My Acne Journey
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Health and Wellness

My Acne Journey Has Been Full Of Ups And Downs, But The Lessons I Learned Are Worth It All

My acne is a part of me, but it doesn't make me.

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Jessica Hui

I first noticed signs of emerging pimples when I was in the fifth grade. I wasn't too surprised because I knew that all teenagers would eventually go through puberty. Even my pediatrician informed me that my pimples were a result of my hormones changing. However, when I looked at my friends, their skin was clear with the occasional pimple here and there, but nothing too severe, so why was I beginning to get so many pimples on my forehead?

Throughout the rest of elementary and middle school, I remained self-conscious, afraid that someone would be judging me because of my acne. It was also around this time in which my pimples started leaving scars, and I often picked at them, making the situation worse. It got to the point where I didn't even want to be in pictures because I knew that my acne was obvious. I was sick and tired of being so embarrassed by myself, but I couldn't help it.

During my freshman and sophomore years of high school, I was able to keep my acne under control by using a Neutrogena face wash, but when junior and senior year hit, everything went downhill. The pimples on my forehead began to fade, taking the scars with them, and I was beyond ecstatic for the first time in a long time. Shortly afterward, however, I noticed pimples developing on my cheeks. In their early stages, these pimples would be rather small, temporary, and painless, but I still convinced my mom to buy me a tube of NARS concealer.

I attempted to cover any blemishes every morning before school because I felt safe and more confident behind the concealer. Eventually, my pimples began to grow larger, long-lasting, and painful to the touch. I didn't want to look in the mirror or in any reflection because I couldn't bear my acne. I even felt uncomfortable at home and around my parents.

Soon my mom noticed how my skin was changing and developed a facial routine for me. Every night when she came back from work, she taught me how to apply special face masks and acne creams, some including salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide, but their effects didn't last long. I tried to drink more water and eat more fruits. I even adjusted my sleeping schedule so that I would get a solid eight hours, yet nothing worked. The acne returned with a vengeance and worsened, and my solution was to simply apply more concealer. The layers got heavier and thicker, and I hated how it felt sitting on top of my face, especially when the weather got warmer. When I removed the concealer, my pimples would just darken and harden.

My mom saw the consequences of the concealer and begged me to stop using it because it clogged up my pores, causing more dirt to get trapped. Initially, I refused to listen, but out of desperation and for the lack of better options, I restrained myself from using any makeup products to see if my condition would improve. Over the course of several months, I applied less and less concealer, eventually mustering up the courage to go out in public with a bare face. I felt extremely vulnerable and still self-conscious, yet I learned patience. There were ups and downs, of course, but I gave my skin time to heal. During this time, I also learned to empathize with others and to not be so quick to judge those with acne because I understand the struggle and the difficulty of coping with it.

When I began my fall semester of college, I saw dramatic changes. Maybe it's just the air in Long Island, but my acne cleared up. I no longer apply makeup so that I can allow my skin to breathe on its own, and I wash my face in the morning, after I finish classes for the day, and before I go to bed. My skin isn't perfect — I have scars remaining and I get pimples when I'm stressed out, but I let it be.

I may not be able to control my acne at times, but I can control how I come about it. I put my focus on my academics and on my life outside of school in order to make the most out of my college experience. I devote my time and effort to do the things that I enjoy and to take care of myself. Most importantly, I've come to accept that my acne is a part of me, but it doesn't make me.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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