3 Things Having Acne Taught Me
By: Valeria Ramos
If you’ve had acne, you know it sucks. A few years ago, just a handful of months after I turned 20, I went from having clear skin to breaking out constantly with no clue as to why.
I mistakenly believed that, along with braces, acne would just be a part of my high school years—never to be seen again. Unfortunately, I was wrong.
As I began my third year of college, this time without clear skin, my self-esteem plummeted and I found myself struggling to look people in the eye when I spoke to them and leave the house unless I had to.
I felt helpless and extremely uncomfortable in my skin. I’ve always kept a good skincare routine, eaten healthy, and exercised. All of a sudden, however, my skin just wasn’t responding the same way.
It was hard not to feel vain as I distressed and even shed tears over the state of my skin. But the truth is, having acne is more than just skin-deep, and anyone who has had it will know that.
A year later, after seeing different dermatologists and spending way too much money on different products and treatments, I’ve finally found a routine that, slowly but surely, has started to work for my skin.
Looking back on my year with acne, there was a lot of pain and frustration, but there were also some pretty great lessons I learned along the way.
What helped calm my skin the most was finally accepting that acne was my new normal. The more I stressed and worried about my skin, the worse it got and the more anxious I felt. I stopped dwelling on my acne-free past and just accepted that this was my skin now and I was going to have to deal with it. Because my acne was mainly hormonal and genetic, it was out of my control and I was forced to do something I had never done before, which was to love myself unconditionally.
If I had a dollar for every time someone told me “It’ll get better, just wait,” then I’d probably have enough money to make up for how much I spent on cleansers and spot treatments. Ultimately, however, those people weren’t wrong. While I couldn’t control my acne, I could control how I reacted to it and it was always more beneficial to calmly wait it out than to stress and feel sorry for myself.
After being covered in spots and scars for a year, on days when my skin is clearing up, I appreciate it so much more. Leaving the house without makeup is a victory and doing my skincare routine is therapeutic. While struggling with my skin caused me a lot of pain, it also taught me how to be more patient and love myself, which is always a good thing.