Unless you are some sort of extraterrestrial or magical fairy creature, you’ve had a zit. No one wants a zit. Acne has been determined in the eyes of society as gross and above all, an imperfection. Today beauty is all about being as close to “perfect” as possible. But of course there is no one “perfect” person to base this standard off of; just a list of things that we have decided are undesirable, such as freckles, redness, oil, acne, and the list goes on and on.
Recently, though, with the help of social media, beautiful imperfections are becoming a trend on the rise. There are more options for plus sized women and freckles became something that girls didn’t cover up with full coverage- foundation. Girls without freckles painted them on. With all of the forward thinking of the beauty community, why is acne still considered a bad thing? It feels like there’s nothing we can do besides trying countless treatments and praying they are worth the price.
I recently have started to get progressively worse and worse breakouts and nothing I had done in the past was working. After visiting the dermatologist, the only thing I learned was that I have oily skin. She told me to buy a whole bunch of Cetaphil products and then prescribed a Retin A topical cream and sent me on my way, just like countless teens before me. She also said it would take up to three months to really determine if it was going to work. It didn’t. Unbelievably, I even saw my acne getting worse, and my skin started to produce even more oil. I didn’t think that was possible.
I took matters into my own hands and spent almost an entire week scouring the internet for everything I was doing wrong and anything that would help me. I came across dietary changes, vitamins, and topical treatments. I learned about the differences and benefits of chemical and physical exfoliation, which treatments are good or bad for each skin type, and busted several popular skin care myths.
Along this whole deep dive, not only was I searching for a solution to my acne problems, but with acne comes a lot of insecurity. While I was searching for a physical solution, I also craved emotional support. Whenever I have a bad breakout, I think people won’t listen to me, because they’ll be too distracted by my zits. This led to some serious blows to my confidence. I didn’t want people to see me if I didn’t look my best; if I had a bad breakout on my chin or forehead, if I wasn’t “perfect”.
I knew that my acne wasn’t going to just disappear right away; it would take time. In this time I have to figure out how to not focus on the imperfect side of acne. Forced to realize that acne was not just a me problem. It is for everyone. Lucky us.
Now that I have been doing my new skin care routine for a couple months, I have no more active acne (pimples, zits, whiteheads…) but I do have quite a bit of acne scarring. This is not as easy to get rid of and although I have seen some dissipate, none have completely gone away. To me, acne is a really big insecurity and acne doesn’t just affect my physical appearance, it affects my mental state as well. With this quarantine in place, I have had the time to myself to focus on improving my skin as much as I could, while also becoming accustomed to being comfortable in my own skin, blemishes or not. At the end of the day, acne is a natural occurrence and it is our job to normalize acne in the beauty community, so it is no longer just another four letter word.