The tale of Taryn Darlow
This is a long recount of my experience, so in case you don’t have the time to read my whole story or don’t care for it, you can either skip to when the challenge begins or you can read the key “take away points” below…
- This challenge required dedication, commitment, resilience and persistence
- You must make changes to your lifestyle, specifically your diet, and use Homepeel’s skin products
- This challenge will be an emotional rollercoaster
- Healing is far from linear
- For me, my skin began healing after 28 days, so my journey to confident skin took a little longer (but that’s cool)
- This story does have a HAPPY ending!
Do you believe that everything happens for a reason? I do.
Most of the time, you won’t know it until you reflect on it later, but it was no coincidence that I was meant to cross paths with Jodie Baker, Founder and Creator of Homepeel and one of the most genuinely beautiful people (both inside and out, that I have ever met), when I purchased her Green Herb Skin Peel.
My background story
My journey with Homepeel began long before I started the 28 Days Skin Confidence Challenge. It began one fateful afternoon when I was meant to meet a friend for coffee after work, but she couldn’t make it at the last minute. Craving my afternoon hit of coffee, I chose to have it alone. While at the café, I did as anyone else would do when they are alone, I sat on my phone, scrolling through Instagram. Not paying much attention, I scrolled quickly through posts, until I randomly stopped on a sponsored page, the page of Homepeel (probably there from all my searches about healing acne). The post was a sequence of 3 pictures of a girl who had acne scarring and after this treatment, had skin that I could only dream of. (If you are reading this via Homepeel, then I am sure you are familiar with this famous picture, but in case you are not, it’s the one below).
So, I did something I wouldn’t normally do. I sent a direct message to the page’s owner. It was here that I was introduced to Jodie, who replied with a very helpful response. Knowing that this Jodie person would definitely speak highly of her own products (because who wouldn’t), I took to the reviews. So many 5-star reviews, it was ridiculous. I had to try it. This was going to be the thing that fixed my skin and with that, my life problems too.
I made the decision to buy the product. I wasn’t sure how it would go so I waited until I was on holidays and what a good decision that turned out to be.
I didn’t get the standard experience that everyone else got. I ended up with an extreme peel, thanks to what I put down to as a high threshold for pain.
When you apply the herbs, your face is meant to “burn” and you must leave it on for on for 5 minutes once you hit a pain level of 8/10. I never got there.
After some consultation with Jodie (who replied within minutes of my HELP message), I followed the booster tips and then tried again.
Little did we know that the herb peel did work the first time and I had just given myself a double peel. My first thought? “Oh crap!” Having a mini freak out, Jodie reassured me that I hadn’t damaged my skin, I was just going to have a really intense peel. (Check out the pictures of the peel below (warning, they are gross).
I felt like Gold Member from Austin Powers with his flaking skin. I definitely didn’t leave the house for five days. Only leaving to pick up a friend from the airport, terrifying her when she got into the car. But considering the results, I would have done it again in an instant (but of course, you must wait at least five weeks, so I couldn’t have, even if I wanted to).
I was feeling pretty great about myself. I was healed. All was right in my world. People were complimenting me on how my skin was “glowing.” Comments no one had ever said to me before. But my beautiful new skin didn’t last long. Cue break out! Cystic acne lasting for weeks on end and later turning into horrible scars (even if I didn’t pop or pick at them). I felt “ugly” once again.
I wouldn’t classify myself as a vain person, obsessed with my looks. However, I have always been focussed on my skin, given my acne situation. I was so self-conscious about my acne and more recently my fine lines. I would often complain about being “pimply and wrinkly,” believing that I would never have a period of nice, flawless, clear skin.
Prior to the Homepeel, I went to seek medical advice. The dermatologist just wanted to put me on the pill. This was not an option. My periods were regular and my PMS symptoms were practically non-existent (lucky me…well aside from major acne breakouts). Why would I want to put something into my body that had a reputation of causing depression, changing symptoms (not always for the better) and causing some major health concerns? My acne wasn’t that bad to warrant serious medication either, like roaccutane. I had also tried topical treatments and antibiotics in years earlier and had no success.
I was ready to seek the advice of a naturopath earlier this year. However, after doing some research on how people healed their acne, I found one common factor. Dairy. Not my beloved dairy. Reading article after article of peoples recounts of how quitting dairy cleared their acne, it was evidence I couldn’t ignore. In January, I made the decision to quit dairy.
I did well. I exhibited a good level of self-control. I didn’t miss coffee or dairy as much as I thought I would. My stomach was noticeably more settled, so clearly dairy was having a negative impact on my gut health. After a few months of not consuming dairy, I noticed that my skin was improving but I was still getting cystic acne, at random times of month, so I knew it wasn’t hormonal acne alone. Wanting to clear the scars but knowing I didn’t have time for a 5-day peel, I messaged Jodie again asking her about another product of hers, the Homepeel Fortnightly Fruit Peel. It was during a conversation that Jodie talked to me about the possibility of trialling a new program, that she was currently in the process of creating.
She gave me the basic philosophy that “what you put in your body is just as important as what you put on the outside, for healthy glowing skin.” I knew about the importance of good gut health and diet on skin, and was well on my way to fixing that, however I had no idea where to start when it came to choosing the right skin products. I had tried lots of different brands and products in the past with no luck either.
Back and forth our emails went for weeks, explaining the idea. The need to use Homepeel products as well as removing diary and eggs, decreasing protein and fat intake, increasing water and fruit consumption and consuming celery juice daily. Celery juice. I had come across that too during my research. Lots of great anecdotal accounts of its healing properties, but no scientific research. And on top of that, lots of criticism from dieticians and medical doctors. Just spiritual guidance from some guy called the “Medical Medium.” I was fine with committing to everything else, but I was really sceptical about the celery juice (not to mention the need to drink a bunch a day, with the price of celery being out of control, this was going to be costly). So many people told me I was crazy. That there were others ways of healing (i.e medications). But, deep down, I believed it. I believed in the need to consume good healthy wholesome food and to apply good quality products to my skin. So, I made the decision and told Jodie that I accepted her challenge.
And so it begins: The Skin Confidence Challenge:
When the time came for me to start the challenge, the state of my face was back to its old ways. The exclusion of diary didn’t seem to be working as well as expected. Loads of pimples on my cheeks, chin and around my lips.
The challenge began with the 5 Day Green Herb Peel. I waited until the next school holidays to do this. I was way more cautious this time, now knowing how my body would, or should I say, wouldn’t, react. This time around was more pleasant. The way it should be. The first couple of days I looked like I had sunburn. I was forced to go out in public like this. No makeup, just a face undergoing a peel. And although the thought was initially terrifying, it was more empowering than anything else. The less I cared about what others thought, the more confident I became. It was this moment that I knew something great was going to happen. I underwent the peel as normal, as expected and for 5 days. All was well.
The same day that I started the peel, I started on the dietary requirements, including the celery juice. Not having dairy, that was fine, I was used to that already. No eggs, that was fine too. Eating more fruit, I could manage that. Cutting back on the protein and fats (even the good ones), that was going to be tough, but manageable. Drinking Celery juice. Now that was going to be tough.
It was going to be tough, at least at first. It wasn’t the most pleasant thing to drink in the morning and not to the mention the impact on the digestive system. Running to the toilet frequently, there was no way I could sustain that while I was back at work. Fortunately, it didn’t last long. My system regulated again pretty quickly and I figured out how long it took for my body to react to the celery juice. 1 hour more specifically.
My skin was looking pretty good from the peel. The results weren’t as great as the first time, but then again, I didn’t take about 10 layers of skin off. A few blind pimples had found their way to the surface and I was worried about it surfacing, rupturing and then scarring my vulnerable skin. Seeking advice from Jodie about some remedies, we decided the best thing to do was just leave it. Later that week, my Homepeel products arrived in the mail; the Enzyme Cleanser, Vitamin C, Retinol, Peptides Cream and Pure Hyaluronic Acid. All beautiful products, specifically combined for acne prone skin. I was to apply them twice daily.
Easter. Not much fun when you have a restricted diet and all of your favourite traditional Easter feast dishes contain diary or eggs. Also, not fun, is watching everyone eat chocolate and not being able to have even a little bit. (I was later surprised with Dairy free chocolate, so it wasn’t all bad).
At this point I had been on the celery juice for 2 weeks and 1 week using the products. The results? Well, sad to say, weren’t positive. Every day I would wake up and cleanse my face, only to discover more whiteheads and blind pimples, of varying sizes, had surfaced. My forehead and jawline coping the worst of it.
I was feeling pretty down. Making so many changes and sacrificing the foods I loved, for no positive results, not even a small glimmer. Hoping for some reassurance, Jodie did some researching for me. We decided to not apply the Vitamin C serum as this sometimes can make people break out, especially if they have never used it before. We later discovered that I was undergoing a “purge.” With the celery juice detoxing my liver and consequently my lymphatic system. All of the toxins were being released through my skin, hence why the acne was continuing to develop. The remedy, drink lemon water. So that’s what I did. I also really cut back on my protein consumption, eating vegan meals for my lunch at work, keeping animal proteins to once or twice a week.
Not my finest hour. I had been pretty positive for the last 3 weeks, even with the setbacks. But one night, after cleaning my face, I looked in the mirror and just cried. I cried because I felt like I was putting so much energy into this healing and making so many sacrifices, yet not seeing any results. Not even minor results. Nothing. I was worse than before. And I was in the final week of the challenge. The peel had been for nothing, all the acne would scar again. Sitting at my computer researching, tears streaming down my face, I discovered that skin purges could take between 4 to 6 weeks. This restored my faith in the process.
Later in the week, I was in a better mental state. Although I still had whiteheads on my jawline and on my cheeks, I wasn’t “breaking out” with cystic acne. This was the progress I needed to see.
Although the 28 days were up, I was only just starting to heal. I was going to keep at it. I decided to up my intake of celery from 500mls to 750ml-1L, as I was no longer feeling the effect from 500mL alone.
Moment of weakness. I had a schnitzel sandwich with dijonaise while at Uni. I wasn’t thinking and it wasn’t until I ate it that I realised that there would have been traces of egg and milk. I knew as soon I ate it, that it was a bad idea. I believed that I was going to break out and sure enough, new pimples. Again. Jodie sent me the link to the Medical Medium’s podcast about Acne. I learnt about the Streptococcus virus in more detail. The strain of strep, that lives in the body that causes acne. It feeds on dairy and eggs. Even though I was starting to see results, consuming dairy and eggs, even minor traces, would continue to feed the virus and consequently, prolong its death. I needed to be more careful and stricter moving forward. And I needed to check the ingredients list on any product in a packet.
Finally starting to feel “fabulous” in my own skin. Although it still wasn’t “flawless” and some small pimples were still popping up, my pigmentation was certainly clearing. I loved waking up and seeing that I had a normal skin colour. For as long I can remember, my skin has been so inflamed that “red” was my skin tone. The retinol serum was working wonders.
I consumed more meat than I would have liked in the previous week, so I needed to apologise to my body, so I made sure I cut the protein and ate vegan meals to make up for excess meat consumption.
The one area of my face that I could not seem to heal, was my forehead. After some research, I discovered that I could be suffering from a fungal related acne. A Korean Beauty page (Nudie Glow), suggested that washing the area with Head and Shoulders shampoo would remedy that problem. So, I gave it a go. I think it worked.
Still feeling great. I was sitting across from a colleague in the staff room and she looked at me and said, “I can’t stop looking at you, you just look so healthy!” Such a powerful affirmation. Yes, I was looking healthy and I was feeling healthy. All the changes made were finally impacting on me and beyond the health of my skin. My hard work was now visible to other people. Although I still had a long way to go, I was really starting to notice the changes.
I was going to be in for a challenging experience this week though. School Camp. 3 days, no celery juice and typical camp food. Processed and refined. Although I could avoid dairy and eggs, I couldn’t avoid everything. I also had coffee and soy milk for the first time. Risky adding new things into the diet, not knowing how my body would react.
Setback. Three pimples on my chin and three along my jawline. Thankfully the healing process is now a couple of days and not a couple of weeks like it once was. I couldn’t quite put my finger on the reason for the setback. Possibly the innutritious camp food, the soy milk or the caffeine. Maybe hormonal changes (cue period). Maybe stress. Work had been incredibly busy over the last couple of weeks. Possibly a low immunity thanks to a combination of these things. A fun fact that I learnt from listening to the Medical Medium podcast is that, when women menstruate, 80% of their immune system focuses on the reproductive organs, leaving only 20% to focus on the rest of the body. So, with all these possibilities, no wonder there were pimples returning. I really needed to be strict with my diet. Cut meat. Reduce the gluten. Increase the lemon water and fruit.
A wonderful thing happened this week. I was brushing my teeth and I looked up in the mirror and said to myself, “look at how gorgeous your skin is.” Bare and makeup free. I have never uttered that sentence about my own skin before. I had only 2 active pimples. Running my hand over my face I could not feel any bumps or an uneven skin surface. My skin was finally healing. Just scarring, but I was not worried, that’s an easy fix thanks to the Green Herb Peel. My goal moving forward was to be particularly strict with my diet, to not give the srtep virus anything to feed off, so that when I do the peel again in week 12, I can reduce the likelihood of any break outs.
The pictures above may not look like progress, but considering where I came from after the peel with all of the breakouts from the purge, this is actually amazing, especially as it is mostly scarring (plus the lighting isn’t the best in this picture)
Am I becoming vainer? Or is it because my skin is healed that I notice when a new pimple arises. I’m not sure how you can go to work with one 2 pimples and come home to 5 new ones. I have disrupted something in the system, or am becoming hormonal. I wasn’t going to allow myself to get upset with another setback. I believe this is the process. I will heal, it will just take longer than 10 weeks.
The large cystic acne that developed last week lingered all week and despite the ugliness of them, I remained positive. The reason being is because those pimples are clearly defined and the skin around the area and most of my face is clear and smooth. I absolutely love the Enzyme Cleanser Kit on exfoliation days…Sunday, Wednesday and Friday.
To limit the chance of aggravating the acne, I chose to cut gluten and meat out as much as possible moving into the following week.
I went to a party that weekend and needing to be strict on my diet was a challenge. I could avoid the eggs and the dairy, but it was impossible to avoid all foods. As much as I enjoyed the delicious homemade spring rolls (so much so, that I thought I was going to eat enough of them that I’d turn into one), I shortly found myself craving something fresh and nutritious. I later came across a post from the Medical Medium explaining this. He said when you start to feed your body with healthy food, your body starts to crave it. I believe this is so accurate. All I want is fresh food now, especially fruit. Fruit all day, every day. Maybe it’s the natural sugar and I now have a fruit addiction. But there are worse things to be addicted to, right?
So close to clear skin. The cystic acne from the previous week have disappeared, leaving some light scarring. However just when you think you are in the clear, be careful for those sneaky pimples that rock up unannounced. Three little whitehead pimples appeared around my bottom lip and two on my chin. They don’t look bad, but surprising painful. It is easy to get upset with setbacks, but it is important to remember how much progress has been made. If this is what I have to deal with, small barely noticeable pimples, then I’ll take it, way better than the inflamed and painful acne that I had to deal with for years before. I could blame those pimples on my hormones, but I will blame unconscious stressing of having to go to Uni on my holidays to be the cause of them. I just needed to take 10 deep breaths to bring my body back to a state of calm.
Time to peel!
Holiday time. The best time to peel. I decided that I wanted an intense peel, so I steamed my face and exfoliated before applying the green herbs. I managed to get to an 8/10, but pain shortly subsided and despite my best efforts to bring the pain back up (that sounds psychotic), I had no luck. After a conversation with Jodie, she explained that the more you use the Green Herb Peel, the less effective it becomes because there is less dead skin cells for the herbs to attach to. This made sense because my skin has been so smooth with regular exfoliation over the last 3 months.
The journey continues
After the peel, I continue to experience the development of pimples, however now I cannot class them as “acne breakouts.” I spent much of my time focusing on the pimples that had developed or stressing about getting new pimples, that that is what exactly happened. I am learning that if I focus my energy onto my imperfections, imperfections are what I shall receive. So, I am currently working on changing that and shift my energy. I now have a rule that I am not allowed to look in the mirror and focus on an imperfection, but rather celebrate the progress and smile at myself. It’s not always easy, but it gets easier each day I practice this.
I have been reading lots of books and listening to podcasts, because everyone should become more knowledgeable in order to make their own decisions that serve them best. Many of the books I have read, speak about how eggs and proteins are good for the liver and essentially the gut and skin health too, despite what the Medical Medium says and the requirements of this challenge. What is important to note is that you must read your body. I know I feel better without eggs, dairy and meat and I have seen significant improvements in my health.
I have also learnt a lot about sleep and mediation. In today’s world we have so many things that trigger stress in our daily lives and the presence of the stress hormone cortisol in our system, also triggers acne. Research shows that sleep and meditation/deep breathing reduce the presence of cortisol significantly. As a result I have improved my sleeping practices, cutting ties with technology at least 1hr before bed, getting 8 hours sleep (turning lights off at 10pm and waking up at 6am), changing my pillow and improving my bedroom environment, by adding plants to improve air quality. I purchased a ‘Habit’ journal from Kikki K and focusing on daily meditation and deep breathing practices.
I read a book, You can heal your life by Louise Hay and she spoke about how all health conditions are due to conscious and subconscious beliefs, with acne being because of “low self-worth.” So each morning in my meditation, I repeat her manta for acne healing, “I am a divine expression of love. I am perfect just the way I am right now.”
I continue to explore food and its amazing health benefits. There is an abundant amount of literature on food and healing the gut, liver and hormones through dietary changes. Everything is essentially all linked, and what I have currently been working on through this program is in line with the research…except the link to animal proteins and eggs.
My next goal is to increase my body movement. I am fairly uninspired when it comes to exercise. However, everyone knows how important it is, so it will be my next goal…maybe when the weather isn’t so cold.
Overall, I am really happy with my skin, and although it’s not “perfect” or flawless, it is so much better. To get to a point where I can happily leave the house without any makeup, even with small pimples and scarring, indicates the progress I have made, both in how my skin looks and my confidence in my skin. I still choose to use a light powder coverage (so no creams, foundations or concealers – unless it’s a special occasion) just because I still want to look presentable, particularly at work, but on the weekends and doing day to day activities out in public, I am more than happy to go out fresh-faced and make-up free, and let me tell you, it is so empowering!
The Skin Confidence Challenge has been exactly that. A challenge. I have had my ups and downs. I have failed and I have succeeded. I failed when I had moments of weakness, whether it was from consuming foods that I shouldn’t have (even the smallest amount) or having a lack of faith that this process was going to heal me. I believe that I was successful through my dedication and commitment to the program. But most importantly, maintaining a positive attitude and trusting that this was going work, was ultimately my key to success. Any person who has succeeded in anything will tell you that it’s no easy ride. You will have challenges, you will have moments of weakness and sometimes, like in this exact case, things may take longer. But in the end, you will get what you want, because you put the effort and energy into it.
No words are enough to express my gratitude to Jodie. She has gone above and beyond through her generosity, kindness and knowledge, in supporting me on this journey. She has been there for me in both moments of sadness and joy. Reassuring me when I felt broken and celebrating with me when I experienced break throughs. Through this program, she has introduced me to the Medical Medium and his knowledge of the healing properties of Celery Juice. I can’t confirm if it’s purely the celery juice or a combination of everything, but since starting this challenge, I have not only cleared my skin,
but I have healed my body and I have never felt better. I feel so full of energy and focussed since being incredibly mindful of what I fuel my body with. My body is the temple for my soul and although I haven’t mistreated it consciously in the past, it feels wonderful to treat my body even better now.
Healing my acne has allowed me to feel comfortable and confident in my own skin. I feel genuinely happy and incredibly grateful. With such a significant shift in my perception of myself, I feel like I can accomplish anything at the moment, nothing seems impossible.
If you were to ask me at the start of this journey, if I knew what the impact of clearing my skin would be, I never would have expected that in simply healing my skin, I would heal my mind, my body and my soul.
So, if like me, you’re struggling with you skin and being confident in your own skin and are currently doing the challenge or want to do the change, I leave you with a few simple words of wisdom. Always stay positive, your mindset is everything. Be persistent, it isn’t an easy ride. Be committed, keep to the program. Be patient, for there will be setbacks. Trust the process and you will get there.
This is a life changing experience and I cannot speak high enough of Jodie, the Homepeel products and the Skin Confidence Challenge.
Having to be strict with my diet, was difficult at first, until I discovered there is pretty much a substitute for everything…except cheese. I’d rather have no cheese than vegan cheese.
I love to research recipes, try them or use them as inspiration. In the table below are some of my favourite recipes and my must haves. You can find the recipes (and food tips for healing) on my Instagram page @tarynstable (a new page I have set up, since becoming increasing passionate about eating foods for healthier skin).
*Gluten free was a new addition to the program. Although I didn’t consume a lot of gluten throughout a week, I wasn’t completely “gluten free.”
Check out the Medical Mediums Top 10 Healing Fruits
If you buy your dips (just check the ingredients list for sneaky traces of milk and egg) and remember the less preservatives the better
Egg: Aquafaba (i.e: Chickpea water) works wonders 2 tbsp = 1 egg
Milk: any non-diary milk option (almond, cashew, coconut, rice, oat, pea – my preferences are almond for sweet flavouring and coconut for savoury, but it’s a personal preference)
Greek Yoghurt: Coconut cream with lemon juice
Chickpeas: can basically turn into anything, always have a can on hand
Jackfruit: can substitute meat – particularly pork
Always check the ingredients of anything in a packet. I purchased a gluten free pizza base and before I opened it, I noticed it had eggs in it. Thank goodness it was a clearance item for $0.99. Also watch for diary free products, such as “diary free dip” as they have egg instead.
I was mindful with what I ate. If I had more meat than desired, I would make sure the following week I would eat vegan-based meals the following week.
If I was consuming more of one thing, I would reduce or cut the other, just so I wasn’t overwhelming my digestive system.
These books and podcasts have been amazing in providing me with an abundant amount of information on health and wellness topics.
- You can heal your life by Louise Hay
- Thrive by Ariana Huffington
- Mindset by Dr Carol S. Dweck
- The Everything Guide to Spices for Health: A Complete Guide to the Natural Health-boosting Benefits of Everyday Spices by Michelle Robson-Garth
- Healthy Hormones : A Practical Guide to Balancing Your Hormones by Belinda Kirkpatrick and Ainsley Johnstone
I love listening to podcasts to and from work, such an easy way to squeeze learning into your day. I love the Melissa Ambrosini Show and Your Dream Life with Kristina Karlson (Kikki K). All there interviews are amazing but the following are ones that really resonated with me.
The Melissa Ambrosini Show
Your Dream Life with Kristina Karlson (Kikki K)
- Robin Sharma: Mastering your mornings, improve productivity and commit to greatness
- Ariana Huffington: Redefining success, digital detoxing & embracing positive daily rituals
- Jasmine Hemsley: Mindful living, eating for wellbeing and simple ways to practice Ayurveda