Woman, 22, shares candid selfies of severe acne over her entire face2020-01-25
Woman, 22, shares candid selfies of severe acne after her skin suddenly broke out across her entire face ‘because of the stress of moving to another country’
- Mariia Bilenka, 22, from Kiev, Ukraine, had clear skin in autumn 2019
- Her skin broke out in acne when she started working as an au pair in Germany
- She doesn’t know for sure why it happened, but believes stress is to blame
- Her skin has not improved, but she has grown to accept her skin condition
A woman whose skin suddenly broke out in severe acne covering her whole face has shared candid selfies of her condition online.
Mariia Bilenka, 22, from Kiev in Ukraine, had clear skin in the autumn of 2019, despite having had trouble with acne as a teenager.
But when she moved away from home to work as an au pair in Germany, her face suddenly flared up in angry, red spots.
She does not know for sure why her skin broke out so drastically, but believes the stress of moving away from home and starting a new life played a part.
There is no evidence stress is a direct cause of acne, but it may influence hormones which are linked to the onset of acne in adult years, and also trigger outbreaks in people who already have bad skin.
After finding a social media community of people living with acne, she grew to accept her skin condition and now posts about body positivity.
Mariia Bilenka, 22, from Kiev, Ukraine, saw her skin suddenly break out in acne covering her whole face when she became stressed – but she refuses to hide her condition
Ms Bilenka said: ‘When I was in Germany I was hugely stressed which meant my skin got worse rapidly. It was in the worst condition it had ever been in my life.
‘At that time I was almost alone, my family was far from me, only my friends could support me in my difficult situation.
‘I was feeling really lonely and absolutely broken, not only because of my skin but also because I really wanted to come back to Ukraine.
‘I don’t know how but I found the power and motivation to go outside every single day, even having big issues with my skin.’
Ms Bilenka first started getting acne at the age of 13.
Teenage acne is thought to be triggered by increased levels of the male sex hormone, testosterone, which rises naturally during puberty.
‘Everyone tried to convince me that [my acne] was just because of puberty and it would be gone,’ Ms Bilenka said.
‘But I am almost 23 now and still have acne, so this story has lasted almost 10 years already.’
Ms Bilenka’s skin had improved over her late teenage years before she moved to Germany to work.
She said: ‘During that time I don’t remember a time of having good skin but it wasn’t as bad as it is now that’s for sure.’
Ms Bilenka struggled with acne as a teenager (pictured) but it improved
Ms Bilenka is pictured left in November 2018 and right in December 2019
The illustrator can’t understand why her skin broke out so drastically, but believes the stress of moving away from home and starting a new life played a part
CAN STRESS CAUSE ACNE?
Acne is caused when excess sebum – a natural oil – and dead skin cells block your hair follicles.
Changes in hormones during puberty cause the skin to produce more sebum during teenage years.
There’s a chance that acne can run in families. Other causes of acne or links to it may include conditions such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and some medications. Women may also see a flare up of spots when their hormones change around their period or pregnancy.
Adult acne, or post-adolescent acne, is acne that occurs after age 25.
According to Harvard Health, there are some indirect factors that influence the aforementioned direct factors that cause acne.
This include stress which can influence oil production, hair products, skin care products, makeup and diet.
According to American Academy of Dermatology, researchers have found a relationship between stress and acne flare-ups. In response to stress, our bodies produce more androgens, a type of hormone.
These hormones stimulate the oil glands and hair follicles in the skin, which can lead to acne.
Ms Bilenka puts her sudden skin breakout down to the stress of moving.
Scientific evidence shows that, although stress isn’t likely to produce acne for the first time, it can can trigger episodes in people who already have the condition.
Experts say stress may indirectly cause acne by playing havoc on hormones and inflammation in the body, as well as making the skin oilier.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, when our bodies are stressed they produce more androgens, which are a type of hormone.
These stimulate the skin’s oil glands and hair follicles to become more active, which can make the skin more oily, making blocked pores more likely and leading to acne.
Once Ms Bilenka discovered the acne community on Instagram she soon realised that she wasn’t alone.
She plucked up the courage to share a bare-faced selfie to show her acne, and was inundated with messages of support from people who say that they’ve been inspired by her.
Ms Bilenka admits that she used to apply filters to her Instagram pictures to give the illusion of having perfect skin, but has since admitted this isn’t a reflection of real life.
The outpouring of support she’s received for her natural pictures has helped Ms Bilenka to not stress about the condition of her skin and has given her a more optimistic outlook on life.
Ms Bilenka plucked up the courage to share a bare-faced selfie on Instagram to show her acne, and was inundated with messages of support
The outpouring of support she’s received for her natural pictures has helped Ms Bilenka to not stress about the condition of her skin and has given her a more optimistic outlook on life
Ms Bilenka said some days are bad and she still gets people staring at her
She said: ‘When I shared my skin story with the Instagram world, I wanted to highlight that our health condition should be our privilege and it really matters. I got so much support from people I don’t know but to whom I am very thankful.
‘I started to write about acne positivity and loving ourselves almost a year ago, when I didn’t have so many breakouts.
‘Every day many amazing people would write me some nice words or they share their skin stories how they healed their skin or that they are in the process of it.
‘It’s just incredible how they motivate me to stay strong.
‘The Instagram hashtag #acnecommunity shows that you are not alone with your problems.’
Ms Bilenka still struggles to go out because she feels people stare at her.
But she is glad she has never received any negative comments about her skin.
‘All the negativity which I have ever received about my skin was usually only from my own thoughts,’ she said.
‘I used to apply filters and Photoshop to my skin before but I am so glad that nowadays many people, including celebrities, started to share their “real” photos.’
Giving advice to other people suffering with acne, Ms Bilenka said: ‘Please don’t stress, health trouble usually occurs because of it – acne does too.
‘If you are already dealing with acne, remember that stressing and crying all the time never helps.’
For more information, see Ms Bilenka’s Instagram.
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