It’s OK to NOT Have Perfect Skin- My Journey to Skin (and Self) Acceptance

My skin was never something I had to worry about growing up. While most of the people around me were going through hormonal acne and building intricate routines to combat its effects, I stuck to washing my face twice a day and using a drug-store lotion for moisturiser. I thought the phase of puberty that included the constant breakouts, multiple trips to the dermatologist, and hundreds spent on products that rarely ever worked had miraculously bypassed me. It hadn’t. 

I got my first taste of acne when I was 17- a few spots on my cheeks and forehead that lingered longer than any of my previous spots ever had. I waited a few weeks, but they just seemed to get more aggressive as time went on. I would later learn that a sudden onset of lactose intolerance was what brought out the breakouts, but at the time I was confused and frustrated with the way my once-clear skin looked. (Cue the months spent scrolling through YouTube, trying to find stories of women with skin like mine who had managed to end their acne.)

I hated the way my skin looked without makeup but hated it even more when the bumps and scars peeked through my makeup. I’ve probably tried every mask/cream/clay/serum that anyone could suggest to me (albeit maybe not consistently enough to see substantial results). Missing events and cancelling plans after particularly bad breakouts was something I did a few times too. Simply put, I was letting my appearance dictate the way I lived my life and it was doing some serious harm.  

While my skin has improved a bit since my initial breakouts it is still far from perfect. What has improved drastically since then is the way I view my skin, and the amount of self-worth I place on the way it looks. A few things helped me get here:

 

1. Look for people going through it too

While comparing yourself to others never helps, the support you gain from finding people who are experiencing the same thing as you is truly unmatched.

 

2. Try to stop basing your value as a person solely on the way you (and your skin) look

The hardest but most fulfilling tip on the roster. It’s a process that can take years but I PROMISE you its worth it. What makes you great, aside from the way you look? Answering that question honestly, then focusing on how to become even better at those things, and the things you love is a good starting point

 

3. Remember that no-one really cares as much as you think they do

Trust me. Everyone is too focused on their own lives, insecurities and problems to worry about the way your skin looks. And anyone who does focus on other people’s appearances in hypercritical ways isn’t worth giving any attention to.

 

4. Be patient

I know you’re probably rolling your eyes at this one. I used to do the same whenever I heard it as well. But it’s said so widely for a reason- constantly checking your skin to see it its improved, or touching it to see if your acne flares have gone down isn’t very productive. As you embark on that amazing new skincare regimen keep it in your mind that it *may* not work for you, or may take longer than you expect to do so.