Updated: Nov 13, 2021
It’s always “too” something and the world feels this desperate need to bring it to your attention.
Have you ever looked into the mirror and wanted to cry? Have you felt so weak and scared to face the world because you feel like all the attention would be pinned to the bright red scars on your face? Have you anxiously googled “How to have clear skin” every time someone you knew joked about it? Take a deep breath. You are NOT alone.
The world is always more than willing to point out your so-called “flaws”. They’ll either be upfront about it or indirectly joke about it, forcing you to laugh awkwardly because you don't want to seem uncool for not being able to "take a joke".
My journey with Acne positivity has been a long one. The day is yet to come when I’ll be confident in my own skin. I'm sure everyone reading has at least once had your mom’s friends or a relative tell you that something was wrong with you. You’re either too chubby, too skinny or your complexion is getting darker, your hair is too frizzy or too thin. It’s always “too” something and the world feels this desperate need to bring it to your attention. If I had a penny for every time, at a family function or a simple gathering with some friends, someone came up to me and pointed out my acne and said that I needed to “drink more water” I would be a millionaire.
Even today I get so uncomfortable going out without a layer of foundation when my breakouts get worse. For the longest time, I let other people talk to me about my acne like it was my fault that my skin wasn’t “perfect”. I let them joke about it and make fun of me. I pretended that it didn’t bother me, even though I would cry about it every night when I did my skincare routine or every time, I touched my face and it hurt because of my active acne. The anxiety I would feel when a friend would show up at my place without notifying me when I was sitting home without makeup on, was astronomical.
For a person who has never had to deal with acne, this might seem a bit dramatic but I can say this on behalf of everyone with acne or who has been through the struggle of acne. It can affect so many areas of your life. It can kill your self-esteem and happiness. It took a great deal of time, consistency and self-love for me to be comfortable in my own skin. There is no right recipe for self-love, it varies from person to person.
Here is mine:
Accepting that acne doesn’t make you ugly: Don’t let society tell you that pimples are not pretty. I once came across this influencer on Instagram who had posted a selfie without any makeup or filters on, embracing her acne and I thought to myself that she was the most gorgeous human being I had ever seen. I have had some really kind people tell me that I looked prettier without any makeup on and it made my day. We as products of our generation tend to over-focus on our imperfections and magnify them out of proportion. Every time I would see a person with clear skin, I would think about how awful my face looked instead of appreciating their beauty. I would manage to somehow turn it around and sabotage my efforts towards self-love. To be honest it will never be about how pretty you look. I don’t want to sound cliché but being beautiful is all how you feel about yourself and how you make others feel.
Stop blaming yourself for your acne: If you have acne as a condition, you have to understand that it's a disease. You can take medications, work on your skincare routine, you can TRY to recover. But it all comes down to your genetics. It's something you don't have control over. And worrying about something that's not in your hands will only push your self-esteem down to the ground instead of doing you any good. I remember going to my dermatologist, absolutely freaked out about my acne. I would helplessly try to tell her that I was following the routine she had given me, I was eating healthy, drinking enough water, exercising, taking the medicines she prescribed and for some reason, I felt this need to justify why the treatment wasn't working. The first thing she said to me was that it wasn't my fault and that I shouldn't have to explain why I have acne to people. If you were suffering from any other disease, would you blame yourself? No. So why blame yourself for this?
Realize that your skin doesn't define you: Take a notepad or a piece of paper and write down some things about you that you adore or ask a friend what they value about you. I'm 100% sure that none of it going to be about your skin or how you look. You're not friends with somebody because they have clear skin. If you are scared that someone might like you less because you have pimples, do you really want to know them? Someone so superficial, who'd reduce you that much down to your skin? Would you love your parents, siblings or significant other less because they had acne? Probably not. So, stop letting it define YOU.
Healthy skin isn’t perfect: There are people out there who are blessed with almost perfect skin but you have to understand that even these people get breakouts and hormonal acne once in a while. It is very normal to have pimples but of course, it is different for each person. Sometimes the healthiest skin has a few breakouts and that’s okay. The flawless skin you see online is a lie. Editing your pores and laugh lines and acne out of a picture can be done in a snap. Try looking at people who have acne and are owning it. Even models, actresses and other celebrities whom we own to such high standards have imperfections. So, if you can admire them for their flaws, might as well hype yourself up too.
It doesn't matter what people think of you: First of all, I know it's hard to not let things get to you. I've been there and I'd be lying if I said I'm not now. But who are these people to judge you? Your friends and family love you for your flaws. I love you for your flaws. People who pass snide remarks are not to be paid attention to. Honestly, them making you feel bad about yourself says more about them than it does about you. You are in control of your thoughts and it is okay to care about your skin, to wear makeup, it's okay to try to get rid of your acne, everybody does. It is okay to feel anxious about it as well. But it is also necessary to love your skin, your body during the process of healing your skin. You'll still get the occasional red bump on your skin even when you're fully healed, your skin goes through phases like the moon, it'll keep changing for most of your life. If you tie your self-love and acceptance to how you look or how clear your skin is, you won't be able to experience other things that let you achieve true happiness.
The goal should be to have a healthy relationship with your skin, to live a healthy lifestyle and nourish your body and soul and be content with how you are in the moment. The longest relationship you're going to be in is the one with yourself and feeling awful about yourself because of how many pimples you have on your surface won't make it any better, if anything it'll make it worse. Don't let it have so much control in your life. You are so much more than your skin.
Written By - Haripriya Praveen
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