too. I know, because my son has had some of the worst acne imaginable. He has coped very well with it, but it hasn’t been easy for him.

OK, so that was a bit of a rant that I needed to get off my chest. But the point is, if you’ve got acne, there is help out there. And if you haven’t got acne, BE NICE. Put yourselves n the shoes of sufferers. How would you feel if someone asked you if you ever wash?

My skin may be clear now (thank you dermatologist and Roaccutane), but after suffering for 30 years and now raising my own acne sufferers, I’m going to carry on being a skin warrior. Because I’ve been there, done that and got the Tshirt.

Bad skin, Acne, Rosacea



After the Playground

Author: Sarah Mummy

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  1. Sarah,

    You’re not a poster o** w****, you’re a poster WAHM!

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    • Thank you! I love that 🙂

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  2. I think you are amazing putting yourself forward like that to help others – as I can only imagine how difficult it may have been. Like you say some people are so thoughtless in what they say or do but some of the above I find down-right shocking.

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    • Thanks very much! It wasn’t easy, but you just have to carry on. I’m still terrified of it coming back though! I’ve been quite lucky myself with other people’s comments (apart from the obsession with a clean diet and drinking water etc, which I always do anyway!) but talking to other people I’ve heard a lot of the same things crop up.

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  3. I’m always in awe of anyone who puts themselves forward to champion a cause they believe in. Your son is, no doubt, very proud of you.

    I think you made some important points here, and yes, boys have feelings too!

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    • Thanks very much! I’m very proud of my son too for the way he has dealt with his acne, which is genuinely some of the worst I have ever seen. It does annoy me that people think it’s ‘worse for girls’. Have they tried being a teenage boy?!

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  4. Well done Sarah, you do an amazing job to speak out for people with acne, especially for teens who might not have the confidence to speak up for themselves. I’m a huge fan of banter between friends when it’s all well meaning but wouldn’t dream of joking about anything like this.

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    • Thanks very much! It’s not easy for teenagers to speak up, but a lot easier when you’re 43! Banter between friends is great, but I’ve noticed that teenagers these days seem a lot nastier with their banter, which is really sad. They seem to think that if they label it ‘banter’ they can get away with what is essentially bullying 🙁 x

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  5. Amazing post. I appreciate your efforts and courage. Well done very motivational.
    Thank you very much…

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    • Thanks very much! After suffering for so many years I realise I’ve experienced most things and I’m full of advice and thoughts! I could probably write a book 🙁

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  6. Brilliant post and all that you’re doing to raise awareness will help someone out there so much. I just can’t believe people create memes about acne? How cruel is that and what is wrong with people?

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    • Thanks very much! I know my Roaccutane posts get a few views every day, so it makes me happy to think maybe I’m making a difference.
      I haven’t experienced the memes myself, but younger people I have spoken too see them popping up on social media quite often. It’s so cruel! People are so thoughtless 🙁

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  7. You are so fab for raising awareness about skin stuff. I have learned so much just from reading your blog.

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    • Thanks very much! That’s really good to hear. I know there are blogs where I have learned a lot about conditions I knew nothing about previously, so it’s nice to know I’m doing that too!

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  8. You are an excellent spokesperson and I, for one, am listening to what you say. This is a hugely useful post – very informative and down to earth. Thank you so much for sharing with us at #TweensTeensBeyond.

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    • Thanks very much! It felt like a bit of a rant, but hopefully it made some sense to people too.

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  9. Sarah as you know I have been there with both mine having moderate acne so can empathise in part and couldn’t agree more that our children’s pain and anxiety is the worst. My daughter in particular hates it when people (esp other girls) say to her “wow your acne is looking so much better at the moment!” For her that just suggests she looks rubbish most of the time. She doesn’t want people to comment on it or discuss it, she just wants to get on with her life and for others to look at her beyond her skin. I admire her every day she walks out the door. So hope the treatment is working well for your son. Thanks for joining us again, this is such an important issue and you are amazing at helping others to cope. #TweensTeensBeyond

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    • Thanks very much! So glad your daughter is coping. My son is doing brilliantly. He was in such a bad way that many kids in his position would have refused to go out the door! I let him have one day off school with it, then we got the dermatologist referral and he picked himself back up and got on with life.
      I can understand your daughter’ not wanting people to mention her skin, but strangely I always wanted people to mention it! I wanted an acknowledgement of my suffering. I knew people would be looking at me and thinking about my skin and I wanted them to actually say something (only nice people that I actually know!). I guess that’s the difference in perspective of a 40-something woman and a young girl.

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  10. I’m 50 this year. Spent my teens with dermatologists. Used heavy ‘veil’ makeup,every cream in the book and eventually,roaccutane. Now still suffer from skin issues anxiety etc, still have steroid creams from time to time and am currently on a different strong antibiotic. I think i have dermatillomania… Look it up. UK docs don’t acknowledge it .

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    • So sorry to hear you have suffered for so long. I am still on Roaccutane after nearly three years because my skin goes bad if I come off it. I’m only on a very low dose (5mg) which is apparently safe in the long term. Thanks, I’ll look up dermatillomania – I’ve never heard of that.

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  11. Can I say how beautifully brave you are Sarah. Sharing this is a huge help to others. Such a debilitating condition. I suffered with acne in my teens and was terribly self conscious. No one really talked about it back then and I always felt very ashamed. I was too embarrassed to ask for help or to even mention it and did the most unhelpful things to try and help my skin. I always had such an interest in skincare and went on to train as a beauty therapist alongside my full time work. My efforts managed to pay for the deposit for my first home – so I guess there is a positive in there on looking back! I always felt that I was the only one who had it but when I look around now and see how the teens just take it in their stride, I find it heartening. Your before and after pictures are amazing and will be a brilliant incentive to other sufferers. Well done you for bringing such a great post to us at #tweensteensbeyond

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    • Thanks very much! It’s so hard having acne for teens. I think I first went to the doctor’s with mine at 14 and have been using some form of prescription medication for mine from the age of 16 until the present day (43!). It’s great that yours inspired you to work in beauty and earn yourself that bit of cash! Mine has just made me ultra-aware of protecting my kids. Right now, I’m watching my 11 year old daughter like a hawk because she suddenly has spots 🙁

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  12. Great post, enjoyed reading it. My eldest daughter has been using cream on her face for a number of years now to keep it ‘clear’ she hasnt suffered from Acne but enough spots to make it an issue for her. Her back and chest are the worst which the cream doesnt seem to work on as well and she is very self conscious of it. My teenager son has spots but he seems ok with it at the moment. My youngest daughter, however has a face full of spots and as yet is not overally self conscious. Although fearing secondary school is near i think this may change so its a trip to the doctors for her soon to get cream. Is true what you say, no matter of eating veg etc will change it, my eldest doesnt eat veg but my youngest does yet they both suffer!!

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    • I hope your youngest daughter does get any worse! It’s good to hear your other kids are coping pretty well though. Knowing how quickly our family go downhill, I have just made an appointment for my 11yo daughter to see the GP for some cream.

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