Happy Skincare Saturday! We love hearing about people’s progress. We’re sharing a special testimonial from a faithful follower today. After adapting a more natural approach as outlined in the Purely Primal Skincare Guide, Kelsey was able to take control of her skin by changing her diet and her routine – healing her skin from the inside out! Thanks for sharing your story Kelsey! -Amanda
As most kids, aside from a very lucky few, I faced horrible acne when puberty hit. Even though my skin was less than perfect, I strived to be the straight A student- doing theatre, choir, speech team, and even being the president of my Drama Club. I was constantly putting myself out in the open, trying to be the flawless child, as if to defy the fact that my skin was less than perfect. Regardless of how I carried myself on the outside, on the inside I felt small and ugly. Behind closed doors I was a mess. Mornings were spent looking at the mirror in hopelessness. I cried in bathroom stalls after performances. I had to talk myself into walking into class every day instead of hiding. As I watched all my gal pals get boyfriends, get asked to dances, and be chased after- I spent my entire high school career as a single lady, and I blamed all of it on my acne.
Every concoction was tried to make it better. From my mother anxiously ordering multiple packs of ProActive to numerous trips to the dermatologist, nothing I did made it better. At that point I thought I had to be broken. I grew ashamed of myself. Something about me, my body, my skin- was forever cursed and not even a fairy godmother could get me out of it. Finally after multiple trips to the dermatologist, which felt more like therapy than anything, my doctor diagnosed me with severe to mild acne- more specifically, comedones and nodules. Translation? My face looked like a battleground. She promptly prescribed me Differin gel. Differin, for those of you who don’t know, is a Retanoid based gel that you apply once a day to your problem areas and it takes about two months for your skin to clear up. And to my surprise and glee, it did. But this clear skin came with a serious price.
My entire summers were spent outside, I worked for my hometown’s Parks and Rec program during the week and frolicked up at my cabin by the lakeside on the weekends. The skin on my face began to burn after just minutes of being outside, even with sun screen. And these burns were painful, peeling, red, and hot to the touch. I wore hats, I slathered on sunscreen every 30 minutes, I even wore a turban one day to beat the ultraviolet rays, but nothing worked. The worst was the delicate skin around my eyes, it would crack and burn and then scar. Again I was reduced to tears, I knew once and for all that my body was truly broken. I gave up. I stopped washing my face all together, stopped using Differin, and looked at starting my first year of college at a theatre conservatory with serious dread.
After moving away from my home town to the big wide city of Chicago to pursue acting I felt a renewed sense of self, as every kid feels I suppose when they go off to college. It was as if I could suddenly reinvent myself. I could be the wild, truly confident, and vivacious person I’ve always wanted to be, and maybe have the perfect crystal clear skin I always wanted to have. After one morning of reading the paper I stumbled across an article on the vegetarian and vegan diet being known to heal acne in certain cases. I was sold. My refrigerator was purged of eggs, chicken, beef, and bacon. In my eyes the grocery store became a mecca of healing potential- beans, greens, tofu, fruits, and sprouts. The sad truth was in those moments of mindful grocery shopping I was closer to healing myself than any doctor was. And my skin did clear up. I had the occasional pimple, but my strict diet of beans and vegetables kept my skin in check. But again, this all came at a serious price.
My nights were sleepless. I could never turn my brain off as soon as my head hit the pillow. I worried about my chosen career path as an actor. I worried about living in a big city away from home. I worried about why that boy that never seemed to have the courage to ask me out. I grew more anxious than ever. During the day it was a different battle- the mental fog. It felt like I was sloshing through my day. I never had enough clear mental energy to get myself through those vigorous physical acting classes. I became extremely forgetful, extremely thin, and extremely sleep deprived. Digestive issues started cropping up- the constant bloating and horrible digestive pains. But I kept telling myself that as long as my skin was clear I was healthy. At this point It seemed only normal that clear skin came with sacrifices. I knew that my body was broken and I just accepted the hand that fate dealt me.
After graduating from the conservatory my world crashed down around me. I had two of my best friends move away from Chicago, I watched fellow artists give up on their dreams, I had to put my cat to sleep, and I stood witness to a child dying. It felt like one blow after another and I never took the time to deal with the pain emotionally, I just kept chugging along. As an actor your life never slows down. You rush from one audition to another, you face constant rejection, your precious free time is spent memorizing impossible amounts of lines, but the truth is you LOVE it all. That’s why everyone thinks actors are crazy, and guess what? We totally are. During this time I (so wisely) took on a customer service job doing shift work to pay the bills. Up at 3:30am five days out of the week. Needless to say my sleep schedule became even more dysfunctional. I started gaining weight, my acne started cropping up, and I was holding on by a thread.
That’s when I found out I had Celiacs and then miraculously found Robb Wolf. A friend had left his book out on the front desk where I worked. My diet still consisted of beans and vegetables, and of course endless cups of coffee to keep my heart beating. I honestly thought I was the pinnacle of health. Looking back now I have to laugh, but then I was a holier-than-though vegan. So then Mr. Robb Wolf took me on an emotional roller coaster ride. Page after page shot down every belief I held about diet, but something about it made sense to me. Some little voice inside me was screaming out for bacon, eggs, and grass fed meat. So I started reading more online and that’s when I found Liz. Beautiful, hilarious, Primal goddess Liz. I promptly subscribed to all her podcasts, started reading all her blogs, and went out and bought a dozen farm fresh free-range eggs and a big grass fed steak. That first Paleo meal I will never forget. I took one bite out of that steak and started crying. I kid you not, I started sobbing because my body needed the iron so freaking badly that I responded in the only way I could- emotionally. After the meal disappeared in about 15 seconds I spent the rest of my day with a sense of clarity and energy I hadn’t felt since high school. MEAT! Everywhere I saw it, smelled it, my mouth watered over all of the new possibilities. I fell completely in love with cooking, making up my own Paleo recipes, and sharing them with other Primal friends.
The digestive problems cleared up, and my skin was healthier than ever. For a good three months I was in paradise. But then suddenly everything took a turn for the worse and my acne came back full force. At the time I was touring nationally with two shows, not getting enough sleep again, and trying to maintain a photography business on the side. I also had just started dating my best friend, a wonderful amazing man that I had known for nearly six years, and we were long distance. Needless to say my stress levels were not in paradise. Then of course I promptly began writing, producing, and directing an independent television series of which I am front and center on camera as one of the main characters, unresolved acne in tow. I kept asking myself, Kelsey what in the frack are you thinking?! But I stifled that voice because I knew if I didn’t let myself follow my dreams of producing, if I turned my back on the opportunities that the universe was providing me with, I would never forgive myself. So plunged head first into all of it. For every episode we released I could always ignore my acne up until the editing process. That is when I would spend almost 50 hours looking at my face, up close, and personal. No amounts of makeup could cover my bumps and scars in my eyes. My team and I were looking at releasing our 6th episode and I couldn’t take it any more.
I had heard Liz talk about this “Purely Primal Skincare”Guide on about every single podcast, so why not just listen to a pro and try. After reading the guide, ridding my diet of coffee (oh heavens help me), skipping my daily bite of dark chocolate (I might die), and ordering Trina’s Primal Life Organics Beyond and Banished Serum. The oil treatment was like getting a little stress break in the evening. Being on tour and traveling was no issue either with how simple the steps were to maintaining healthy skin. After about two months my skin was evenly toned, not a bump in site, and I felt good not only on the outside, but the inside too. No bloating, no fatigue, no sunburn. Take THAT western medicine!
As I walked down the red carpet I could hold my head high. The only makeup I had on was the the eye liner and mascara I brushed on moments before leaving the hotel. I proudly posed for the press, gave flawless interviews, and felt more comfortable in my own skin than I ever had before. My independent series had been nominated for two awards and I felt like suddenly my life had fallen into place. I also had just celebrated my 5 month anniversary with that wonderful man I mentioned before. I asked him how I looked when he watched the live streaming of the awards show and he said, “Beautiful, but I’ve always thought you were beautiful.”
Thanks to the Purely Primal Skincare Guide I can finally feel beautiful on the inside as well as the outside. There are no corners to cut, no sacrifices to make, no downsides. I have been able to slowly bring coffee and chocolate back into my diet (thank goodness!) as well as maintain my Paleo/Primal diet with a few gluten-free “cheats” for we Celiacs.
Thank you Liz and Trina for everything!
If people are interested in finding the independent series I produced here is all the details on that: