Acne is so common and yet, still a bit of a taboo subject. We’ve all had spots right? What person hasn’t? However, the difference between a couple of spots and having acne is light years apart. Insta and the glossy magazines all show these airbrushed and flawless faces, so having flawed skin isn’t beautiful right?
I had cystic acne from the eyes down for 2 years. Cystic acne is the one where you look at someone who has it and you think ‘ooo that looks so sore’.
And spoiler, it is.
How did I get it?
Good old-fashioned stress. I was revising for my exams in my final year of university, which threw out my hormones and triggered the start of my acne. Acne can also be attributed to genetics, and seeing as my mum and sister both had cystic acne as well I was just late to the party.
What it’s like to have bad skin?
Is shit an answer? I’ll go with shit. The worst part for me was that I didn’t feel like it was me looking back in the mirror. I know ‘you are more than your skin’, ‘it’s what’s on the inside’. But on those down days, I couldn’t recognise the person I’d seen looking back for 21 years.
Also people telling you this great facial wash their using will definitely help is mega annoying. Oh, and don’t drink milk is also worthy of a ‘please STFU’ response.
What was the worst experience with my skin?
There are 2, both in the v early stages of dating my boyfriend. The first was our second or third date and we went out for a meal, the waitress took us to our table and we were put directly under a spotlight. As soon as I saw it I started to sweat, knowing that it was going to highlight every bump, blemish and flaw that I had spent hours trying to hide under my makeup. I couldn’t say anything as I was still on best behaviour and secretly hoping he hadn’t noticed my skin (lol he had, he has eyes). So I sat trying to tilt my head as far forward as it would go for the duration of our meal. Social skills at their best.
And the second, and definitely the saddest. The first time it came to taking off my makeup in front of him, I sat him down and apologised to him in advance for what he was about to see. And I remember my eyes just filling with tears as I wiped it all away. I was absolutely ready for him to never speak to me again.
When you can’t even see past it, how could anyone else right?
The best part of 3 years later and he’s still here, he’s a keeper.
What helped my skin the most?
I went to the doctors what felt like 5,937 times about my skin. Every time they would recommend a cream or course of antibiotics, that in truth didn’t even touch my breakouts.
For me, I knew I had to balance out my hormones to tackle my skin. So I went on the contraceptive pill Microgynon for 9 months, and this pill actually accelerated my acne and made it worse then it ever was.
My saving grace was telling my doctor I wanted to change my current contraceptive and instead go onto Dianette, which is specifically aimed at women who suffer with their skin. And is what really helped my mum with her acne.
A controversial pill as there are some side effects, as there are with any pill, however I have luckily not suffered with any, and hand on heart, it saved my skin.
I was taking Dianette for around 4 months before I started to notice any real change, but it just seemed to stop my breakouts and let the existing spots have time to heal.
Do I still suffer with my skin?
Absolutely. I still breakout if I’ve eaten loads of rubbish (which is always), or it’s that time of the month. There are some periods where my skin is clear for a few weeks and then really crappy for just as long. And I still have some scarring, some hyperpigmentation leftover that never seems to leave. However my skin wasn’t perfect before I had acne, I’ve got a lot of texture on my cheeks and some big ol’ crater sized pores.
But it’s okay. It’s my skin. I don’t have to apologise for it, whether I have acne or not.
Having actual acne isn’t down to diet, it isn’t down to not taking care of your skin. I took better care of my skin and diet when I did have acne.
Not wearing makeup when you have acne, isn’t disgusting, nor should it be considered brave. It’s skin. In whatever form it comes in, it’s someone’s skin.
So why feel the need to make a comment, or think anything other than, ‘she’s not wearing any makeup, that’s cool’?
If there is one thing I wish I could tell myself in my low points, is that there’s no shame in it. You don’t need to hide. Nobody is going to think that you’re ugly, or you’re ‘the girl with the acne’. It’s not your identifier.
You are still you. You are still beautiful.