skin deep

Location • covent garden
photographer • Franki Sears  


Welcome back you lovely lot, its time to get deep... skin deep in fact!

My whole life, well every since I became a teenager i've had acne in some form or another and i'm now in my early 30s so its literally been decades of red pimples. Its taken over my life in so many ways so much so that it got to a point at Christmas that I just couldn't face seeing people or celebrating the holidays as I was so self conscious of what people would think when they saw me. 

So it hit 2018 and I decided I had to take action and face the facts that I needed to try something which would have longevity. Before I get to the nitty gritty of how I think I may have cured it I thought i'd run through some of the treatments i've tried and the people i've met along the way. 

I've definitley got the type on skin that is prone to spots I mean with everything i've tried it has to come down to it being in your genes right?


Now i've always been one for finding the root of the problem and not putting to many chemicals into my body. I think this mainly came about when I was 13 and I had a burst appendix which led to a very dramatic operation to remove it, Very Dramatic! That would of all been okay if i hadn't gone and got septicaemia from the poisoned appendix which basically effected my body in every way possible. I had not long before this operation started my period which stopped during the trauma of the operation, I also lost so much hair (which was double the thickness it is now, the ones that know me are probably thinking how in hells name was it thicker than it already is) I lost my appetite which saw me lose nearly 2 stone. Many months after the operation I still wasn't right and with no periods for nearly 6 months Mums friend Eileen recommended Kinesiology to get me back on track as it had worked miracles for her sons. Now I didn't go there straight away for the acne it was more for my periods but it turned out that kinesiology is like pealing back an onion, you have to keep pealing until you get to the root of the problem and the more I peeled the more the acne and other problems came out!

I went for about 10 years and though we kept pealing that onion the acne never seemed to go away. I also picked up empatigo during these years which is a contagious skin infection which is an annoying itchy sore scab that keeps rearing its ugly head when ever you get run down. Mine was right on my chin to one side which spread quickly if not treated correctly. As you can imagine it was one thing after another. 

I wouldn't say Kinesiolgy was the cure to my acne but I do believe it helped my periods regulate. Its a practice which works on the meridians in your body to help remove toxins, it bases itself on a natural way to heal. I used to love when the crystal healer man would come around mainly because he held the biggest pale pink crystal you've ever seen over my face which was meant to drain the heat from my skin. I don't know if it done that but it did make me feel very calm and relaxed. I used to love listening to his stories where he would tell me how he could literally see inflamation in people as in his words ‘they have this red heat coming from certain parts of the body’ I would find it fascinating, the little witch in me wished I could see it too!


Next up was a food intolerance test which I had at the opticians in Sidcup high street, I know strange location. Anyway this test consisted of me having a pen like devise which was attached to wirers prodded on the same point of my finger so the test thing mag-jig could go crazy every time you was intolerant to something. Turns out I was pretty much allergic to everything except a few leafs ha. So I cut it all out as at the age of 22 as my skin was just to sore to contemplate not trying it. I gave it a good shot for at least a 2 weeks but the no diary, no this, no that really got to me and I decided it wasn't the lifestyle for me as I couldn't see myself sticking to it long term plus I saw no side effects on my skin I just left extremely hungry like every second of every day!


I decided I needed to look at what else was going on inside my body and the first thing that came to light was how long id been on the pill for. I started the pill when I was around 20 and mainly because I thought it was the cool thing to do, it made me feel like a women stating I was on the pill but that wasnt really why I took it. The doctor advised I started on Yasmin to help cure my spotty back and face, yep not only were they on my face they had mutiplied and travelled down my neck onto my shoulders and dotted over my lower back. Id started on Yasmin and moved up to Dianet. They worked at first but soon after when my body started to realise what was going it back fired. My body is one stubborn human body being, as soon as something’s working it kinda feels insulted that it hasn’t worked it out for itself so it rejects it!!

So basically I stayed on different pills for around 8 years and choose to come off it aged 27ish. I feel it was suppressing my skin problems, it made my periods impossible to deal with and I wanted to be all ‘mother earth’ and be free from a constant chemical overload. Coming off the pill id never felt better in myself but my skin wasn't so sure it went completely mental and ended up going from bad to worse!


Now I loved this treatment purely for selfish reasons that I got to go to Harvey Nics. My nan found it in one of her many magazines and insisted I give it a try as she read about Victoria Beckham having one who had also suffered like I was with her skin. In the word of Nanny Hawker ‘If it was good enough for VB it’s good enough for our GB’ haha!

It felt like a little bit of luxury for the face but it wasn’t really worth the £150 a time price tag as you needed to have weekly treatments. I did however love the face maks they sold me which was like a clay texture, it was created by a doctor which instantly made me feel more reassured it was good but it didnt solve the problem it just made my skin feel super clean and fresh. After many persistent calls from them as who wouldn’t call up instantly if you was getting that money for an hour I called it a day and went back to my normal Clarins facials.  


This treatment came at a time where I couldn’t see any light at the end of tunnel. 
You know I previously mentioned that not only were my spots on my face and neck they had decided they would also have a party on my back! Thanks team acne your really helping a girl grow in confidence and become the sass women she should be! 
Just to pin point how bad these were, imagine you go to sit down and somehow theres a pin which jabs you everytime you sit against it, this is how it felt every time I sat down. The problem with these spots was that you couldn't do anything to get rid of them as they were filled with nothing but tender cells making them angrier as they grew. I learnt to deal with these and eventually they would go down but as good things came to an end they popped back up soon again after.

My facialist at the time Kelly (who saw how angry my skin was and that no amount of microderma facials or powder exfoliators could make it better told me about a client who used accupuncture and found it a miracle for Rosacea so I have him a call.

It turns out that call became one I would make regularly as soon after meeting Ilkay I knew he was someone I could learn from both with my skin and with my self confidence. He was so wise a bit like my grandad which I think is what made me warm to him so much. He would cup my skin to rid the poison from my spots which man oh man was such a painful experience but one I kinda loved, as I could see the bad stuff drain away. The acupuncture part was also quite therapeutic as you got to lay there with these super skinny needles resting into your skin. Don’t get me wrong some where rediculosly painful but I felt brand new after each session if not a little tired.

I started drinking cucumber infused water, slapping on a mustard like exfoliator that ilkay made himself but one which turned all my pillows yellow. I really did try everything to cure my skin the natural way.......



In a world that is so obsessed with airbrushing and filtering its become so obvious to me that we should all really try to be happy with what we have. I used to airbrush my skin using an ‘airbrush app’ and at the beginning I actually thought it was the best thing since sliced bread but looking at the images of before and after what I was really trying to do was make people believe I wasn't suffering, that life was perfect. I like everyone else wanted to portray a certain type of person on the gram instead of just being me. 
Scrolling through social media each morning, lunch, evening, any opportunity possible you find yourself comparing yourself to everyone else which gradually has an effect on your self esteem 


I was literally at my lowest point over Christmas of 2017, Ive added a few images of how my skin was above for you to see a typical day in the life of my skin, from acne to irritation to a very swollen eye which left me having to undergo an operation on my eyelid. I was stressed for many reason mainly work, with traveling constantly, we also had family troubles which made my anxiety the worst it had every been. I could see no end to my acne which had now started to turn into large cysts across my face, the black heads and white heads were a walk in the park compared to these. 
Mum had started a new job at the hospital in Beckenham where she is a PA to the private doctors in that area, she mentioned a specialist at 'The Beckenham Becon' who was renowned for curing acne. I made an appointment at her Harley Street clinic which set me back £220 for a half hour consultation (best money I’ve ever spent guys). I felt completely vulnerable as I walked into the room as I decided to arrive with no make up on so Doctor Aysling could see my skin as it really is. She ran through some questions "How long had I had it" "were they itchy, sore, etc" After a very quick run through she got straight to the point and checked my skin under a huge microscope, I quiver at the thought of how bad my skin must of looked as she examined me. She sat me down after and told me I had cystic acne, I’d been telling myself it was a phase for decades that if I tried this or if I tried that hippy diply natural herbal stuff it would go but I was only fooling myself that I alone could cure it. She insisted the only thing for it was Accutane a drug I’d been trying to ignore for years, I think I’m going to do another post on this Drug as there’s so much to talk about mainly its controversy in 'The Daily Mail'. The thing that really made me see sense was when she described my acne as ‘tunnel acne’ whereby the spots form under the skin and borrow together in lines a bit like a map of the London Underground. This is basically as deep rooted as it can get, it will most probably scare but more than likely it will never really go away. I was sold on it and more importantly how passionate she was about the drug and it’s cure rate I had to give it ago. I signed up for a 6 month treatment plan which would involve many tests to make sure I was well enough to undergo treatment. 


I’ve now been on Accutane for around 3 months with 3 still to go and I’m seeing results in my skin I’d never thought imaginable. I've also seen a change in me as a person and i've become so much stronger in believing there is a reason we go through the things we do. I love that every treatment i've had has lead me to meet interesting and passionate people who all believe in what they do. Without them I wouldn't of come to the final conclusion that I needed something more medical to treat my skin.

I’ve decide to ditch the airbrushing app, no not just because my skin is now better I think I would of got to this point anyway but because id rather be judged for being myself than for trying to look like everyone else. Ive dreamed of having make up free days where I can leave home with just a simple moisturiser on. That feeling of just being you and not getting thick foundation all over tops is one i've waited along time for and on that note guys id like to leave you with a little quote which I’m loving right now.....

"just be yourself, let people see the real imperfect, flawed quirky weird, beautiful, and magical person that you are"



Lip Treatment SPF20 - Elizabeth Arden

Micelar Water - I purchased this in Paris but you can buy it here  Diadermine

Tinted Mineral Fluid SPF50 - Avene

All round moisturiser dermol 500 - I brought it in store at Boots but if you want to shop online try lloyds pharmacy

Shea Butter Cleanser - clarins


Gemma Bishop1 Comment