Rebecca Mason battled with acne for 16 years.
Rebecca Mason battled with acne for 16 years.

What a woman’s 16-year battle with cystic acne cost her

REBECCA Mason is 31 years old and has battled with acne for 16 years - most of her adult life.

She's on a mission to reduce the shame that surrounds acne, a condition that usually receives attention because of its impact on millions of teenagers and young people.

Rebecca has shared her story with news.com.au to show other adult acne sufferers that they're not alone and that clear skin is achievable.

Picture: Rebecca Mason
Picture: Rebecca Mason

I've been battling acne for 16 years, on and off. I had really bad cystic acne.

My cause was Polycystic Ovary Syndrome [PCOS], which is quite a common condition, it affects between 12 and 18 per cent of women.

So it was caused by a hormonal imbalance and overproduction of testosterone.

I'd wake up and look at my face in the mirror and see teenage skin looking back at me.

You're waking up thinking, "I had this condition when I was a teenager, how is it possible that I still have it? I'm in my early 30s, I have a professional career, but I can't leave the house without caking on makeup to cover up my skin because I'm so ashamed."

I wanted to feel like I could leave the house without hiding under a veneer of makeup. I would have this constant makeup routine even just to go to the beach or the supermarket.

There was one period where I couldn't leave the house for a fortnight.

Picture: Rebecca Mason
Picture: Rebecca Mason

I wouldn't even go to the grocery store, I would come home crying. It was so humiliating.

Sometimes even strangers would come up to me and explain how I could get clearer skin.

It comes from a place of love, but if you think, "Oh, I'm going to leave the house today and not wear so much makeup," and then someone comes up to you and makes a comment, it just completely ruins you on the inside.

I know it's coming from a place of care, from people who have been there before and want to help.

I remember reading a study a few years ago out of the UK that there had been a 200 per cent rise in the number of adults seeking specialist acne treatment.

I thought, "I can't be the only person suffering. This is ridiculous."

It's definitely not only teenagers suffering. I call it boardroom acne ... You're waking up as an adult with cystic acne.

You're going to work with professionals, you're in a boardroom and it becomes very real because most of your colleagues don't have that same condition.

I can see now how I avoided social and professional opportunities because I was insecure. I would be in a meeting and not want to speak up, so I purposely grew my hair long because I didn't want people to see my neck and chin and the sides of my cheeks.

If you're not feeling confident, you don't seek out those opportunities.

Rebecca Mason spent years battling with acne.
Rebecca Mason spent years battling with acne.

I missed out on asking for a $10,000 pay rise because I didn't feel like I really deserved it or earned it and that wasn't actually the case, I just didn't have the confidence to do it.

When I was out with my clear-skinned girlfriends, I'd feel like the ugly duckling.

It's such an isolating condition, but it's not just me ... it is very common.

I want anyone who is going through it to know that they're not alone and that there is no silver bullet solution, everyone is different.

I tried so many medications. I must have tried every type of the pill. But for me, medication didn't work.

It's all about the five holistic steps: exercise, diet, sleep patterns and stress management techniques. And I do an enzyme therapy treatment once a month.

Those five steps are what can transform not just your skin but the quality of your life.

Rebecca Mason undergoing a skin treatment.
Rebecca Mason undergoing a skin treatment.

Once I made those changes, I saw an incredible improvement.

I wanted to leave the house wearing just lipstick, without having to hide under layers of makeup and now I can do that.

But if I eat chocolate, I will wake up with a pimple. I know that's how my skin works.

My core message is that these five steps are a lifestyle protocol to be able to manage your skin.

There's not this one super cream that fixes your skin. It's all of those things combined, there's no one silver bullet.

Follow Rebecca's skin journey on her Better Skin Better Life blog.

News Corp Australia


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