Acne is not the latest beauty buzz word. It isn’t even considered societally beautiful. What it is, however, is real. And if you think you’re alone in dealing with such a skin condition, then think again. It’s estimated that 9 out of 10 people have already had acne by the time they’re a young adult. That’s a lot of people.
According to the NHS, hormones help the sebaceous glands, the ones which produce oil next to hair follicles, generate extra oil. In short, this means you produce excess sebum on your face. Lovely.
In doing so, this excess sebum changes the way a normally harmless bacterium called P.Acnes behaves. It becomes aggravated causing inflammation – and that’s not it! The inner lining of a hair follicle thickens causing the pores to become blocked, and in turn means dead skin cannot shed as efficiently as it should, hence the lovely bumps produced on the face.
Whereas this might seem trivial to some people, especially those who get a zit once a year (argh, so lucky!), it can have a big impact on a person’s mental health. Unfortunately, the link between acne and depression hasn’t always been discussed.
“Acne is something that I’ve had to learn to deal with,” Sarah, 28 from Middlesex has suffered with acne since her early teens, and has now decided that it’s apart of who she is. “I always bought spot specific cleansers and lotions, and have been to the doctor may times for different prescriptions, but my acne has always come back.
“I used to wear so much make-up and cancel plans with friends, all because of a big breakout. Looking back I feel like I missed out on so much.
“Now I’m closer to thirty, I’ve realised that my acne does not define who I am. Since lockdown I have started to embrace my natural skin in all its bumpy and red glory.”
For anyone who has ever suffered with acne, from mild to severe, then you will know how it can affect the way you think people see you. Because of ‘spotless people’ featured in ad campaigns filling up our phone screens and favourite TV shows, we assume that nobody as an adult is going through the same thing. You’re wrong. Plain and simple.
Acne isn’t and shouldn’t be a taboo
From little nodules under make-up (look closely!) to full break-outs, we’re feelin’ it just the same as you. Acne isn’t and shouldn’t be a taboo. It’s a skin condition that is so widely common yet people still associate it with an unclean face. It doesn’t matter how many times you wash your face, in fact that can make it worse – acne will remain.
“Having spoken to my friends about my acne, and seeing them with no make-up on during late night video calls, I’ve finally realised that it’s normal. I feel like I can look passed them, which I just couldn’t do before.
“I used to spend what seemed like hours scrolling through pictures of perfect skin on Instagram, even though I knew it was heavily edited. It can severely get to you when your confidence is low. I now don’t do that, which has helped me to regain love for my own skin.”
Social media is the last place you want to be if you’re feeling less than happy with your skin. From posts about perfect skin goals to all the latest skincare trends, it can seem like an endless pit to self destruction. Alas, it’s fine to enjoy beauty on the ‘gram, but if it’s making you feel like crap, then it’s also okay to watch cute dog videos on YouTube.
Here are a few ways to look after yourself if you’re not feeling so good about your skin right now:
- Know that it’s okay to reach out and talk about your skin. Acne can affect your mental health, and talking about it can make you feel a whole lot better, as cliché as it sounds.
- Cleanse morning and evening and hydrate with a moisturiser or serum. Even spot-prone skin needs moisture.
- Stress and hormones, especially at that time of the month, plays havoc with our skin. Take time for you, whether that’s reading a book, playing the Switch or having a bath. Bliss.
- Remind yourself that acne isn’t everything and it will never define who you are.
- Don’t compare yourself to other people. Very likely they will have their own skin worries anyway. Nobody is perfect. What even is perfect?
- If you are struggling to control breakouts and it is causing you great stress in day-to-day life, do make an appointment with the Doctor. Sometimes you just need extra help, and that’s absolutely fine.