Hey, beautiful people, so today is the day where I finally gathered my courage up and decided to share a short story about my struggle, or I would prefer to say my journey with acne. Throughout this article or articles, I will share with you a few things that I wish my past self knew.
Around the age of 16, during my sophomore year, I realized a few spots started appearing on my forehead and cheeks. Before that year I never really had to worry about skin problems, I always had super clear skin growing up, so frankly, I didn’t really have any knowledge about skin issues and what they are called. The irony of that was that my dad is a dermatologist, so my naive past self’s mind thought that just because that was my dad’s profession is that, then it was impossible for me to get any skin issues.
Later on, I realized that without my dad’s guidance and knowledge I wouldn’t have got treated properly and efficiently like I did. After a short diagnosis, my dad told me that what I was developing teenage hormonal acne, and that it was just a phase that will pass soon. He also shared that at around my age, he developed the same acne and that was what later inspired him to study dermatology (shocker RIGHT!). He later gave me a few creams to help get it under control.
They didn’t help… or at least that’s what I thought.
Here are just a handful of the lessons I learned throughout my journey:
1. All You Really Need Is Patience
Results don’t happen overnight. I thought that these creams will vanish my acne in a few months, but unfortunately, my acne just kept getting worse and worse. Even though my acne was mild, it was stubborn and took a very long time to get treated. It first started on my forehead, by Junior-High it t0 spread to my cheeks, and by the beginning of my senior year my forehead acne was gone but I was left with bumpy puss-filled pimples all around my cheeks.
Throughout these three years, I would go cry to my dad on a daily basis and complain that his medicines weren’t making a difference, they were only making everything worse. Trust me when I say this, it gets worse before it gets better.
Most acne medications work on the acne from the depths (the origin of your acne) of your skin before the outside, so your skin breaks out a little more often at the beginning then starts getting better over time. It also takes a couple of trials and errors to figure out what really helps the type of your acne and what doesn’t. Sometimes your condition may require a stronger medication for you to see results, For instance, the topical creams only helped at the beginning then their efficiency dropped. So, I had to switch to Accutane which was my last resort. Fortunately, it helped a great deal.
Trust the process ladies and gentlemen.
2. It Is Not Your Fault or Anyone Else’s
During the past three years, I was in a constant cycle of self-hate and blame. I have always been an insecure girl for most of my life but my skin issue just made me believe that I was the ugliest girl anyone is going to ever come across. I repeatedly blamed myself, I thought that it was my fault. I thought that if I didn’t stress out too much, or if I hadn’t indulged in my comfort foods too often or stayed up too late, my skin wouldn’t have looked that way.
I blamed my genetics and my dad. The truth is not everything always happens for a reason, some things come your way to teach you bigger lessons, even bigger than your initial problem. As much as I wished I never went through this, I am grateful because I wouldn’t have ever learned to truly love myself and my own skin no matter its condition.
3. You Are Not the Only One out There
Sometimes you will get too caught up, and forget to look at the bigger picture. What’s worst than that is that you may not even be aware that there is a bigger picture. You may overlook the fact that you are not the only one out there struggling with skin problems. Millions of people around the world have gone through and are going through what you are going through. Some had it worse and longer than you and some had it easier.
But, this under no circumstances means that you should compare your skin to others.
Don’t listen to the people who tell you others have it worse than you and that you are being dramatic. You aren’t, in fact, you are allowed to feel whatever you are feeling and you are also allowed to express it. Each of us has got their own coping skills, it’s no one’s right to judge your methods.
4. Don’t Try to Imagine Yourself in Other People’s Eyes
For the longest time, I developed some habits that I automatically would do whenever I communicated with anyone. For instance, every time I would carry on a conversation with somebody, I would try my best to avoid eye contact. Apparently, it made me feel less awkward about the way my skin looks, or I thought that it distracts the person from looking at my “flaws”. It doesn’t, it’s was all in my head.
Another habit I acquired was trying to get into the person’s head and guess what they are thinking of my skin or if they are judging me. I would completely ignore what they are saying and just focus on their eye movements and guess what they are thinking.
It really is a horrible habit, trust me most of the time people don’t really notice your spots unless you point it out or if you try extra hard to hide it, it usually backfires.
So, don’t waste your time trying to figure out what they are thinking or looking at. It’s too exhausting and your mind will usually try to play games and convince you the person hates you now…. Trust me your acne anxiety will get you there, and it’a dark place to me, don’t listen to the thoughts in your head unless they’re telling you how truly beautiful you are.
4. Don’t Cover up or Pop Active Acne Sites
Many times you will wake up with a new active break-out and feel really self-conscious to go out bare-faced. Your first go-to solution would most likely be to cover them up with make-up and go out. Believe it or not, I started to cover up my acne on a daily basis because I was convinced that it made them seem less obvious and that made me feel slightly better about myself.
Regrettably, over time I realized that my coverage products were irritating my skin even more and were delaying my treatment results, and they were making the bumps look even more noticeable. If you absolutely feel the need to cover them up then try to use lighter and irritant-free (dermatologically tested) products.
One more unpleasant habit I had was touching and popping pimples that bothered me. I know it can get really tempting, but popping your pimples will result in them leaving permanent or persistent marks on your skin, that could have been avoidable at the start.
So, try your best to keep your hands off your face, please.
I would like to wrap this up with a line that my mom told me during one of my mental break downs, at a time when my acne was really screwing up all my inner confidence. She told me that if you’re really worried that someone won’t accept or love you just because of a few spots on your face, then they really don’t deserve you. It really hit me hard and stuck with me because people who really do love and accept you, won’t let the way you look be their foundation on how they view you.
Rather, they will base it on who you really are, whether it’s your personality, your memories with them, the times you made them feel happy, and the list goes on.
People who will judge you and throw useless comments are uneducated and uncivilized. People like these usually have insecurities of their own and try to make themselves feel better by bringing you down.
Never let them get to you my sugar bunnies. Stay strong, learn to love yourselves no matter the condition your skin is in and trust the process. I really hope this helped you gather up the tiniest bit of confidence and self-empowerment. I’d love if you sent it to someone who needs to read it.
I am now acne free and treating my pigmented scars.