Is it me? Am I being overdramatic? Am I not doing enough?
Since childhood, Kristin has struggled to find a solution for her skin. However, she has been able to overcome these challenges caused by her cystic acne and rosacea by deciding to normalize her skin. When she looks in the mirror, she sees a normal woman, a mother, and a wife who just happens to have textured skin.
“Everyone makes acne out to be this terrible thing when it’s really just textured skin, and everyone’s skin has texture. We’re just like avocados!” Kristin laughed. However, Kristin did not always think this way. When she had hardships with her skin as a teenager, things were actually very rough. “I remember that I used to feel very negatively about my acne. Even though I tried everything, I still used to wonder if I was doing enough or if I was being clean enough. I didn’t want to be seen as dirty or sloppy. I didn’t fit in, and nobody really took it seriously.”
Kristin shared how many of her efforts to improve and speak to others about her skin were in vain. “Everybody kept telling me that I was fine. Even when I went to the doctor, they told me I was fine.Nobodywas taking my skin condition seriously.” Kristin explained how this made her question the literal and physical distress that her skin was causing her. “I had cystic acne growing up so it was very painful, and it just kept getting worse. I spent so much money on products that didn’t work.” This ongoing problem caused Kristin’s mental health and her social life at school to suffer even when her skin was not having a bad breakout.
“One time, actually, I did get some antibiotics that worked for me during high school. I remember walking into English class, and this girl came up to me and saidwow, your face looks so much better! I was so humiliated. I ended getting really bad social anxiety, and I never really wanted to go to school.”
Kristin spoke about how she was deeply self-conscious at the time. “I had a boyfriend, and I was so embarrassed by a pimple on my nose that I covered it up with a big band-aid just so he didn’t see it.” Even in adulthood, Kristin challenges herself to avoid stigmatizing her own acne.
“I’m a grant writer, and many of my clients have very high standards. When I was pregnant, I had a bad rosacea flare-up, and I would turn my camera off during zoom meetings with clients although seeing my face was very important to them. This affected my livelihood, and that made me very depressed.”
Yet, Kristin let this difficult moment of her life give way to something positive. Because of her own experiences, she decided to take action for others who share a narrative similar to hers. “I want to give power back to people suffering from acne,” Kristin says. Today, Kristin provides an online platform that normalizes individuals with rosacea and acne by providing information on improving self-positivity, rosacea triggers, and skin allergens. She understands that internalized stigmas and stereotypes contribute greatly to the mental health problems that those with skin conditions face sometimes. To her, skin complications are just like anything else, and people with skin complications are just like anyone else. For this reason, Kristin shares her everyday life as a mother and wife with others. Through this, she brings her humanity to the forefront. Even if you have a really bad skin condition, “you are naturally enough, and you will always find the people you belong with because you’re meant to,” Kristin affirms.