An open letter to anyone feeling insecure about their acne

An open letter to anyone feeling insecure about their acne

In this culture of universal acceptance, where different body shapes, skin shades, and hair textures are celebrated, you will find one missing piece. No matter where you'll look, you'll see there's simply no place for acne. That's one of the reasons acne makes us insecure

But if you ask anyone who’s ever been through acne, you’ll notice that acne (or any skin condition really) is not just skin deep.

Acne is the shadow that follows you around wherever you go. It's the beast that shames you into feeling small. Or the voice that repeats that you’re not beautiful so you’re probably not worthy.

Acne feeds on your pain and insecurities, often making you feel like you’ve had the life punched out of you. And given the depression and anxiety rates linked to acne, it could cause more damage than that.

Interestingly, it has a way of sneaking into other parts of your life- whether it be the last bit of pocket money you spend on a miracle 30-minute solution that never delivered results or that party you can't bear to go to because your skin is all anyone will focus on- acne has a way of ruining everything.

Acne is the monster that traps you from feeling beautiful. And even though 90% of the world population has experienced this skin affliction at least at one point in their life, living with acne and scarring is one of the most isolating experiences many young adults go through.

But here is a new perspective, what if acne is not a monster?

What if it's simply, well, misunderstood.

Acne is, in fact, one of the most well-researched skin conditions out there. There is a lot of evidence to point out that merely washing your face or drinking water will not get rid of your acne. It doesn't mean that the individual is dirty, unhealthy, or too lazy to care for themselves. So, then why do we feel so ashamed when it comes to having a zit on our nose? Almost like it’s our fault.

“There is no one who loves pain itself, who seeks after it and wants to have it, simply because it is pain”

What is it about acne that makes us feel so insecure?

It’s here that we start to realize that perhaps acne is not the issue- but rather it’s the perception surrounding acne. No matter where you look- whether it be your Instagram feed or the latest Netflix series, you rarely see acne. In fact, you rarely see a blemish. We’re bombarded by images of airbrushed, pore less skin which in the age of filters, is easier than ever.  So, if you think about it, why wouldn’t we feel alone. After all, despite the many research papers that suggest otherwise, since the rest of world has it figured out, we must be the ones at fault for having less than perfect skin.

And this doesn’t even have to be for the people who go through inflamed, cystic acne for long periods of time. I think many of us know how just one zit can bring our confidence down by at least 50%. 📉📉📉

Well, it doesn’t have to be that way.

When you start to realize that having acne simply has nothing to do with who you are as a person but instead is a result of factors not entirely under control, you start to see the beauty in acne. Suddenly, you take care of the skin, not because you want to get rid of the monster, but because you understand that it needs the right encouragement and environment to get healthier.

That's the beauty of it all – acne may constantly put our strength and confidence to the test, but it also teaches us to stand up to the stigma. This triggers the first step to taking away the isolation and misunderstandings surrounding common skin conditions like acne.

This is not to say you shouldn’t give up on healing your acne. But it always helps when you make your decisions not out of desperation, but rather out of genuine care and love. Suddenly, painfully tugging on your skin and layering acids irresponsibly simply aren't options anymore. You’re not in a hurry because you know that rushed results are rarely sustainable. In fact, loving yourself and your skin can even be the motivator to staying consistent with a routine even on a bad skin day.

That's why I can draw a parallel between Beauty and the Beast with the universal experience of going through acne. In the beginning, it might seem silly, but then you understand that things only get better once Belle starts to understand the very misunderstood Beast. And at the end it’s her genuine care for the beast that saves him.

Growing up with acne can be a very daunting experience. It has been in the past for many and will perhaps continue to be so. But taking the shame away from having acne can encourage people now, and in the future, that acne isn't a monster that should haunt you your whole life. It's a perfectly normal thing that happens to several people every day and shouldn't be a reason to feel small.  

You see, your acne is not the monster. The perception around it is.

This knowledge often gives you the patience to look into how you can best serve (and not harm) your skin. Suddenly, the monster doesn’t really seem that scary or that big of a problem.

When we shine a light on acne as a topic, we can see that the ugliness comes from acne's misconceptions. It's not a beast- it's just a skin condition that needs the right healing.

So, embrace the Beast. Shine a light on it. ✨✨✨