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By: Thembi Tshabalala

Thembi Tshabalala

The thought of bad skin/skin problem was as foreign to me as an unknown world can be. I would not even imagine it ever happening to me. I thought good skin was one of those constant variables that were given and that you never ever have to work out in a formula. I went about in negligence; eating and drinking anything I wanted and also applying every other thing that seemed good to use. Believe it or not beauty mattered, image mattered, looks mattered but I didn’t do anything to take care of it. When the skin started breaking out and reacting to all the wrong things I had been using I still couldn’t own up to my responsibility. I blamed it on genes and heredity. Although but i truthfully admit that it wasn’t the only contributing factor.

When it reached an alarming phase I became desperate, ready to do anything and everything that would work; anything that could make the problem disappear at once. Quick remedies, quick solutions expensive or not I was ready to use. I started mixing and matching chemicals and needless to say that got me worse. As it grew worse I was overwhelmed by peoples’ facial expressions, discomfort, gossips and some scary recommendations to add on that. I shamefully admit to have tried out most of them– all the disgusting and absurd remedies. Short-term solutions often create long term problems or leave you at the door step of a long term solution.

At last I surrendered and consulted a qualified and respected dermatologist,Dr Mpofu. She looked at me and immediately knew I was using the wrong chemicals. She gave me a prescription of a very strong medication that I was meant to take every evening. The medication made my face even worse. I looked horrific, caused a stare and lost my confidence along the way. I reached rock bottom where I question beauty.


I doubted it simply because I couldn’t see it. The mirror couldn’t hide it either – my face was terrible, my lips were swollen and my eyes were turning red. All this drove me close to depression. Then God’s answer came in an unexpected. His answer was actually the definition of beauty. What it is and how I should see it. ‘True Beauty lies within’ is what I held on to. The outward is still good to have but what matters is what lies within. That definition is not an easy one to accept nor identify with due to all the pressures of media, friends and family. I believe that anyone who taps into the revelation of inner beauty is liberated. This is where the whole experience was leading me to and I’m still on the journey to my inner beauty. Here’s a piece I wrote during as the revelation came:

 Beauty beyond the surface

Layers of it lie in the depth of its content

Its definition is not even contained in its word

Beauty beyond what is seen

Beauty beyond the eye

Even the beholder cannot yet grasp its consuming fire; Fire that sweeps you off your feet even in blindness

Those who find it in the exterior only grasp the glimpse of it

Beauty far beyond the evident

Beauty beyond the picture

Its image has an aroma of character

It’s a thread of an infinite cord that stretches to the inner situate

Undistorted by media or false appearance

Beauty beyond depiction

Beauty beyond time

Ticks to the tests of life

Remains intact even past the age

Its revelation is absolutely timeless

Beauty beyond occasion

Beauty beyond…


The problem with my skin was a real humbling experience that taught me a lot about God and myself. I’m grateful that God trusted me with that kind of thorn in my flesh. By His grace I became even more confident and fearless.


The lesson of real beauty is one to be repeated daily. The revelation of it makes you look at people differently and know yourself better but it’s not adefault view. You almost need to tune to it every time. My skin is healed and I’m no longer taking treatment for it. I have normal skin and I must add that I’m glowing. The comments have changed from pitty to compliments. I walk in a room without shame knowing that when people turn to look at me they are marvelling at my outward beauty instead of feeling sorry for my bad skin. But beyond that I know that all those who come even closer get a glimpse of the true beauty I possess inside.