Acne isn’t something we, as a society, talk about much. We airbrush away unwanted blemishes in photos and we cover up dreaded zits with heavy make-up. It’s even almost taboo to say “I have acne”.

When I was in fourth grade, the first zits popped up. Being the perfectionist as I am, the occasional pimple would bother me but whenever my face was full of unsightly bumps and spots I couldn’t accept it. I wondered: “Will my acne be here for a few days? A few weeks? A month?" How many more outbreaks will follow?” “Will it clear after that or will they keep on coming?”.

Over the next decade I tried every product from Neutrogena to chemical peels, to diets, internet trends to old wise tales and still didn’t find relief. One of the biggest lies told during my teen years is that pimples are a bane of adolescence and vaish once you grow up. I wish I could tell you that I have the clearest skin in the world, but I don’t. The acne doesn’t get to win, though. Even if it never really goes away, it doesn’t have to define me. I will not allow it to prevent me from living the life that I want.

There’s much more to life than appearance. Beauty is only skin-deep, after all. I forgive my imperfections. I loosen up the definitions of how I think my skin should look. This is because some weeks I’ll glow while other weeks I’ll shine (thanks, sebaceous glands). But beneath it all I’m a beautiful human.

I’ve learned that struggles can be a blessing in disguise. With age, I have gotten better at loving myself for who I am. Loving myself means tending to my emotional, physical, and spiritual health.