Do any of these phrases sound familiar? “You’re breaking out again. You really should do something about that.” “Don’t worry, you’ll grow out of it.” “The problem is that you’re not washing your face enough.” “You shouldn’t be so upset! It’s just acne, after all.” “Just be grateful that you still look like a teenager at your age.”
Although acne is the most common skin disease in the western world, it can make us feel very much alone. We not only have to deal with unsightly blemishes on our face, but also with careless advice, comments, and criticism. The fact is, most people don’t understand how complicated acne is or how it cripples your self-esteem. They might have good intentions when they give you advice or tell you to blow off the problem, but they usually end up just making you feel worse.
It’s a myth that acne is just an “aesthetic” disease. True, acne is not a life threatening condition, but it can wield so much control over your life. Acne affects some people to such a degree that they become total hermits, refusing to come out of their homes unless they absolutely must.
While not everyone’s reaction to acne is quite that extreme, it’s something that stays with you even on a subconscious level. It affects your interactions with others and makes you self-conscious. When someone looks at you, you might assume they’re staring at the ugly zits on your face. When someone avoids looking at you, you might decide it’s because they don’t enjoy the sight of your pimples. When you feel like everyone is judging you, you are less likely to speak up and take the lead in group situations. You are more likely to become reclusive and withdraw from social situations, passing up opportunities.
Acne is a financial drain, too. You can easily spend hundreds of dollars treating the pimples and experimenting with remedies that turn out to be harmful. You pamper your skin and give it with everything you can think of, only to be rewarded with even more breakouts.
Acne can make you feel powerless. When you try everything you can think of to make it go away, and nothing seems to work–not even after you spend hundreds of dollars–it’s a tremendous blow to your self-esteem. It leaves you feeling helpless, desperate. In extreme cases, acne can even lead to clinical depression and suicidal thoughts.
No matter what other people might try to tell you, acne is a serious condition. Anything that makes you feel self-conscious, unattractive, or powerless is an important issue that must be addressed.
It’s important to understand that there is almost never a single “fix” or one-time cure for this condition. That said, you don’t have to live with acne all your life. With the right treatments, it CAN be controlled and ultimately defeated.