You don’t have to be a genius to realize that acne is hard on the self esteem.
And if you are someone who has battled acne for a long time like I have, no one has to tell you how downright devastating it is to your self worth.
Let me tell you my story so that you know you aren’t alone. And also that there is hope for finding your way into a more peaceful, empowered relationship with yourself and your skin.
Acne: The Great Self-Esteem Ruiner
“There’s a product for that, you know” — quote: insensitive a-holes
For a few years, I battled against the type of acne that was so self esteem ruining — so bad, so ugly, so disgusting, that friends and strangers alike would all put in their two-cents:
“You should do something about your skin”, they would say.
Over the years, I received the weirdest pieces of advice.
For instance, a vague acquaintance once invited me to her house, to try her state-of-the-art colon cleansing machine for a week.
Hm, no, thank you?!
Drink more water, try that snake oil moisturizer, do a coconut water-only fast, stop wearing sunblock (in Australia!)…
I am ashamed to say it, but I listened to every piece of skin advice I ever received, because it had worked for a friend of a friend of a friend.
I bought all the creams and peels, and I was on all sort of weird diets and fasts.
But what had apparently worked for countless others never seemed to work for me.
I knew that most of it was probably rubbish. But my self esteem was so trashed, and I was so desperate to clear my skin, that I gave anything a try.
If you’re reading this article, you can probably relate to my story!
Why Acne is So Hard on Our Self Esteem
Acne is an obvious flaw.
It indicates the quality of your lifestyle, health and stress to everybody: your family, your friends, your colleagues, your boss, random strangers on the bus — they all miraculously turn into skin care specialists, even when you think you’re having a pretty good skin day (considering).
Acne is an isolating condition, as well.
Because it just doesn’t feel good to look at your own face whilst getting ready for work, and see the skin of a pimply teenager.
There is no way to ignore acne when it’s on your face for the world to see.
Because it’s well, on your face.
And as obvious as acne is, it’s hard to talk about it.
Why Is It So Hard to Even Admit Acne is Hard on Our Self Esteem?
I think that much of once suffering comes from the expectations placed on our shoulders.
We’re in 2018 now, and I still have an unrealistic idea of what it means to be a woman: feminine and attractive and beautiful.
And when I don’t feel like I’m those things, my self esteem certainly suffers.
I could certainly express my anger by blaming the media or my education.
But today, I choose to take responsibility for my narrow definition of female beauty.
Because at some point in my life, I chose to accept what others were saying as my truth: that my worth was based on how visually pleasing and sexually attractive I was.
And that somehow, I would be less of a woman if I were to have a pimple.
Whilst researching for this article, and thinking about the relationship between femininity and acne, I found a beautiful article that I’d like to share with you all.
Of all the things I have ever read on acne, this article has taught and empowered me the most.
It is about five individual women who experience acne breakouts regularly.
And they talk about their relationship to their skin.
What I wish I’d been able to understand during the years my skin made me want to exist outside of it is that acne […] just is. I wish I’d felt like I could leave the house without makeup and still look acceptable. I wish I knew it wasn’t someone else’s job to determine whether it was “acceptable.” I also wish I knew there was nothing deceitful about wearing makeup. I wish I knew it was fine to feel and act as though my acne were an intrusion — that these red things were not welcome. I wish I also knew it was fine to pretend the one above my lip made me something of a ’90s supermodel. Mostly, I wish I knew it was normal, whatever that means.
But that’s the thing, though.
What is normal?
Do I still fit in the beauty norm during a breakout?
Can I be pretty with acne? Can I date with acne?! Would anybody love me?
Am I less of a woman when I decide that for once, I will not cake on makeup for a trip to the supermarket?
I don’t know.
But I’ll take Kendall Jenner’s “Never let that sh*t stop you” as an answer, “that sh*t” being acne.
Well, that’s easier said than done!
Acne is Rough on the Self Esteem. But Don’t Let That Shit Stop You.
In an article she wrote for The Love Vitamin, Tracy wrote about acne as a hobby.
You know, when you’re OCD-ing about your skin, and you spend hours and hours looking for that one miracle cure that will finally clear your skin in a week…
So much so that you put the rest of your life on hold, especially when you feel that you’re fighting a losing battle.
When your pimples prevent you from doing something that you really want to do…
When you cancel a fun afternoon with your friends, because you have a brand new PMS breakout…
When, when, when…
Your light dims a little.
Take it from someone who let her light dim for years.
That means that you have a choice: is acne costing you your life?”
If you decide that acne just can’t take over your life, you’ll need to take responsibility for your own life.
Break out (pun intended) of the victim mentality, and act like the powerful human being that you truly are.
Until you get this mess sorted, choose to be kind and supportive to yourself anyway.
Because the more you learn to love yourself with acne, the easier it will become to clear your skin, because you will heal from a place of love, acceptance, and support, rather than fear, frustration and anger.
Acne Blowing Up Your Self Esteem? You’re Not Alone
As someone who developed acne as an adult, I find the courage demonstrated by the people behind the #acnepositivity movement incredible. Sarah Smith says:
Sharing photos of my skin without makeup makes me feel empowered because I am embracing something that society has taught me to cover up.
I love that — sharing unfiltered photos as a way to accept yourself, because suddenly, there is nothing to hide anymore.
You’re not the only one with pimples and low self esteem and scars and insecurities.
These days, it is rare to meet someone who doesn’t have insecurities.
If it isn’t about their skin, it will be about their weight, the shape of their nose, their story, etc.
Yes, we are bombarded with filtered clear, flawless skin snaps across social media on a daily basis.
But you know that you’re better than that.
You know that you’re more than the current number of spots on your cheek.
Acne isn’t worth missing out on life.
And if that means that you need to wear makeup to avoid awkward questions or social pressure, please do.
And when you do, use makeup as a fun accessory, rather than as a tool to cover up your ‘flaws’ and your shame.
You’re beautiful, and I see and recognise the light that is within you, because it is also within me.
So go for it, there is no time to waste!
What do you think? How is acne affecting your self esteem, and how do you define and present yourself to the world?
P.S. This article is a list of fantastic suggestions to regain your self-confidence!
Celine Harleaux suffered from acne for what felt like centuries, and is now blessed with clear skin (well, most of the time).
She discovered energy healing and self-love during her acne journey, and she now believes self-love is THE key to help you regain your clear skin, strength, confidence, and awesomeness.
You can book a session with her through her website.