The day when our first breakout happens is a day all of us who struggle with acne remember. Research shows around 85% of the population between ages 12 to 24 suffer from minor acne – but that isn’t the case for everyone. For me, I started having acne when I was 10 and it has never gone away.
Sitting in class has always been a major struggle for me. I felt forlorn and different from the other girls who weren’t suffering from my condition. Even when I tried to open up about my experiences, rumors were spread around the school; all of my classmates told me to purchase a Neutrogena product.
I’m sure other teenagers who have experienced acne have heard the same phrase. When someone first tells us to ‘eat healthy,’ we think they are trying to give us good advice for clearer skin. However, as we repeatedly hear similar statements, we get irritated. Thus, we begin to realize the problem is more than a skin issue.
In fact, we are struggling to battle a societal barrier created by news outlets and social media.
Some experiences which we have faced are magazines marketing skincare products, salespeople from beauty brands nagging consumers, and the constant trend of flawless and clear skin. With the increase in personal care products, it is evident that people are becoming obsessed about living a blemish-free life.
These advertisements create a false illusion of skincare regimes and experiences for consumers. By constantly belittling acne sufferers to buy medications, people without pimples are beginning to perceive people with acne as dirty, ugly, and unhygienic. However, they need to realize their judgments have an emotional effect on acne survivors.
Throughout my acne journey, I knew I was a step away from society’s perception of beauty. I can confidently say acne survivors realize even if we attempt to alter our image, we feel more oppressed. Many of my friends who suffer from major breakouts buy pounds of makeup to cover their insecurities, but they realize makeup doesn’t fully solve the problem.
A good foundation can’t solve the way other people perceive acne. Those who have not experienced frequent breakouts feel it’s okay to tell us how ugly and abnormal we are. Their snarky remarks of beauty brands leave us feeling depressed and ashamed of ourselves – even if we have no control over our skin.
This exaggerated response to acne must stop. People who have acne are tired of hearing these statements and feeling more oppressed behind their skin every day. Their struggles are hidden beneath the structural barriers that force them to comply with the unrealistic beauty standard.
For those who don’t have acne, don’t just tell your friend to buy skincare products or change their diet.
They will feel embarrassed because they know how difficult it is to control their breakouts. If they ever mention their struggles with acne, empathize and realize they have no choice of their skin type instead. Learn that acne is a part of life and STOP stigmatizing your peers because of it.
To the media, it is time to start creating more skin-inclusive campaigns. We want to see models with different skin types instead of an unrealistic photoshopped image, especially now. When people see photos of inclusivity, they will realize that acne naturally occurs in our lives. People suffering from acne will realize they aren’t alone in their experiences and are still beautiful in their own way.
For those who are struggling with acne, I just want to remind you to realize your acne doesn’t dictate your life. Despite how the media frames acne, you are beautiful Although it is difficult to hear nasty comments, keep your head up, and stay positive. Realize your skin does not change who you are or what you do.
Whenever you’re asked about acne, always remind yourself that you beautiful and kind. Don’t listen to other people’s judgements since they don’t know you. If society tries to attack your emotions, realize you are the bigger person. If you’re still struggling to love yourself, a good tip is to go to the mirror and smile at the person who is staring back at you.