Ash was one of Green Tree Beauty's very first clients and always lovely visitor to have at the shop. She agreed to share her story about cystic acne and her journey switching to natural skincare and cosmetics. (She is also a very talented artist - see some of her work and links to her social media at the bottom of this page.)
I have struggled with cystic acne for the last 4 years. A lot of my condition was tied to my gut and diagnosis of Colitis and I was given a lot of medications that seemed to make my skin worse. I remember there being times when I wouldn’t want to leave the house or engage with people close to me. The cysts were very painful and would leave scars, I had never experienced a skin condition that changed my sense of self-worth so drastically. I ended up going on Epirus (Accutane) and attempted to stick out the side effects in order to be rid of acne permanently. Instead, the medication damaged the lining of my intestines and caused my skin to become so dry that it would crack and bleed. I went off of Epirus when there my liver enzymes reflected the use of it. I remember that sense of hopelessness and how defeated I felt, nothing seemed to help.
Eventually, I worked through much of the embarrassment around my acne and felt that I needed to try to accept it. Every day there would be new cysts and red or purple area left from an old one. I avoided mirrors and pictures, when they were taken I had to work hard not to tear myself apart. When I encountered Green Tree Beauty, I was trying to figure out a natural path to clearing my skin. I was more conscious of what I ate, how much stress I was under and how I treated my skin when it was inflamed. I am not going to lie, I was jaded when it came to any kind of skin care since I felt like I had already spent a fortune trying anything I thought that might help. When I met Jennilee, she provided me with so much information about natural beauty products and how to be gentle with my skin. I felt excited for the first time in a long time that this might work.
Since my acne changed the texture of my skin and there were a lot of large raised bumps, the makeup I had been using would usually be pretty high coverage. I had been using products that were made for coverage but the ingredients were toxic for my already fragile skin. The first time I tried Sweet Leilani foundation and powder, I immediately noticed how soothed my face felt. I learned a lot from Jennilee about what are in standard beauty products and how they negatively impact the earth and body. I felt good when I began to build a regimen for my skin with natural products. I started to see a difference in the damaged areas, an overall calming effect over irritation and inflammation. I also looked forward to using natural products that I understood and could feel comfortable supporting. The added bonus of Green Tree Beauty’s incentive of planting a tree for each product sold really resonated with how I wanted to interact as a consumer. After avoiding my skin and feeling shame around my acne and skin condition, it was deeply healing to have a makeup ritual that was built around earth friendly awareness.
Over time, I noticed that my acne scars were transforming and I could touch my face without numerous bumps. I didn’t wince at myself in the mirror anymore and I was hopeful that I could heal the trauma. Getting to know the values behind Green Tree Beauty, I feel I benefited from increased awareness around what I chose to put on my face and also my mentality around beauty products. I was conscious of what was being absorbed into my body and felt good about trying out things that worked with my skin type and were cleanly created. After becoming more confident with my makeup free skin, I started experimenting with the foundation, blush, bronzer, lip tints, a whole new world of beauty that I had avoided for so long because I had given up on healing the cysts. I remember the moment when I looked in the mirror and realized I no longer carried toxic self-talk. This trickled into other areas of my life, how I chose my food, cleaning products, clothing, anything that I brought into my home reflected a more conscious consideration.
Taking responsibility for everything that I consume was a concept that took a while to fully commit to. It had a lot to do with my habits of convenience and behaviours that had become ingrained. It was a turning point that I am grateful for and it has improved my quality of life and strengthened my connection to the environment. Switching to natural, sustainably sourced and cruelty-free products has soothed my acne and transformed the way I feel about my body. This was a holistic approach, my symptoms could not be addressed in isolation. There is no magic serum or face wash that made my acne disappear. Jennilee worked with me to find the ritual that worked for my skin issues, she listened to my specific concerns and suggested products that would soothe and heal my inflammation. What I love most about Green Tree Beauty is that this holistic awareness is infused into each product. I never thought I would feel comfortable in my own skin again. It’s been an emotional journey but my confidence has slowly returned and I feel damn good when I recognize my body’s immense ability to heal.
Some of the Green Tree Beauty Skincare and Cosmetics that are part of Ash's daily ritual:
Viva Aromatherapy Facial Toner
Viva Amaze Cream
Viva Pure Hyaluronic Acid Serum
Viva Firming Eye Cream
Ash & Thorn Skin Repair
Sweet LeiLani Island Goddess Prep, Prime & Powder
Some of Ash's Artwork:
See more of her work at www.essenceofash.com
Connect with her on Instagram at @essence.of.ash
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