It’s estimated that around 50 million Americans suffer from acne, for some, it’s mild and short-lived while for others it’s severe and painful. However, no one talks about the psychological effects this very visible skin condition can cause. Red irritation, blackheads, and texture on the front and center of the most visible part of the human body, it’s easy to understand the body image and self-esteem issues that can come with it.
We’re told smooth, flawless, and perfect skin is what’s beautiful while acne is disgusting, gross, and equates to being dirty. While acne can be caused by the skin not being properly cleansed, this is not usually the case. In fact, the cause of acne is almost limitless between hormonal changes, diet, stress, genetics, to product irritation.
Until I was 17, I had never dealt with any acne until I went on birth control causing my hormones to go all out of whack. From then on it was an entire nightmare, my acne was cystic (a more severe form of acne). The pain was unbearable, and I refused to leave the house without a full face of foundation and concealer.
I was spending unthinkable amounts of money on dozens of products which did little to nothing to help until I finally sought the help of a dermatologist. The visits took my acne from severe to moderate and gave me a better understanding of why this was happening, and that it wasn’t my fault.
I did, however, do more harm than good by caking my face and stripping my skin but I felt hideous and dirty. Until one day I ran out of foundation and my concealer was too dark, I was forced to leave the house without face makeup. No one stared, no one laughed, and the world did not end. I felt confident and empowered then I tried it again and got the same results.
Eventually, I started to go without face makeup most of the week and not only did I see an improvement in my self-esteem but in my skin. My acne was calmer, pores smaller, and I could see my freckles. Today my relationship with my skin is better than ever. I make sure to use as minimal of products as possible and treat it when it needs it.
My acne journey leads me to a few conclusions like understanding that my acne does not define me as a person nor should it define you. Flaws and imperfections are a part who we are, and by accepting them, we take control of them.