To care about beauty so much sounds pretty vain, right? Well to me, health and beauty are the same. Healthy is beautiful. And what if you grew up with health and/or skin issues that didn’t always make you feel so beautiful? That was the case with me.
My skin has been an issue since birth. Covered head to toe in eczema and no one could figure out why so they just kept putting topical lotions all over me. But like beauty… it starts from the inside.
After getting my master’s in nutrition and working in children’s hospitals with severe food allergies, I realized that my issue was actually really common, they just weren’t that familiar with it then. I was allergic to milk. And having not been breast fed, I was having a reaction to the only thing I was drinking. And when a milk allergy goes untreated, by the age of 3, you start getting asthma and a whole lot of other allergies with the potential for hives, puffy eyes, and all kinds of fun stuff. I was even allergic to diaper for F’s sake… yeah, that’s a real thing. Nothing but cloth diapers for this bum.
The eczema got better as I got older, but I still remember getting it from time to time and being embarrassed to wear shorts in the summer like all the other pre-teens that had just started shaving their legs.
But as I got older, my pasty pale French/Scottish skin started getting more and more freckles, moles, and beauty marks every year. That to me, was even worse than the eczema! I wore an unusual amount of turtlenecks and sweaters for a small person right up until my freshman year of college, when I realized that boys could actually care less. Lol. So why did I?
It wasn’t until I was living in sunny San Diego about 6 years ago that I went in for a routine check up and the doctor wanted to do some skin biopsies on some of those freckles and moles. At that point, I had made peace with my skin and even thought it was kinda cute with a tan. A little extra character. Even with vampire white skin, I’ve always tanned easily and only really burned if I stayed out way too long, so I rarely wore sun screen.
A few days later… all my biopsies came back abnormal. Okay, well, I am abnormal… but what does that mean? They sent me to a dermatologist for even more biopsies, which meant more big holes in my skin. I had some pretty good gashes out of my skin right on the middle of my stomach that I was not happy about. I didn’t know what was worse… moles or scars!
But for my second round, they needed to do more testing and essentially is was going to be about three days before they told me whether or not I had skin cancer. I’m naturally a really positive person… but you wouldn’t have thought so those three days. Waiting to hear whether I had one of the most deadly forms of skin cancer. But, there are a million and one things that I haven’t done yet.
I called my mom crying and asked, why am I the only one in our entire family with all these skin problems? No one had a answer for that one.
It turned out to be pre-melanoma. I was safe for now. But, in those three days, I promised myself I would do more. I would eat better and take the advice I give everyone else, I decided to sign up for a fitness competition, scars and all, and I would make my skin and my health a priority.
So, why do I love skin care, health, and beauty so much? Because I never want to repeat my mistakes and I don’t want other people to either. I’ve stayed mostly out of the sun for the last 6 years because I learned through all that… that sun damage shows up 5 years after the fact. And visits to the dermatologist are an annual thing.
Why do I love to model and host health and beauty shows? Because I never thought I could.
I was wrong.
May is Melanoma Awareness Month. Make sure you’re having your skin checked every year with your routine physicals or by a dermatologist and wear sunscreen no matter what beautiful shade your skin is.
Why am I the only one in my family with skin issues? Because it forced me to be where I am today… sharing all of it with you.
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