"PCOS has given me a reason and place to start with my skin. It wasn’t like oh, you don’t take care of your skin, that’s why you have acne. I have PCOS and acne is a symptom of that. Now, I'm no longer searching for the perfect skincare to make it go away. This is something I have and I'll have it forever. I feel like I can be open about my skin because I know how it feels not having an answer and I want to help those who are suffering find their cause as well."
Hey guys! Welcome, or welcome back to the blog! This week I wanted to take some time to introduce the brand new Banish Warriors for Banish. If you're not aware of what a "Banish Warrior" is, they basically share their own journeys in dealing with acne while embodying what the company stands for; strength, empowerment, determination, and courage.
Each warrior is unique in their own way, from healing themselves internally through diet and focusing on the external esthetic factors of skin to being a lover for makeup and a positive ray of sunshine for all acne sufferers. The four warriors each present a unique personality and outlook when it comes to what truly defines them as the embodiment of Banish. This week, I sat down with each of them individually in one-on-one interview and got to pick their brains.
Today's Interview and blog post is going to be all about the new banish warrior, Rebecca (@prettyin_pcos). As a long-time acne sufferer and esthetician, I asked if it ever affected her work life or made herself conscious and we also chatted about her experience prior and post diagnosis of PCOS. Keeping reading below to get to know all about Rebecca, her journey with PCOS, and the message she plans on spreading through her social media channels.
cystic acne overnight
Creating her account just this past January, Rebecca was bursting with inspiration. She found the acne community on Instagram and thought, if other people can do this and post their acne online, why can't I? Growing up, she never really had acne, maybe one or two pimples in high school but nothing severe. Once she began attending university, it all started to spiral downwards.
"I was in college and remember waking up with one cyst on my chin. The next day it was like I woke up with 47, it practically happened overnight and I've been struggling with acne ever since."
This is a story we can all relate to, and I think is becoming more and more common with young adult women all across the world. Despite her battle with acne she refused to give up. Instead it lit a spark inside of her and she decided to attend beauty school where she could learn more about her skin and help others who were suffering with acne as well.
an esthetician with acne
As an esthetician, a lover of skincare, and a sufferer of adult acne; sharing her journey for the world to see just made sense. No one knows the acne struggle better than Rebecca. As an esthetician where people base your skills off the clarity of your own skin, being taken seriously was at times a struggle to say the least. She felt the pressure of not having clear skin on a daily basis as it directly affected her work life. At times she even noticed her clients staring at her skin, which was pretty hard when she couldn't even explain to them why she was breaking out.
"People would look at me, while I had bad acne and I would recommend products. I could feel their distrust but they would oftentimes still take my advice. And it would work for them! But never for me."
And why didn't it work? Regardless of whatever bright and shiny new skincare she tried it would keep the acne at bay, but it would never completely go away. Her acne was extremely resilient to any treatment (sound familiar?). Well, after a quick visit to the doctor she finally got the answer she was looking for. Rebecca had PCOS. If you've never heard of it, PCOS (otherwise known as polycystic ovarian syndrome) is a very common hormonal imbalance that affects around 1 out of every 10 girls. The side effects range from facial hair growth and acne to hair loss.
I personally know several people who have dealt with PCOS and also have persistent acne. Because it's an internal issue, hormonal acne caused by PCOS can be resilient to almost any external treatment. Rebecca was no different, sometimes having cystic spots that would stay for months. Getting a diagnosis has been a blessing, armed with the proper care inside and outside, her skin has been consistently clear for the first time since she can remember.
After countless nights of frustration, she finally had her answer. Being diagnosed with PCOS was finally an answer to her mystery illness and gave her closure for her skin.
"Before I didn't understand why I was breaking out or why I was losing hair. It was like oh you're stressed, your hormones are imbalanced, you're not eating correctly. I'm an esthetician so I know how to properly take care of my skin. But now, its opened a whole new door for me, knowing that I am dealing with PCOS I can treat the symptoms internally and figure out a solution."
She never knew about PCOS, or that it was even a real possibility that she could be diagnosed with. The trigger behind it? Well, Rebecca can't be sure but she strongly believes it was triggered due a birth control she was on, called the depo shot. During this time period her symptoms got worse, her acne got much worse and she was the healthiest she had ever been. With personal training sessions at the gym 4 times a week and clean eating it was a puzzle to fully understand what was happening to her body. But now she understands, although there's no history of PCOS diagnosis in her family she thinks her mom may deal with it as well, as her acne also began in college.
how to deal with symptoms
Rebecca feels the same way I'm sure many of us feel, we want to treat out symptoms by doing the least amount of damage to our body as possible. For that reasons, she has chosen to treat it as naturally as possible. After her previous experience with birth control, she doesn't think that she will do it again but may consider a non-hormonal type option.
As far as symptoms go, acne has affect her the most. She still continues to struggle but has mainly got it under control with skincare that has both minimal and clean ingredients, like Banish. But she still deals with hair loss and other little things here and there. Another common symptom is excess body hair but she personally never experienced that, as that typically effects darker skin tones. Although every day is a battle, with a diagnosis there is a light at the end of the tunnel. She realizes that this is how her body is, and what's going on can't be solved by a magic pill.
"I just try to stay positive and knowledgeable, that's all you can really do. Research, study, take notes and copy things down; you just have to take it day by day and get to know your own body. You're the best judge of yourself so you have to tailor an individual treatment plan that fits you. Try adding or taking away stuff from your routine, but not too much. It's an overwhelming process so make sure to just focus on one issue at a time."
rebecca´s advice for other pcos-ers
"The most important thing: just hang in there. Take a breath. Step back for a second and put the products down. You're beautiful with or without acne. You won't ever be cured of PCOS but just hang in there. There are things that will help you to deal with your symptoms. There will be good days, bad days, and everything in between. Focus on the good stuff, take control, and it won't ruin your life. You can do it, tell yourself this every day. It might not ever completely go away, but it will get better. "
It's important to remember there's no one solution. In the health industry and the beauty industry everyone talks about a magic pill or diet, but most of the time it doesn't work. Everyone's journey is different so it's important to remember that just because something works for someone else, it doesn't necessarily mean that it'll work for you. But don't give up hope! Now that there's a community of acne sufferers and people dealing with PCOS alike on Instagram, it's given us all a way to connect, share our struggles, and uplift one another with encouragement.
You can also watch Rebecca´s Warrior introduction video here: