Since age 11, I’ve had a pretty turbulent relationship with my skin. My dermatological history is littered with various doctors, opinions, experts and disappointments. I’ve been on the pill, antibiotics, cream/gel treatments and even the demonic Roaccutane. Twice. (If you’ve had any experience with it, you’ll know – that shit sucks).
And, unfortunately for me, the love/hate situation is ongoing…
It’s really hard to describe the effect acne has on your wellbeing. For me, it’s a constant distraction and I’m always thinking about whether my skin issues are noticeable, whether light is hitting me in an unflattering way (fuck you downlighting, no one likes you) or whether I have any concealer on me at the time in case of a code red. Honestly, even typing the word acne makes me feel a bit sick in my mouth. I hate it.
The feeling of having to put a whole new face on every day just to feel like yourself, is what I can only describe as exhausting. It changes who I am as a person unmeasurably; I just can’t be ME with my full, aggravated, red face showing. And that is a really hard truth to deal with sometimes.
What I wouldn’t give to wake up without the overwhelming urge to hide in a hole, dive for my makeup bag and avoid all human contact until the end of time. The effort and energy that it takes to stay positive and not stress out (and make everything a million times worse) is huge, and I’d be lying if I said that my biggest battle hasn’t always been internal. I’m actually writing this on a particularly ‘bad’ skin day and have nearly gone full meltdown on more than one occasion already. It’s 7.30…
The worst thing about it all, is the impact it has and how often it manages to ruin your state of mind. Thinking you’re a strong person and then catching sight of your reflection and having the personality sapped out of you in literally seconds is not fun.
Also, telling someone that they ‘look fine’ can actually just make things worse because you can really feel like you’re being lied to by family and friends – it’s irrational, but it’s there, and it can put a huge strain on relationships.
All this being said, I want to end on a positive here, because acne should never win.
To anyone suffering even a little of what I’ve described: You’re beautiful. And it will never define you. Don’t let any bitch dull your shine.
To the lucky ones: Be kind – whether it’s to those with acne or any other skin related issue. You never know the effect your words may have.