At the age of 11, I remember seeing my older sister of 3 1/2 years freak out. Her first pimple had erupted on her skin and she was mortified to be going to school with it showing. My mom assured her that it was a natural symptom of puberty and fluctuating hormones and this helped soothe some of her anxiety.

I, on the other hand, was having a laugh. At the time, my skin was flawless, as young girls’ skin is. “Ha!” I shouted at my sister, and she immediately recoiled. I regret that moment immensely, but one happening will always be remembered. “Just wait,” my mom said. “Someday, you’ll get acne, as well. All the women in our family get it at some point or another.”

I shrugged it off and tried to forget her warning. But two years later, I noticed a difference in my skin. All of a sudden, there were sore, pink-and-red blotches covering my neck, shoulders, back, and forehead. In the beginning, I perceived it to be a sign of womanhood. “I’m growing up!” I thought. But before long, I wished it would stop.

What began as one or two pimples here and turned into chronic cystic acne within six months. I couldn’t find a single patch of clear skin learner than a dime on my skin. My new reality crippled my self-confidence, and I found myself dreading to go to school. No one teased me about my skin per se, but I was incredibly self-conscious about it.

The media reminded me that clear, smooth skin was “hot,” “cool,” and necessary for someone to love me. So, like a naive teenager, I began to try hundreds of different skin care products. Some helped slightly, mainly by drying out my skin. Others made me break out even worse. I must have spent thousands of dollars on new skin care products, yet nothing worked.

Perhaps because I was desiring to control something — anything, I developed an eating disorder. “I might not be able to have clear skin, but I can be fit and skinny,” I told myself. When I was 15-years-old, I began to weigh my food meticulously. I adopted a “vegan” diet so I could minimize my caloric intake and stay away from calorie-dense foods without too many questions.

When I was by myself, I would spend hours scrolling through Pro-Anorexia sites. “Nothing tastes as good as thin feels,” the bulletin boards told me. “Yes,” I whispered to myself. After play rehearsal, I would run five miles. My only food for the day? One packet of crackers and some bland cafeteria soup.

My health began to deteriorate almost immediately. I felt like I was in a fog. Obsessing about my body and my still acne-ridden skin caused me to become paranoid. The lack of food led to fatigue and grouchiness. After a while, my grades began to drop — only slightly, but still in a noticeable way.

Six months after I began practicing calorie restriction and binge-purge behavior, I received a wake-up call. I was hunched over a toilet, trying to expel a healthy dinner of mashed potatoes and salmon, when I heard a voice outside of me. “Enough,” it said. And the force of it was so powerful, I was knocked onto my behind.

I remember what it felt like to stumble to the mirror and look at myself — really look at myself. My eyes were red-rimmed and I looked like I was trying to kill myself. That’s when I knew, if I was ever going to make something of myself and get over this unhealthy mindset, I needed to change.

It wasn’t easy, but that’s exactly what happened. With my mom’s intervention, I made an effort to eat more healthy foods and larger quantities of them. After school, I researched holistic healing modalities and diets that can lead to clearer skin. I even landed a job working at a health food store, where I could help other people learn to love and heal their bodies in a natural way.

Once I stopped fighting my body and fed it suitable amounts of plant-based foods (fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes, leafy greens, and some grains), my skin cleared approximately 50 percent. I began to exercise less, drink more water, and spent more time engaging in hobbies I enjoyed, including music, horseback riding, and studying.

It was hard to train myself out of perfectionist behavior, and it is an ongoing struggle, but the effort yielded positive results. I am lucky I didn’t have to be checked into an eating disorder facility. And though I still sometimes struggle with my body image, I do not feel compelled to chuck my dinner or refrain from eating when I lose control.

In fact, I am rehashing my experience with an eating disorder for the very fact that it led me to a holistic lifestyle. As a result of my flirting with anorexia and bulimia, I was forced to eat healthier, live more mindfully, spend more time outdoors doing activities I love, and cultivate nurturing relationships with people who love me for I am.

My love for holism is what also led me to supplement with CBD oil. Despite hearing about its numerous properties and benefits, I never considered ingesting it or applying it topically. But six months ago, around the same time I ordered CBD oil to help with my 85-year-old grandmother’s skin cancer, I decided to purchase some for myself.

Within two weeks, my skin looked different. In addition to being less puffy, less red, and less inflamed, my pores became smaller. Before I began to supplement with the CBD oil, sourced from Sisters of the Valley, my acne was 20 percent of what it was in high school. Now, it is about 5 percent.

It has now been about three months since I began applying CBD oil after washing my face in the evenings. A major noticeable change was a reduction in acne scars. Like most teenagers, I didn’t believe my skin would scar from picking at zits. I was wrong. Fortunately, CBD salve has helped with this.

Studies have concluded that CBD salve can benefit a number of skin conditions, including psoriasis, skin cancer, and dermatitis. Though there are no conclusive studies on the non-psychoactive compound’s ability to benefit acne, I know first-hand that it does

CBD oil is, at its very essence, medicine. It is obtained from the cannabis plant which has killed 0 people in the history of Earth. When people toke on bud, their anxiety is reduced and their depression benefited. When people rub CBD salve onto injuries or consume CBD oil tinctures, they are able to experience improved health on all levels (mind, body, spirit, and physical). I can attest to this fact, which is why I am sharing my testimonial.

My hope is for other people with acne, skin conditions, or even eating disorders to adopt a holistic lifestyle and experiment with CBD. It has worked for me, now go see if it works for you!