The Body-Postivity Message No One Talks About: Acne

This condition affects 85% of people aged 11 to early twenties. It is painful, lowers self-esteem, and can make it hard to look in the mirror.

What is this you may ask?

 

Acne.

 

A Little Bit About My Experience...

My doctor herself said, “my acne was bad”. That was before she gave me medication that made my acne ten times worse. I came into that appointment after being at college for three months. With stress and unhealthy food choices, my acne became worse than it had ever been. My entire face was red with irritation and pimples. Despite my efforts to stay positive, looking in the mirror made me sad some days with how bad my face had gotten. 

Thankfully, I finally found a prescription and face care routine that has been gradually improving my acne for the last six months. As of now, I have one pimple on my face which is a miracle compared to what my face used to look like just a few short months ago. My acne scars are still healing, which will be a much longer process but I can see the difference each week that goes by.

 

The struggle is real when it comes to acne. 

Looking back, I can’t deny that it was a struggle, and one I’m sure many can relate to. These are things I would find myself thinking in the midst of it:

“It’d be fine if it didn't hurt.”

“It’s bad enough to have pimples, but then you have to deal with the scars too.”

“My face would look so much better if it was just clear.”

“I want to use cover-up, but it will just make my face more irritated.”

 

I know I’m not alone in this, but this often leads me to the question….

 

Why does no one talk about it?

This question makes me wonder why with all of the popular body-positivity movements that no one seems to talk about acne, even though it’s something so many women struggle with. I know that the #nomakeup trend focused on women being comfortable in their own skin, but it rarely focused on acne in the way it's needed.

Even though I am coming through the other side of my acne struggle, I know first hand that it can be hard to look at yourself with confidence when the red blemishes show up. So here is my encouragement to other women still struggling.

 

Don’t forget to enjoy life and take pictures

Image courtesy of Abbey Keller

I know you don’t want to, but your life is not paused when you are waiting for your acne to get better. You’re going to have fun times that you will want to look back on, so don’t let acne be the reason that you don’t have those events documented. And honestly, for most pictures, the redness barely shows up. This picture is of the first time I went to a cat cafe in Philly to get away from finals stress with some friends. This was also when my acne was at my worst, but you can’t tell I had acne unless you look for it. 

 

You Are Beautiful

Image courtesy of Abbey Keller

The picture at the beginning of this article is from when my friend and I had an impromptu girls night where she did my make up and did a photoshoot. We didn’t have any foundation to match my skin tone so we left my skin as it was, and I look back at these photos and still can’t believe it’s me. The acne isn’t the focus at all. When looking at a mirror from three inches away all you can see is every red spot, but I assure you, you are the only one who is hyper-aware of your acne. So take a step back, look at your face as a whole and realize you can be beautiful and have acne.

 

Don’t let acne keep you from smiling

Image courtesy of Abbey Keller

There’s one belief that I always held when my acne was at its worst --I’m not gonna let this stop me from smiling and enjoying life. I went to dances, I laughed with friends, and I forced a smile on my face when I looked in the mirror even when it was hard. I find that people are the most beautiful when they have a smile on their faces and joy in their souls. Don’t you dare let acne take that away from you.

 

So I would encourage you to share your own experience and know that you’re not alone. Show the world that acne doesn’t define your beauty.