You are tall and proud, a shining knight about to conquer the enemy land. You will command your army in perfect execution until all your opponents have burned, drowned, or been cut down by your arsenal… of vitamins and chlorophyll.

You, my friend, are about to embark on your new healthy diet – the one you are sure is going to get you clear, the one you are going to be so good about, the one you’ll never slip up on once, the one in which that mint chocolate chip brownie that your grandma baked will never slip past your lips, no sir. You are taking on this attitude of sheer determination, and you think you can’t fail. You’ll be clear before you know it.

But before you change anything in your diet, I want you to sit down and think about something. How do you feel about yourself? Deep down.

Do you like yourself? If you’ve dealt with acne for a long time, you probably don’t. Maybe you think you do. But I bet you feel some pretty deep despair, desperation, and maybe even depression over the situation. Do you think no one will look at you, love you, or respect you unless you get rid of this dreadful pest and get rid of it now?

Why? Why do you feel that way? Did you feel this way before you got acne, but the feeling was in disguise, a different form – wearing a different mask? Whether you know it or not, the answer is most likely yes. These are things you need to examine.

I always thought I had good self esteem. I thought I liked myself. I’ve always been someone who’s been quite competent at most of the things she does, as well as intelligent, pretty, and social. I had no problems getting boyfriends or jobs. I was adventurous and strong enough to do things like travel across the world on my own when I was 18 years old. No problem. I consciously knew I had these things going for me.

But what I realize now is that what I had was not truly self esteem, it was actually just a fragile ego. Despite feeling confident, I was extremely sensitive to criticism. When I had mild acne, it was never dire enough that anyone would even notice, let alone dislike me or judge me harshly on it. But did you think I would ever, ever let anyone see me without my few spots covered with makeup, my mascara on, and looking my best? Never. Deep inside, I could never bear the idea of people seeing me as a less than perfect human being.

This is because I could never bear to see myself as a less than perfect human being. It was no surprise that when I came down with severe acne, I was in a relationship with a boyfriend who didn’t seem to like the way I made love. My delicate psyche couldn’t seem to deal with this perceived criticism, and I came down with severe acne as a way that my damaging beliefs about myself could take cover and transform into a problem that disguised the real issue – before I could discover them.

Essentially, it was a way of my body denying this potential shortcoming in myself (that I was no good at love making) by saying “hey, it’s not really me who you don’t find sexy. It’s just my acne.”

Click here for part two

Photo by Michal Marcol /