Hi my name is Nicole and I am a recovering skincare product maniac.
I struggled with acne for my whole life, and when I say I tried everything, I mean EVERYTHING: creams, gels, lotions, shots, pills, prescription, drug store brand, name brand, high end, low end. Nothing worked.
After decades of trying and failing, I finally had enough and made an appointment with a holistic skincare specialist. Begrudgingly, I followed her diet, lifestyle, and skincare regimen; and my skin healed miraculously in what felt like overnight. Even scarring I’d had since high school disappeared, and as an added bonus the changes also relieved a chronic digestive issue. I was ecstatic!
For seven blissful years my skin remained calm and clear. I began to make my own skincare products, teach classes at the New York Botanical Gardens, and consult with clients privately. I felt like I had finally found my calling, my path, my reason for living.
Last Spring, much to my dismay and despair, my acne came back with a vengeance. I was shocked and devastated. One of the main reasons for my despair was the fact that I had not deviated at all from the holistic program I’d been following. If anything, over the course of seven years my diet and lifestyle had become even healthier. I couldn’t stop beating myself up, thinking “Who wants to buy skincare products or learn about skincare from someone with a pimple face?”. I slid into a deep dark funk.
Once again, nothing I did seemed to work. I tried tweaking my usual regimen, and cutting this or that out of my diet. No matter what I did, the damn things just kept popping up one right after the other, all over my face, and very slow to heal.
A few months before the breakouts had started again, I worked what was the most stressful month of work ever: 3 jobs every day for 4 weeks, and sometimes all 3 in one 24 hour period. My sleep and diet suffered badly, but in the end it paid off because I was able to take a 2 ½ week trip down to Georgia to spend time with my boyfriend’s family for the holidays. When we returned we solidified plans to move to Georgia that July. After 16 years in New York City, I was so ready for this change. Or, so I thought…
Indeed, it was exactly what I needed, but I never imagined it would be so hard. The challenge of acclimating to life in small town Georgia was only made worse by the fact that my skin continued freaking the eff out. Lots of ugly emotions began to bubble up and explode. I started losing my temper at the drop of a hat, and my relationship suffered to the point of near failure.
The writing was on the wall, but, blinded by frustration and attachment; I was unable to see the true root cause. It was the stress, of course, and agonizing over everything I ate and put onto my face just made it worse.
By the time September rolled around I was once again at wit’s end. For the first time in my life I went to see a therapist. A wonderfully understanding and compassionate woman, she confirmed what I knew intuitively, but was afraid to admit: The ball of stress named Nicole Benisch must be dealt with as a priority.
I started practicing yoga again and going for long walks. In November I taught a skincare workshop at the yoga studio that was well received, even though my face was covered in acne. Turns out that, yes, people still want to learn from me even if I have a pimple face! I started making products again, and opened my Etsy store. I also began developing a book based on what I now call my “5 Secrets to Radiant Skin”. Somewhere in between it all my skin finally cleared up.
My 4th Secret to Radiant Skin?
Be Open to Change.
Once I truly opened to change, I was able to see that stress was the root cause of my skin problems, and could finally take action.
Real magic happens when you stand on the edge of fear and excitement and move forward bravely, even though you’re scared shitless. Moving down to Georgia has definitely been that for me, and I am eternally grateful for the growth that has come as a result. Terence McKenna, philosopher and ethnobotanist, said that nature loves courage, and I agree wholeheartedly.
Surrender to change with a brave heart. The blessings will naturally follow.
“Nature loves courage. You make the commitment and nature will respond to that commitment by removing impossible obstacles. Dream the impossible dream and the world will not grind you under, it will lift you up. This is the trick. This is what all these teachers and philosophers who really counted, who really touched the alchemical gold, this is what they understood. This is the shamanic dance in the waterfall. This is how magic is done. By hurling yourself into the abyss and discovering it’s a feather bed.” ~Terence McKenna