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Dealing With Acne in College

Ever since eighth grade, I have dealt with mild acne. Although it has never been as bad as some other people I know, I still have had to deal with the baggage that having acne carries. Here are four lessons I have learned over my years of dealing with acne.


  • Do NOT pick, scratch, or mess with acne!
    Guys, I know this one is so hard, but you gotta stop. Believe me, I know the struggle.  Every morning, I wake up and the first thing I do is look in the mirror to see if new pimples have appeared overnight. But the WORST thing you can do is pick at a pimple, especially if it’s not ready. Not only does it hurt like hell, but also it leaves your face looking red and splotchy and it could possibly scar. So… NO TOUCHY!


  • Acne does not magically disappear after college.
    After high school graduation, everyone who had acne then waited patiently for it to disappear before heading to college. Sadly, this day does not exist. Walking around a college campus can even make you feel worse about yourself because it seems like everyone else has no acne. Here’s the truth: people just get better at hiding their acne. You are not alone in dealing with acne even though it may seem like it.


  • Find a daily routine and stick to it.
    I know this one is pretty self-explanatory, but this can actually be really hard for people to do. As college students, we usually love to sleep in until the very last second, wake up in a panic, and rush to classes. When this happens, we don’t have time to fit in any skincare routine other than stress (which is also really bad for acne). Especially with winter coming, your skin will start to dry up, so don’t aggressively attack your face every day. A simple wash with water in the morning can work just fine for the day. At night, I use a benzoyl peroxide face wash to treat specific areas of my face, and then I apply moisturizer to counter attack the feeling that my face is cracking apart. Take time before your day starts to treat your face with kindness.


  • Embrace your acne.
    The summer after high school, I was involved in a musical that showed off my back, and I used to suffer from terrible back acne. One of my favorite people in the cast, a young boy around the age of eight, came up to me and asked why I had polka dots on my back. I was so confused until another friend of mine told me that he was talking about my back acne. I was so embarrassed that I didn’t answer the young boy. However, I’m sad that I wasn’t able to look past my embarrassment and use that moment to teach the young boy that acne is nothing to be ashamed of.


I have learned a lot of lessons from having acne, but these are the four that I find most important. Never forget that acne is a part of you. It is better to embrace your acne instead of rejecting it because that can lead to scarring and pain. Embrace your magical red polka dots!

Meet Hannah Petersen! Hannah is a writer for Her Campus at Winona State University. She is in her senior year and studying social work and music. Hannah hopes to work with people who have been diagnosed with disabilities after she graduates. In her free time, Hannah enjoys reading, watching Netflix, listening to music, and spending time at all the coffee shops in Winona.
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