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Oh, acne. A word society tends to associate with teenagers, stress, and menstrual cycles.  However, for some people, acne is a permanent instalment in their life, not something that magically disappears when they turn 18 and enter adulthood.  Acne isn’t something that just comes when we have a test to study for, and not everyone only has acne five days a month!  Having acne is a very real struggle for a lot of collegiate individuals, and for those who don’t have it, this is what we would like you to know.

Acne doesn’t only come from poor hygiene habits!

While some people get acne from not washing their face properly, most people who consistently deal with acne normally have very structured face regimens, which include several cleansers, toners, and masks. Essentially, acne doesn’t mean someone is dirty, and we need to stop treating it that way. Acne can arise for many reasons, including (but not limited to) hormone imbalances, medications, genetic factors, and medical conditions. So, in 2018, let’s forget this myth and start accepting the facts.

Wearing makeup doesn’t cause acne!

A common tip I hear from people is to wear less makeup, and that wearing heavy makeup causes my acne. While some oilier products can cause me to breakout, when I use the right products for my skin type this isn’t the case. You’ll find that a lot of people with acne go without makeup, and wow, still have acne! Funny how that works isn’t it?  Basically, everyone needs to stop shaming their acne-having friends if they choose to wear makeup because chances are their makeup isn’t at the root of the problem.

A new diet? Trust me, we’ve tried it!

People with acne frequently get other unsolicited advice on how to treat it, and often, it’s about our diet. “Stop eating dairy. Cut out sugars. Skip the morning coffee. Stop buying those chips!” You think it, we’ve heard it, and probably even tried it! Ultimately, suggesting these things, even when done with good intentions, just isn’t helpful. It can even be insulting! It carries the negative undertones that we haven’t already done research on acne, haven’t spoken to doctors about it, and aren’t trying to take care of ourselves. Furthermore, you can’t tell a person’s diet just from looking at them, and they might already be doing what you’ve suggested! When you offer up this advice unexpectedly, it can make people feel insecure and like there is something wrong with them. Ultimately, unsolicited advice like this just isn’t necessary, and unless I’m asking for tips, I really don’t want it.

We see you staring…

Because so many people see acne as a teen issue that happens just during puberty, those of us who are adults with acne tend to get a lot of strange looks. It can make a lot of us feel insecure about our appearances. I myself feel very uncomfortable when I don’t wear foundation because I know people will be looking at my pimples and acne scars. But when I have morning classes, I don’t always want to wear makeup. I like sleeping in as much as possible, and taking the time to cover up the spots on my face isn’t always worth it. Just because I have acne, doesn’t mean there is any reason for anyone to look at me weirdly. People of all ages have acne, and the rest of the world needs to accept this and move on.

We don’t need you to point out our pimples.

Just don’t do it, for the love of everything near and precious to your heart. We know. We don’t need to be put on the spot, or placed into a situation where we feel we have to explain ourselves for having acne. Don’t cause someone unnecessary pain or discomfort. Unless we’ve started the conversation about our acne, work with the assumption that we don’t want to talk about it.

Acne causes more than just cosmetic insecurities.

While acne can make some people feel insecure about their appearance, it has a lot of other impacts on a person. People with cystic acne can experience pain due to their condition. Acne can cause scarring that is permanent, so even if you eventually do grow out of it, the reminders still linger. As well, it can cause emotional issues and contribute to mental illness. Having traits that society views as flaws obviously can negatively affect the way you see and feel about yourself. Knowing that some people see you as imperfect because of something out of your control hurts so much, so when someone is upset about their acne, please recognize that it isn’t just about their appearance.

Having acne doesn’t make anyone less beautiful!

Everyone is beautiful in their own unique ways, including those with acne. So many people have acne and are still able to shine internally and externally. Gorgeous supermodel Kendall Jenner has been very open about her own struggles with acne and recently made the headlines for walking the Golden Globes red carpet with pimples on her face. And you know what? She crushed it. Also garnering attention lately is 17-year-old Hailey Wait, who has been outspoken about her journey to embracing her cystic acne. Earning over 100K followers on Instagram under the handle @pigss, this stunning teen’s message of self-acceptance has clearly resonated with many other people. These beautiful women are just examples of how beautiful an individual with acne can be! Ultimately, the state of your skin has no impact on your beauty, or how worthy of respect and appreciation you are.

So, gone are the days where it’s okay to judge people for their acne. It’s 2018, and it’s time to start empowering people to have confidence in themselves, regardless of if they have pimples or not. 

Rebecca is in her 5th year at Wilfrid Laurier University.  During the school year, she can be found drinking copious amounts of kombucha, watching hockey and procrastinating on Pinterest. She joined HCWLU as an editor in the Winter 2018 semester, and after serving as one of the Campus Correspondents in 2019-20, she is excited to be returning for the 2020-21 school year! she/her
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