By Jenny Peterson
If you’ve ever had acne as a teenager or adult, you know how it can really affect your self esteem.
You try all the creams, change your diet and nothing seems to work. The reason none of these work is because they don’t get to the root cause of acne.
Today I’ll be discussing the subconscious patterns connected to acne and how to resolve it for good.
I started having acne at around 10 years old. I was the first one in my class to have it and the kids did not shy away from the insults regarding it.
I tried using all the creams, top end skin care products and supplements all claiming to get rid of it, but it never worked. I hid it with makeup and thought about it all the time. When someone was talking to me, I was wondering if they could see it, whenever I looked in the mirror it was all that I could focus on, my evening routine took hours just so I could go to bed with a clean, treated face and when I woke up in the morning, the first thing I would do would be feel my face and check the mirror to see what happened overnight.
My life revolved around the blemishes on my face.
This lasted my entire school years until I moved out and was living on my own.
Notice how I say that it got better when I moved out and was living on my own. I will get into this connection in a bit.
Let's first talk about the biological reason for acne. When we understand why our body is doing this to begin with, we can be more forgiving of it. Instead of trying to fight against your body, you can be a team working towards homeostasis.
The biological conflict connected to acne is a feeling attacked and/or soiled conflict.
A feeling attacked conflict is when a person is feeling attacked. It can be through a physical attack by a person or by an animal or through a hit or blow against the body or against the head (in sports, in a fight, in an accident). However, medical procedures such as surgery, a needle biopsy, injections, vaccinations, as well as stabbing or piercing pain could also be registered as an “attack”.
It can also be metaphorical attacks, for example, being yelled at, scolded, assaulted or threatened with sharp and aggressive words, typically “hit” the face, the forehead (an insult against one’s intelligence), or the back (“stab in the back”). Sexist remarks, sexual accusations, or an attack against one’s sexual orientation usually strike “below the waist”. Hearing offensive words affects the corium skin of the ear. Being criticized in a hostile manner, discrimination, defamation, or an insult against one’s integrity could have an impact on the whole body (generalized conflict).
A soiled conflict relates to feeling unclean (smelly sweat, stinky feet, malodorous discharge, incontinence) or feeling soiled, for example, when coming in contact with something considered as repellent such as dirt, feces, urine, vomit, saliva, (menstrual) blood, sweat, or semen. “Dirty” words thrown at one’s face or gossiping behind one’s back might provoke the conflict, because the subconscious, in GNM terms, cannot differentiate between real dirt and figurative dirt.
A “feeling soiled” conflict could be triggered through physical contact with a person who is regarded as “repulsive”, for instance, a drunk person, a smelly person, or a person who has a “contagious disease” (venereal disease), provided that one believes that “infectious diseases” are transmittable. The fear of an “infection” and of contracting a disease can affect an entire population (aka Great Plague).
When an organism is overwhelmed with the sensation of being attacked or being soiled, the body responds by building a “shield” by proliferating dermal tissue in the affected area. Again this is all about survival. Once the conflict is resolved, the body begins the process of breaking down this extra tissue.
This is when symptoms become apparent as bacteria breaks down the tissue and pus begins to form and become visible from the outside.
The healing phase is when the acne is visible, red, raised and pussy. No one knows this, so they try to pop the zit, put ointments on to kill the bacteria, scrub it, cover it up, etc. This just causes interruption of the healing phase and also continues to cause additional conflicts.
This is a big reason that these types of conflicts tend to perpetuate themselves and/or to give rise to additional conflicts of the same types.
Because the symptoms associated with these Biological Conflicts tend to look and feel unpleasant and unattractive (particularly to the individual who is experiencing them), these types of Conflicts tend to be self-perpetuating.
For example, a Feeling Attacked Conflict can result in acne that then gives rise to... a Feeling Soiled Conflict (if the acne is connected in their experience to being dirty or soiled and/or if the acne itself causes the individual to feel dirty, oily, or soiled)... and/or a Disfigurement Conflict (if the acne causes the individual to feel conflicted regarding their physical appearance).
Oftentimes escaping from the cycle of conflict symptoms from the original conflict + conflicts about symptoms is like trying to escape a busy roundabout when you aren’t familiar with navigating this strange strategy for managing traffic.
The first task is simply getting out of the cycle in which you’re currently trapped. Then, once you’re out, you have some breathing room to figure out how to avoid getting stuck in the future and now, if you do get caught, you can get yourself out as quickly and as easily as possible
So, lets look at my acne situation as a child for a moment knowing these conflicts.
At home there was always arguing. I was always feeling under attack by my mother and highly criticized. On top of that, I was experiencing other situations in my life that caused this feeling of attack and criticism by my peers. I was physically attacking my breakouts by popping them and applying zit zapping cream.
On top of that, I also convinced myself and my body that if something touched my face that I would break out. So every time I went to sleep I would keep my pillow off my face and if I found myself with my face on the pillow in the morning, I would tell myself that I would break out there and sure enough I did. When I looked in the mirror, I couldn’t help but see my gross skin riddled with pimples.
In addition to this, I also convinced myself that certain foods would cause my acne, in particular pizza, and I would avoid eating that.
Looking back knowing what I know now, it's no wonder that my acne continued for that many years. And why it is not a mystery that when I left home, it cleared up significantly. But I had to work on the gross element of this conflict up until my 30’s. I started to realize that my husband who never washes his face and touches it all the time with dirty hands, never broke out. I had to shift that old belief system around touching my face in order for the rest of my breakouts to resolve.
This is why it is very common for teenagers to have acne. It has nothing to do with their hormones. If that theory were true every teenager would be breaking out because they all are experiencing hormonal changes. As a teenager, parents/teachers/peers are highly critical, and feeling attacked by them verbally is very common. You're also sweating more during sports which can cause that feeling of being gross as well, depending if you see it that way.
As adults this all still applies. It all depends on the perception of what is going on in our life, the internal dialog we have about our skin and how we behave towards the acne.
In the last few years those that had to wear masks may have started to break out. This isn’t surprising because when wearing a mask it can feel hot, sweaty and gross. In addition, there have been a lot of verbal attacks going on among people.
So how do you resolve the subconscious tracks to acne?
Well as you can see there are a lot of moving parts and so many subconscious tracks and triggers will be connected to this. It's going to be very individual because, again, it is all about your perception and how you are responding to life and your breakouts.
But I do have some starting points for you.
Start looking at your acne with a different set of eyes. Remember that this is due to your body protecting you. It is doing this out of survival. When you see it, say “thank you body for protecting me. I trust that you are doing your job. “
Stop focusing on the blemishes when you look in the mirror. When you look in the mirror, focus on your eyes. Get your focus off your blemishes. The more you look at it, the more you are going to be tempted to go down the rabbit hole.
Stop the harsh treatments. We have been brainwashed to believe that killing the “bad bacteria” on our skin is the solution when in fact it's killing the flora that is vital to healing it. You don’t need to be washing your face 2 times a day. Once is enough and you don’t even need a soap, you can simply use water or a cleansing oil. Avoid using medicated creams to treat the breakouts. These again are only interrupting the healing cycle and negatively affect the microbiome that is on your skin. Don’t pop your pimples, this only adds to the attacking of your skin.
Let go of any limiting beliefs/theories that you have about your acne. Remember that a theory means that it isn’t true 100% of the time. Law means it happens every time. If the theories you have heard about fixing your breakouts were true, they would happen with everyone. Debunk those old beliefs, which by the way have been most likely given to you by others. You can give those beliefs back. Beliefs like the health of your gut is the health of your skin or that acne is due to hormones need to be let go of.
List the triggers that you have around feeling attacked and gross and create a plan of how you’re going to respond to them differently. For example: Are you feeling attacked by a co-worker? How can you choose to respond to them differently so that it is not about you being attacked and more about them and their own stuff. How can you create a mental shield to these things rather than your skin having to do it for you? What situations make you feel gross in the area that you are having break outs? How can you shift the way you are seeing this? If you are feeling gross when you sweat on your face when you are working out, maybe you can say at those times, thank you body for allowing me to detox through my skin, it feels so refreshing.
These are some of the things you can start with to break old patterns that are connected to your acne. These will all take time because you are having to break old patterns that are on autopilot.
The more you move from unconscious to conscious thinking the better you will be able to respond to life and your acne in a healthier way.
You will need to identify the event that started this as well and resolve that. That requires a specific process that I teach. In addition to that, I suggest working on building resilience around feeling attacked so you can prevent future attack conflicts.
How you do anything is how you do everything, so yes, it is important that you work on the event that started this, but what is just as important is working on how you can prevent it from happening again in the future.
Healing your acne can feel frustrating and like a battle you will never win. But it doesn’t have to be that way. By letting go of the old survival patterns that are at the root of it, you can have the clear skin that you dream of.
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Jenny Peterson is the founder and CEO of Mind Body Rewire (MBR). She teaches those that are overwhelmed with trying to heal chronic symptoms how to simplify their healing by focusing on just one place, the subconscious mind. Learn more about MBR here.