My best friend in high school had perfect skin. Not only was her complexion clear and poreless no matter what, she also had naturally dark, thick lashes and full, red lips. She needed not a stitch of makeup for our entire high school (and later college) career.
I, on the other hand, had acne from the time I was 11 until… well now. In high school, this was bad for my self esteem. Of course, today I know how to fight it and keep my skin clear and glowing, but this wasn’t always the case!
I tried to make my friend recognize how emotionally painful it was for me to struggle with acne, but she never understood. She’d shrug it off and say ‘it’s not that big of a deal,’ which always made it seem like my feelings weren’t valid—that I didn’t have a real problem and I was being ridiculous.
That is, until she had a serious case of adult acne sometime in our late 20s. Her acne was severe, far worse than anything I had (or have) ever experienced.
It would be difficult to convey her emotional distress—she spent hours crying and researching every possible solution. She withdrew from social activities and became very depressed. She also let me know how very wrong she had been to dismiss my feelings. It became clear to her that acne really can not only negatively affect self-esteem; it can affect emotional well being in a very real way.
[Read: Acne and PMS]
Depression is a well-known side effect of acne. Acne can influence nearly every part of your life, from school/work performance to social activities and relationships. For some, acne informs nearly every decision they make.*
Here are a few strategies that have worked for me when dealing with acne and self-esteem issues. I hope they are helpful for you as well!
Put together a skin care regimen that’s right for your skin. Keep in mind that there is no one-size-fits-all program for acne management. You’ll need the specific cleanser, toner, moisturizer, exfoliant, and acne treatment products that will work for you. This might require that you speak with a skin care expert and that you do a bit of trial-and-error testing before discovering what works for you.
Don’t stop living your life. Don’t stop trying new things, going to social events, and working hard to achieve your goals. Remember that nobody cares about your skin as much as you do; most people are too focused on themselves to think that much about your complexion.
Embrace imperfection. Keep in mind that the actresses/models/celebrities you see with ‘perfect skin’ are (a) airbrushed and (b) usually wearing tons of makeup. Both men and women wear stage makeup, giving them that flawless glow. Many of them have the same skin issues you do—including acne.
Take excellent care of yourself. Eat nutritious food, get enough sleep, drink the recommended amount of water, and examine your environment to see how healthy it is for your mental and physical well-being. Don’t do this to clear up your acne, but rather because you deserve to be healthy. (Although, a healthy lifestyle is very helpful for clearer skin!)
[Read:5 Tips for Acne Scars]
*This blog is for entertainment purposes only and is not meant to diagnose or treat any condition; if you suspect you are suffering from depression or other illness, please consult with your doctor.