I’ve always prided myself on my skin. Sure I have a birthmark and redness, but my skin has always been relatively clear and has taken very little effort to keep it that way. I’d occasionally get the odd, small blemish, but really when it came to my skin I was lucky and I knew it.
Since being diagnosed with PCOS and coming off of the pill, all that has changed.
I am rarely without a cluster of spots around my chin and mouth. Just when I think I have got rid of one, another two will appear. I use cleansers and lotions, but the spots just keep persisting all month round. The chin and mouth is apparently the zone for ‘hormonal spots’, which is great for understanding why they are there but doesn’t help me feel any less self conscious about them.
And I do feel self conscious about them. Generally in Australia I wear less makeup due to the heat, but I want to cover up these spots. Applying thick foundations and concealers makes me feel conscious of how much makeup I’m wearing when it’s hot and in all honesty you can still see them anyway.
When I aren’t wearing makeup, I find it hard not to focus on them. I’ve been used to seeing my face one way for twenty-five years and now it looks different. I know it could be worse and all of the other supportive lines we tell ourselves when we go through times of self doubt, but knowing you have lived your whole life before with something being so different is hard to let go of.
Usually when I write about body image, I write about things I have come to accept and embrace. I am still getting there with this. PCOS has changed a lot of things for me health wise and I have more worries than I did before – these spots are a visual reminder of that. They make my body feel alien to me. It’s not the skin and body I have grown up with.
I know in time I will get there and accept them, just like I have done with things like cellulite and my birthmark, but for now I feel in the middle of that journey. For now I am struggling with feeling confident barefaced. It feels a little like one step forward, two steps back, or one spot gone, two more appeared.
I guess I’m writing this post to say that we don’t have to love everything about ourselves all the time. Our bodies change, our insecurities develop. Some we can grow to deal with, sometimes we are handed new ones to learn to accept. Self acceptance isn’t a linear journey – there are forks in the road, unexpected twists, loop-the-loops that have you right back where you started.
But in the end, you get there. I’ll get there. We get one body. It’s up to us to love it in every form.