Victoria Gamage shares the story of how she regained her skin confidence, by banishing her acne.
“I didn’t get acne until much later in life than many others I know. When I was a teenager I didn’t have any acne. My skin was clear, except for one or two spots on rare occasions. It wasn’t until I was pregnant with my son at age 23 that acne started to show up, and even then only as little spots around my nose, mouth and chin. As I went through pregnancy and birth with the hormonal rollercoaster of changes that are part and parcel of motherhood, the acne got worse, but I felt like I could mostly manage it.
“After I had my second, a baby girl, things got much worse. From 2014, when she was one, my skin was just out of control. Acne started popping up everywhere: all around my chin, mouth and neck like an ever-growing rash of acne.
“It’s hard to describe how this made me feel. It really was simply awful and had a huge impact on how I saw myself and acted in public. It also meant I was trying to hide how I looked to avoid my acne being spotted. As a wife and young mum to two kids, I lost all my confidence. If I went out I’d always ensure I was wearing a large amount of makeup, even if I was just going down to the local dairy. When I wasn’t wearing any makeup I’d walk around with sunglasses and caps on during summer, and would walk with my head dipped downwards to ensure as little as possible of my face could be seen. In winter I’d wear hoodies and scarves folded up around my neck and chin.
“It became quite a big issue for me, and of course, stressing about it made it much worse. Around family and friends, I plastered on my big smile and would just pretend nothing was wrong. But of course they all knew how low I felt about myself. Unfortunately I turned into a squeezer and picker of spots. Since they hurt it felt better to scratch, and I didn’t realise how much damage I was doing and the lasting scaring I was causing on my face. During these years, I wouldn’t let people take my photo because I didn’t want to have pictures with my skin looking so bad. This impacted all kinds of things including photos of special events and family times. I have no photos of my skin when it was at the absolute worst point as I was too ashamed to be in photos.
“I’m not really someone who tries lots of different products. I’d always used an everyday Nivea face cream which seemed okay. From memory, I tried two other acne products, but they didn’t work. One fed the acne, making it even worse! The other brought no relief.
“In terms of diet, it didn’t really seem to matter what I did. If I ate lots of junk food the acne got much worse, but I could be eating well for months and it would perhaps just slightly improve, but the acne was still very much there. I was a bit of a stresser: I worried what I looked like to others and so this became a vicious cycle. Honestly, I just gave up on my skin during these years and resigned myself to the idea of having incurably bad skin.
“I actually heard about Atopis through my father! About three years ago he rang me and said one of his colleagues was working with a client who wanted some people to volunteer to test a new product that was supposed to help with skin issues. Dad wondered if I would like to try it for myself, as he knew how terrible I had been feeling about my skin and myself for years. I said yes, as I didn’t have anything to lose. I didn’t expect anything to happen, being the sceptic that I was.
“When the Atopis team sent me a small sample pot of their base skin cream, what has today become known as Atopis Radiant Balance Cream, I had absolutely zero hope and expectations. I thought the cream smelt nice, and realised it felt really good on my face when I applied it, but that was it. About three days later I actually looked in the mirror properly. I took notice of the fact that my skin wasn’t as red or sore, and my acne wasn’t itchy. By the end of that first week, my face felt the best it had done in years! The cracked dry acne was healing so well, and I couldn’t believe I’d had no new blemishes at all since starting to use the cream. The difference really was incredible.
“After that game-changing base cream trial, I tried the acne cream. Both made even more of a difference to my face, smoothing out my skin tone and keeping acne under control. One or two small spots came out, but since using Atopis I’ve never had anything like what I had for those terrible years, with acne all over my mouth, chin and neck. A couple of years down the track, I tried the radiant balance cream. My skin was incredibly at a point where I was happy with it!
“Although I have some scaring around my chin and mouth, I felt like a massive weight had been lifted. I could walk around with my head up, I’d look people in the eye again, and I’d smile genuinely without worrying what people would think. My confidence was back, and for me that was huge.
“This gift even gave me the confidence to apply for a new job. Working in customer service, your face is of course the first thing that people see. It was such a big shift for me to even contemplate working in a customer-facing role. Now, I’m a sales assistant at a fashion store, it’s such a rewarding job to help women to choose outfits for their daily life or a special occasion, and see the smiles on their faces when we find what they need. I’d never have thought about a job like this a few years ago, and I certainly wouldn’t have had the confidence to say “Yes” when it was offered to me!
“When my acne started getting better, so did my sleep and overall health, because my skin was less of a worry to me. My acne was and still is stress and hormone activated, and worse during my time of the month. But I can still say to this day I have not had a major acne flare up since using Atopis.
“For those suffering from acne, I’d like to emphasise that these products really have changed my life. It’s taken a HUGE anxiety and stress issue away. No matter how small or big your acne issue is, I really urge you to try Atopis: order a sample pot and just try it! For the relief it gave my skin, I’m sure one of their multiple products will be able to help you too. You’ve got everything to gain, and only bad skin to lose!
“I want to thank Dr Iona Weir and her team for creating such a wonderful effective product and continuing to improve and create skincare solutions, keeping people like me with problem skin in mind. You’ve changed my life, and I’m forever grateful.”