If you met me today, you probably wouldn’t guess that only a few years ago my skin was one of my biggest concerns. At times it ruled my emotions and took over my life. During the most severe flare-ups I couldn’t bring myself to leave the house.
It’s great to be on the other side of that dark time in my life – to be able to reflect on the past few years and feel grateful for where I am today. The challenges I faced while trying to find solutions to clear my skin are what drove me to develop AMPERNA®.
I want to share my story with you so that you can understand why I put so much passion and thought into developing my skincare range and why I believe that a holistic approach including the right diet and lifestyle is the key to skin health.
My Skin Problems Developed at the Hardest Time of my Life
When I was 30, my father developed a serious illness. He deteriorated rapidly and I became his sole carer. Until he passed away he was unable to do anything for himself and the responsibility of having his physical and mental health in my hands quickly took a toll on my own well-being.
I was prescribed some medication to help me deal with the situation, but the medication led me to drop over 15 kilos in weight and develop pustular acne. My face was so sore that I couldn’t sleep at night.
As if the acne wasn’t enough, I then developed perioral dermatitis, a common facial irritation that shows up as spots and flaky skin around the mouth and chin. I was given a topical steroid, which was meant to help. Instead it caused the condition to spread and pretty soon the whole bottom of my face was covered in it.
Because I had no idea what to do and what it was (I hadn’t even heard of perioral dermatitis at that stage), it got worse and worse. I was already in an extremely fragile emotional state and having to deal with sore, inflamed skin was the last thing I needed. All I wanted to do was hide.
I was desperate to find a solution, even if I had to make it myself.
Going Back to Basics
At first I tried pretty much every therapeutic skincare product on the market, but nothing seemed to work and lots of products made it worse. I found that my skin reacted to many common irritants including sulfates, parabens and synthetic fragrances. I threw every skincare product in the house, along with my shampoos, conditioners and hand soaps, which also contained some of those irritants.
I did a lot of research into medical studies about skin health and acne and found out that some strains of bacteria can trigger acne, while other strains can actually help to prevent it. I also discovered that probiotics can be helpful for skin health and that there were new skincare ranges in Europe using probiotics as a key ingredient - and people were raving about them.
I stripped back my diet and thought about every piece of food I ate, knowing that some food items could be contributing to my skin woes. This was the start of my healing process.
Are you using too many things on your skin and compromising your skin barrier?
Adopting a Holistic Approach to Skin Health
Regaining healthy skin became important enough to change my entire approach to life including diet, exercise, beauty products and mental health.
I knew from past experiences that my skin felt less irritated when I ate lots of good fats. While doing my research, I came across the anti-inflammatory diet, which recommends foods high in essential fatty acids such as salmon, broccoli and almonds.
I started to focus my whole diet around anti-inflammatory foods and removed any foods considered to be inflammatory (including sugar, trans fats, processed meats, refined carbohydrates). I increased my consumption of water and swapped caffeine out for green tea.
Did you know that eating certain foods could also help to improve your skin?
I spent a lot of time online investigating topical acne creams and reading through forums to find out which ingredients had been most helpful to others. I found out about the benefits of glycolic acids and had some success treating my spots with regular chemical exfoliation (using glycolic acid). I picked a lightweight moisturiser that wouldn’t clog my pores – if I didn’t moisturise, my skin would erupt again because it was crying out for oil.
After reading about the benefits of Zinc on skin health, I started to take zinc daily and it really seemed to make a difference. I also read that copper and zinc contain important antibacterial properties
I knew that probiotics were a good idea after taking a course of antibiotics, so I looked into gut health and introduced probiotic tablets permanently to my diet. I also noted the benefits of Vitamin B (which is anti-inflammatory) and Vitamin C (which has antioxidant properties).
And everything else…
I started going for walks to clear my head and learnt how to meditate to clear my mind. I washed my hair with natural shampoo and conditioner and replaced all of my household cleaning products with natural versions. I became obsessed with sun protection and made sure I applied sunscreen and wore a hat or carried an umbrella wherever I went.
My journey to good skin health took a while. I will probably have to deal with the odd bout of perioral dermatitis from time to time, but due to the changes in my lifestyle and the AMPERNA® products I created, I’m so happy to be able to say that I very rarely have major flares these days and I haven’t seen a sign of my acne for years.
My Biggest ‘aha’ Moment
The best discovery of my journey and probably the most beneficial to my healing was how probiotics can help our bodies both internally and externally.
There are billions of microflora (made up of both good and bad bacteria) living on the surface or our skin. When these bacteria are out of balance, they can contribute to chronic skin problems.
It turns out that probiotics, when applied topically, can help to promote good bacteria and fight bad bacteria on our skin, just as probiotics that we ingest can balance out our internal bacteria.
Some final thoughts
I’m guessing that if you’re reading this article it’s because you have a few skin challenges at the moment. I’m really sorry that you’re going through this, I know how awful it is.
I hope you found some inspiration in my story and some assurance in the fact that I found a way to heal my skin, even after so many solutions failed me.
The best advice that I can give you is to follow a holistic approach. There is no one band-aid solution. No quick fix. You need to adopt a healthy lifestyle and eat well, exercise, practice mindfulness and be obsessive about sun safety. Use gentle but effective solutions for your condition. Before you try any product, seek specialist advice first as putting the wrong products on certain conditions can really make things so much worse.
Love Kiri xx
A Day in My Life of Holistic Skin Health
After my morning shower, I try to fit in an exercise class before work.
My breakfast is usually brown toast with avocado and green tea or oats with water, fruit and green tea.
I make sure a take a break from work to have a walk at lunchtime.
Lunch is a wrap with chicken and vegetables or vegetables, chicken and rice with lots of water and green tea.
I drink water through the day.
I have almonds or fruit for a snack. Sometimes I sneak a home-made biscuit - ANZAC cookies are delish.
Dinner is normally a stir-fry with brown rice or soup and brown bread.
I do a little bit of work and pack orders.
Then I watch a little TV - anime is a fav at the moment or Terrace House.
And I go to bed mostly by 11pm.