If you’ve ever suffered from acne, it’s easy to understand how Mandy Nazé, 29, felt at low points.
She was just 15 years old when she first experienced acne in 2007 – with doctors diagnosing her severe outbreak as nodulocystic acne.
Her face, forehead, chest, neck and back were badly affected and she had a thick layer of pus and discharge which caused her a lot of pain.
Just a few months later, she found a cyst on her groin caused by a painful long-term skin condition which causes abscesses and scarring.
It usually occurs near sweat glands where there are hair follicles usually around the groin, bottom, breasts and armpits.
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This left her fearing intimacy – as she believed her partner would be disgusted by her abscesses, cysts and pimples.
The now 29-year-old was diagnosed with various creams that didn’t help and was offered Accutane but refused to take it due to its side effects.
It wasn’t until her doctor told her about the Diane-35 pill – a treatment used on severe acne when other forms of medication haven’t worked – that she found a product which helped alleviate her symptoms.
But a decade later, she ditched the pill in favour of a naturopathic approach.
While stopping the hormone treatment initially caused her condition to worsen, she now says she’s found a natural solution which works for her.
This includes a healthy diet, medicinal plants, exercising several times a week, lymphatic massages, sauna, and vegetable and essential oils.
Now Mandy has seen her condition reduce significantly, leaving her cyst and abscess free for two years, something she had never managed before.
Mandy said: “It affected my relationship because it became difficult to deal with intimacy.
“The hardest thing about this skin disease is the unpredictability. You never know when a new flare-up is going to happen and when it does, you wonder how long it will last.
“Sometimes you have to cancel planned activities with friends at the last minute and you end up cutting yourself off socially because you can’t live the way you want – for many years, I couldn’t even wear the clothes I wanted to wear like jeans because they were too tight.
“My self-confidence was very badly damaged during the years I suffered badly from acne because I had to face the stares of people looking at my face and bust. The looks were derogatory as if I were dirty.
“When I had a boyfriend, it impacted the intimate moments of our relationship because sometimes it just wasn’t possible.
“I was afraid my abscesses, cysts and pimples would disgust my partner even though I knew he loved me.
“I have always been very, very self-conscious about the scars left by my acne, especially on my forehead and back. I always wore makeup and refused to wear clothes with low backs, even though I really wanted to.”
Mandy says her self-care routine now includes eating healthily, cold showers, hot baths and saunas, and changing her entire cosmetic and makeup routine to plant-based and healthy products.
She says the most important thing for sufferers is not to close themselves off and to talk about how they feel to the people around them.
Mandy said: “I worked on my anxiety and mental health which is very much related to my skin issues. I learned to meditate and breathe properly.
“I feel better in my skin because I can finally enjoy a normal life.
“The advice I would give to all those who suffer with skin disease is that it’s normal to devalue yourself sometimes but you have to believe that you are worth more than your skin. Love yourself because no one will do it better than you.
“Your body is not doing this to hurt you, it’s doing this to find a balance so you must help it. Do not hesitate to explore other treatment avenues.
“I often say ‘it’s not the quality of our skin that matters but the quality of our thoughts about it.’”
This content was originally published here.