I am not my skin.

Before you start reading, scroll to the bottom and press the “play” button. :)
I have lived most of my life with beautiful skin. I’m not bragging, it was nothing that I did specifically to make my skin that way, I was just born with it. I’ve never had products to recommend to others on how to get perfect skin, because I’ve never used products. It didn’t matter what I would put on my skin or what I didn’t put on it, I still woke up the next day with nearly perfect skin. Of course, I would have the occasional blemish, but it wouldn’t last and it wasn’t enough to make me feel insecure. I’m thankful that I was able to live the majority of my life not having to worry about having clear skin. But in the spring of this year, I started to get a small, dry, red patch on my face. I wasn’t sure why, I didn’t know what it was and didn’t know how to make it go away. I was told by health professionals that it was eczema, I then started using prescribed eczema ointment hoping to get rid of it. As I kept using the ointment through out the summer, the small, dry, red patches started to grow. The ointment relieved me of itchiness and redness, but never made it fully go away. Looking through photos of me from the last 6 months, I’ve seen the progression of these red patches go from being the size of a dime, to covering most of my face. I changed many things in my life in the past 2 months, doing everything I could and everything I’ve been told to do in order to get rid of this. Nothing worked. I went to see a dermatologist last week, who told me she believes this is much more than eczema, she believes what I have is Perioral Dermatitis. After being told about Perioral Dermatitis and looking up the symptoms, it became clear to me that this is what I have. Perioral Dermatitis is a skin condition that can be caused by fluoride, yes, fluoride. In most cases though, there is no known cause for it. For some reason, it is most common in young women. I was prescribed an antibiotic and told it would take a couple months to see results. I was also told to stay away from makeup and not let any cosmetic products touch my face if I wanted it to clear up. I was devastated.
I started researching home remedies to speed up the healing process, but reading stories about women who have struggled with this for years only discouraged me more. I was depressed. I read these stories about women doing everything they could to get rid of it and still having little to no results. I had a constant flow of tears as I thought about the worst case scenario. I didn’t want to look like this forever… or even for a few years. I cried some more… I cried A LOT. I felt sorry for myself, I pitied myself. My mom was frustrated with how I became so discouraged after reading more about the condition and about the experiences others have had with it. She told me it doesn’t matter what happened with other people, she told me to have HOPE  and to have FAITH, that this was not going to last as long for me. She told me to have FAITH in a God who heals without limitations, who heals where healing seems impossible or so far out of reach. I didn’t want to hear it…. I just wanted to cry and feel sorry for myself and I wanted everyone else to feel sorry for me to. I couldn’t see past my current circumstance, I couldn’t see past my temporary problem, I couldn’t see things getting better.

After I spent most of that night crying, I decided to pray, to talk to God. I told Him that I still love Him, that I know He didn’t make this happen to me and I thanked Him for healing me even before I’ve seen the healing come to pass. I needed that time to cry and I also needed that time talking to God. I woke up the next day feeling encouraged. I woke up no longer feeling sorry for myself, but accepting what was happening. I am not dying, this skin condition has no effect on me internally, it’s only cosmetic. I woke up feeling incredibly SHALLOW for thinking that my life was over because of a skin issue. I was consumed with thinking about what OTHERS would think of me, how they would see me differently, how they would look at me. But I am ALIVE and well and a silly skin condition isn’t going to keep me from praising God for my BEAUTIFUL life! I decided that if people want to judge me when they see me, those are people that I don’t want in my life. I decided that I’m not going to let my temporary problem have any control over my future. This doesn’t change who I am, I AM NOT MY SKIN and I am not my SHELL.
I decided to trust God. I am still taking the antibiotic and I am still doing every home remedy that I have heard of, I haven’t given up on healing, I’ve simply given up on caring how others see me. This skin condition, it’s out of my control, so to let it bury me deep into a depression would be foolish. I don’t want to hide in my house, I don’t want to be scared to go out in public. It’s not contagious, it’s just not… perfect. But that is simply my SKIN, that is my temporary SHELL. I’ve always known that beauty isn’t only skin deep. Beauty comes from the SOUL. Beauty starts from the inside. It doesn’t matter if others see me as beautiful, I am NOT what they see in me. I am what GOD sees in me.
I know that the internet is full of mean people who hide behind their computers just to tear others down in order to make themselves feel better. And as scary as it is for me to post a photo of what I currently look like, it’s scarier to let this keep me from being ME! I understand that some people will still look at this photo and only see ugliness, and that’s okay, I can’t change that. But my prayer is that some will see this and be able to accept themselves FULLY just the way they are. YOU are SO MUCH more than your shell, you are a BEAUTIFUL and UNIQUE SOUL.
Leah Hope Photography | I am not my skin


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  1. You are beautiful. I love everything about this post, thank you for sharing it with all of us. You are a blessing ♡

  2. Ivah says:

    Thank you for your transparency! I have eczema…I’ve had it since infancy & have definitely experienced the psychological torture skin disorders can cause. If you’re interested, please go to ITSAN.org I believe u will find interest in it!

  3. Alyssa says:

    I don’t want to seem pushy, but if you’re still hurting from it I recommend Young Living Oils. It’s helped me with MANY different health issues and I’ve been very blessed by it. I pray for strength for you in the coming months! :)

  4. trina says:

    You are beautiful no matter what leah! And iam glad you see that you are one of the kindest ppl ive ever known!! :)

  5. Shay says:

    Lovely girl, thank you for your words!

  6. Joan says:

    LoVe your beauty that’s exemplified inside out

  7. ronda hall says:

    Thank you sweet Leah for being so open and sharing this. I love and appreciate it soo much. I love the song you posted too. I love you’re heart and I will be Praying for you. I already see how he’s using this for his glory. And will be praying for supernatural healing. Love u soo much girl thank you. This has blessed me.

  8. laura says:

    YOu are a blessing, lady.

  9. Jo says:

    Thank you for being beautiful and strong enough to be you! This is so encouraging and reminds me of a part of one of my favorite quotes: As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. Keep shining :)

  10. You are BEAUTIFUL. Inside and out. Thank you for sharing who YOU are. :-) <3

  11. So sorry to hear about this- God does heal! You are so brave! Praying for your healing now. God cares about this and this is easy for Him! In the meantime, this is a website I love when I’m waiting for my healing and Western Doctors don’t know what to do to help (or when their solutions have horrible side effects) Here are people who found natural cures who worked for them: http://www.earthclinic.com/cures/perioral-dermatitis.html

  12. melissa greinke says:

    You impress me every time I read your blogs, see your photos and read your beautiful moments with God. Leah, God will pack down, shake and multiply the blessings coming to you.

    I can’t wait to reread about them. You’re blessed, even in your circumstance. Thank you for sharing.
    Blessing to such a unique and brave women!

  13. Ashley says:

    This is a beautiful post Leah…. This really hits home, thank you for being so transparent! Love your gorgeous <3

  14. Ginger says:

    Blessings to you!!!! What an absolutely encouraging post!!!

  15. Natalie Nylund says:

    You are amazing!!! Thank you for being brave enough to share your story! I know this will help many and has given me a refreshed heart of gratitude. I am alive, I have air in my lungs, therefore I am grateful!!! You are beautiful!!! Xo Natalie

  16. Jessica says:

    Hi, love :-) I just want to tell you that you are a brave soul. It takes courage to be vulnerable especially on the platform you’ve chosen. My heart goes out to you. I suffered with severe acne for 15 years. There was a point that I put a towel over the bathroom mirror because I just couldn’t look at myself anymore. As a woman in this society, it is so hard to separate one’s true self from the skin. But you’ve figured it out! All I see from this photo is sparkles and loveliness, a beautiful heart shining and singing! Keep on, dear heart! I’d give you a hug if we knew each other :-)

  17. This is a story right out of the Bible. God is using and molding you into the person you are. Amen!

    What some see as ugly, God says is beautiful. And that’s all the matters. Bless you my friend!

  18. Lisa says:

    What an absolutely beautiful witness you are! God is using you in wonderful ways. Thank you for sharing your story!

  19. Leila says:

    Leah! I can only imagine what you are going through! I hope you can find comfort knowing that people do care about you and think you are a gorgeous person! Keep smiling because only smiles can get you through the worst of times! Good luck and I will be sending positive thoughts your way!

  20. Natasha says:

    Thank you for this post!!! I was just diagnosed with this same skin condition last week, although I’ve been dealing with the issue for almost two years. It flared up worse than ever recently and I finally got a correct diagnosis. Mine is on the lower part of my face around my mouth and chin, but considering I was like you in that I had basically clear skin my whole life, I found this devastating as well…at first. But I have come to the conclusion as well that my appearance doesn’t define who I am and I am thankful for the things I’ve learned through this experience. I’m now on antibiotics and have a dairy free/gluten free diet to follow. I’ve seen improvements and I’m hopeful. Thank you for sharing yourself. You are so brave and encouraging.

  21. Cyndi says:

    My daughter had eczema on her leg. We first thought it was poison ivy. But it didn’t go away, the first appointment available with a dermatologist was 4 months later. So she dealt with it. Then I saw a show on PBS with a nurse who was also a dietitian about the digestive system. Bottom line she recommended probiotics. She listed what to look for. So I found one started giving my daughter one a day and within 2 weeks it started to clear up and that was about 3 weeks before her doctor appointment. There was very little left for the doc to look at. Since your on antibiotics it’s killing the good bacteria in your digestive system so a probiotic may make sense for you. We used Nature’s Way Primadophilus Optima. It might be worth checking out.

  22. Lisa says:

    What an encouraging story, bless you and thank you for being honest and transparent, may God be glorified through your struggles. God never wastes a hurt.

  23. Gabriela says:

    Hi, i related so much to your story! I’m 20 and I have eczema since i was 13 (thats when everything got worst), and it has been really hard sometimes, wanting to dress something, but not doing it because of being afraid of what people would think about your skin… Mine is food related, and emotional related too, so, it gets rough sometimes, but you always gotta believe and have faith that ALL this is over soon. Be strong!

  24. Jolene Miller says:

    was thinking…… Have you tried a gluten-free diet? I know of others who have had skin conditions that have cleared.

  25. Jodi says:

    Leah you are amazing. Loved this blog. You are an inspiration. Thank you for being you and being real :)

  26. Heather says:

    You are beautiful inside and out. God gave you so many gifts. Thank you for sharing your heart and your beautiful soul with us.

  27. Delaney Carr says: