I've struggled with acne all my teenage years (and still do). I recall getting my first pimple right after my first period, and I remember thinking to myself how awesome it was to have finally reached puberty. That single pimple slowly multiplied to two, then to five, and in no time my cheeks were covered in zits! Oh, I remember it too well. I felt overwhelmed like these "boils" were holding my face hostage and unlike Jack, they just won't let go!
In the beginning, it was bearable because I saw all my friends get them too. So while I hated the pimples, I didn't feel like an odd one out. However, as time passed, their faces started to clear up and mine did not. Don't get me wrong, I am happy for them. But I felt like I kept waiting for my turn to arrive but it hasn't...not yet. t is a daunting feeling, as a teenager, to wake up and look at yourself in the mirror wondering why your skin looks different than all your friends. At that age (and often beyond), everyone wants to fit in. But society says clear skin is "normal" and scars and pimples and imperfections can make you feel all sorts of negative emotions.
And then you have the pseudo-experts who act like they either have a derma degree or the secret recipe for all your skin (or any, for that matter) problems. Sure, they mean well. But if you're gonna come and tell me that simply washing my face will get rid of my acne, I want to know if we are in a magical realism novel.
The toll that takes over time on your mental health can be even more unnerving. We have a love-hate relationship with ourselves due to the beauty standards society imposes on us. They say any scar or pimple makes you look bad. And while I try to love myself on most days, some days, I find it harder. The emotional rollercoaster between loving yourself and disliking how you look is constant. (I'm icing my massive, excruciating pimple as I write this.)
Know that you’re not alone. But if you do experience occasional feelings of isolation, here are some comforting thoughts that have always made me feel good. (Don’t worry, I’m not about to give you stereotypical suggestions)
No, everyone’s not staring at them
No one is looking at your pimples as intently as you are. Nobody cares about your appearance the way you do. It took me a long time to shake this feeling off so I understand that it's a difficult feeling to get over, but it's important to comfort yourself and surround yourself with uplifting friends.
Your acne does not define you
Acne doesn't change who you are, and you shouldn't let it get in the way of pursuing your goals. They are only a tiny part of you, and they ought to be treated as such. You are not defined by your skin.
Self-love means everything
Again, I did not learn to love myself quickly or easily. I used to scrutinise myself in the mirror because I thought my skin looked a little different. When I first began accepting my acne, I discovered that I look pretty with or without acne. While I am concerned about my health and what acne says about it, I now only see it as texture on my skin. And if there's one thing any fashionista will tell you, it's that a little texture never hurt! I am aware that practising self-love takes time to instil. To get to the point where you feel good about yourself you have to take baby steps (and experience a lot of emotional breakdowns) to reach a stage where you feel good, on most days.
Eat all that your heart desires!
Healthy eating habits are good but if you’re craving a piece of chocolate cake and end up eating a salad, that’s just you being harsh on yourself! Moderation.Is.Key. Don’t hold yourself back on the account of your acne. Yes, you can include healthier meals in your diet but treating yourself is also a must!
Take a million pictures of yourself
Alright, hear me out. Even if you’re having a bad skin day, click a cute selfie. I promise you, you’ll look back at them one day and realise just how pretty you looked regardless! Be your own hype woman!