Sunday 25 September 2016

Miriam Donohoe: Cameron's refreshing message shows that - famous or otherwise - nobody is perfect

Mriiam Donohoe

Published 10/01/2014 | 02:30

Hollywood actress Cameron Diaz revealed her battle with bad skin.
Hollywood actress Cameron Diaz revealed her battle with bad skin.

WHAT do Hollywood actress Cameron Diaz, One Direction idol Harry Styles, supermodel Kate Moss and 'Harry Potter' star Daniel Radcliffe have in common?

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They are rich and famous household names. Well spotted, right?

Well yes, but all have also suffered with acne, the single biggest skincare complaint in the world.

Acne is on the increase with one in five of us suffering with it at some point in our lives. It is a teenager's curse and the cause of huge stress, especially in this modern age when image is oh-so important and the pressure is on to be perfect.

Acne is as unwelcome a fact of teenage life as curfews and schoolwork.

The incidence among adolescents in some western countries is reported to be as high as 95pc. And it is not just a teenage problem either; 54pc of women and 40pc of men who get acne experience it past the age of 25; 12pc of women and 3pc of men show facial acne into middle age.

But there's something reassuring about knowing catwalk goddesses, screen heroines and pop idols are mere mortals when it comes to the scourge of acne.

It doesn't matter how many blockbusting movies you are in, the number of records you sell or the balance in your bank account -- acne does not discriminate.

No one is immune. Ask 'Desperate Housewives' star Eva Longoria, Britney Spears, Madonna, Pete Doherty or one of the world's highest earning sportsmen, Rory McIlroy, who suffers sometimes.

It was refreshing to read of Cameron Diaz's honest account of her struggle with acne right into her 30s. She revealed this week she had "terrible, terrible skin" and that she did everything she could think of to make it go away.

In an interview to promote her new health guide, 'The Body Book', the actress bared her soul on the problem of pimples.

"I tried to cover it with make-up. I tried to get rid of it with medication: oral, topical, even the harshest prescriptions. Nothing helped for very long."

Appearing on-screen was really challenging, with desperate attempts to cover the pimples up for the cameras. "It was awkward and embarrassing and frustrating, and I always felt really bad about myself."

Diaz offers hope and great advice to thousands in her interview when she revealed the problem cleared up when she started cooking healthy and eating less fast food.

"A funny thing happened... my skin began to clear up! My acne wasn't totally gone, but it was significantly better.

"Looking back, I realise that I hadn't needed those prescription drugs, those vials of potions and creams.

"I hadn't needed to be angry at my skin or feel bad about myself. I had just needed to listen to my body... Acne was my body's alarm system."

Acne takes no prisoners. It can rear its ugly head at the very wrong time.

Spots can appear before that dream date, the important job interview or, in the case of celebrities, before they walk the red carpet.

But just like the rest of us, these celebs still brave the public with bad skin, showing that it's not the end of the world if you suddenly come down with a case of spots.

Women and men are prone. In my house growing up all of us five girls were extremely lucky to have more or less escaped "zit" free.

It was my brothers who suffered as teenagers.

It is so refreshing to hear Diaz, one of Hollywood's most glamorous film stars, reveal that she is not perfect either. She is also sending out an important healthy-eating message in these times when the numbers of people who are obese is growing worldwide.

Skin experts agree with Diaz that diet is a huge factor in tackling acne. They agree the high incidence in western countries is largely a factor of a diet heavy in saturated fats, processed foods and refined sugars. Hormones contained in milk and other dairy products are also pinpointed as a possible cause.

Experts also say women plastering themselves in make-up from as young as 10 and 11 is a cause. More needs to be done to educate on the importance of cleaning, caring for and protecting skin.

We parents have a role, too. It isn't good enough to tell our spotty teens, or young adults, that they will "grow out of it".

We need to help them address the problem before it affects their confidence and self-esteem. Untreated acne can also leave people scarred for life.

In extreme cases it is necessary to use drugs -- a choice many are slow to make.

Acne is the scourge of youth.

It's miserable. But if you suffer, remember so did Cameron Diaz and she did ok.

Irish Independent

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