Let’s talk about acne

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My first year of college I would wake up extra early every morning and cover my face in makeup. Every pore I had would be coated in foundation and patted dry with powder. I didn’t do this because I wanted to, but because I felt like I had to. 

I’ve always had acne. I remember I started getting pimples on my face as young as elementary school, and it only got worse throughout middle and high school. Bluntly put, I was embarrassed of my face. High school is already hard as is, and having acne made me feel like the universe was never on my side. All I wanted was to feel pretty. 

And, if I’m being honest, I still struggle with feeling good about my skin and overall appearance. Although my journey with acne has improved throughout college, I still get the occasional pimple, and my face is covered in scars. 

I think a lot of people might think acne isn’t that big of a deal. And while it’s not the worst problem in the world, it really does have the power to change my self confidence in an instant. One night I’ll be feeling good about my looks, and the next morning I wake up with a new pimple on my face and that positive attitude is completely washed away. 

And maybe someone might say acne doesn’t even matter during a pandemic since our faces are covered most of the time, anyway. While we do have masks to cover-up with, I think the few moments our skin is exposed actually makes the issue with acne even worse. And now, alongside regular acne, we now have “maskne,” or acne caused by face masks, as a competitor.  

I haven’t solved the problem of acne. While I know my acne is most often caused by stress and lack of sleep, everyone is different. So, while I still struggle with acne, I’ve found a way to make myself feel better about having it. My secret? Realize that this is something everyone has experienced. 

Everyone has had a gross, absolutely disgusting pimple on their face. It happens. Some people may get more acne than others, but this is an almost universal experience. So while it may feel like everyone is staring at all the blemishes on your faces, chances are they didn’t even notice. We are our biggest critics, after all.  

So stop looking in the mirror so often. Stop picking at the marks on your face, praying that you didn’t have them. Luckily, pimples go away with time. Our appearances are constantly changing anyway, so be patient with yourself. My biggest takeaway from my struggle with acne is that people are too caught up in their own appearances that they really don’t notice or care about yours. If they do, I have a strong feeling you’re around the wrong people. 

I think social media and advertising has skewed our perspective on what the ideal person should look like. Most of the models and influencers you scroll through touch-up more than just their acne. I can guarantee you no one actually looks like that. And, the longer I think about acne scars and marks, the more I find comfort in these blemishes that decorate my face. They make me who I am. If we all had smooth and spotless skin I honestly think we’d look pretty boring, and definitely creepy, as well. 

Also, you are made up of billions of cells. If you have pimples covering a little bit of your surface area, take time to focus on all that you are outside of your appearance. You have functioning organs. You are breathing. Your body deserves so much more credit than what you are giving it right now. Who cares about a pimple? Just think about all that you can do instead of what you look like. You owe that to yourself because you are more than just the skin you live in. 

Now, it’s safe to say I put makeup on when I want to, because I enjoy doing it, not because I feel like I need to save people from looking at my face. Most days there isn’t even a drop of foundation on my skin, and that’s the power of being comfortable with your blemishes, no matter how small or big they may be. 

So, as much as I know everyone hates acne, don’t let a bump on your face define your attitude about yourself. I think you’re really beautiful, and you deserve to give your body peace, so tell yourself that you’re beautiful, and really mean it. Besides, what you look like is boring compared to who you are.