For the past few years, I have been in a nonstop battle with my skin. Cleanser after cleanser, nothing was working for me. Even when my friends and family would tell me it "wasn't even that bad," my inner confidence was shrinking week after week. Having a day without feeling like acne was the only thing people were noticing was enough to cheer me up for weeks. But now, as my skin has cleared up, I realized that I should not have worried so much. Here is the story about my roller coaster relationship with myself and my skin.
When I was younger, my skin was glowing and clear. I didn't appreciate this enough at the time, because once it started to go downhill, I had no clue what to do. After my mom took me to my first dermatology appointment, I didn't realize what I was getting myself into. Little did I know that I would be going back every few months to get a new cream to fix my skin. For the first 2-3 weeks after starting these creams, they would work. I had a theory that after that, my skin would just adjust to the creams and go back to the way it was.
While you read this, keep in mind my acne was not THAT bad. It was nowhere near to what they show in the commercials for skin care, but if it wasn't perfect, I was not happy. I would often get one large pimple that was impossible to cover up, and the timing of them definitely wasn't ideal. My senior prom, picture day, and graduation, you can see in all of these photos a large pimple on my face. The visibility of the troubled skin bothered me even more.
Fast forward to the beginning of my freshman year in college. This time was when my skin hit rock bottom. There were multiple pimples on my face all of the first semesters. In the beginning, I thought that this was just because of the adjustment to a new place, and the anxiety of the first semester of freshman year. After Thanksgiving break was when I realized that this was not the problem. Even if it was the "Wisconsin water or weather," that was my new life, so if my skin wouldn't adjust to it, then I had to do something about it.
A few of my close friends had gone on Accutane, which is the most well-known acne pill that people go on. There are many downsides of this drug, though. Most prominently, it is supposed to dry out your skin completely and not only on your face but all over. I knew I was going to be living in very dry weather in Wisconsin, so I knew this was not the answer to my problems. Cream after cream, I knew there was something else I could do. I felt I had tried every moisturizer, face mask, facial, cleanser, exfoliant, and prescription there was in the universe. I knew it was time to see a new doctor.
I give this doctor full credit for restoring my confidence and self-respect. I went in for the first time, and she was no BS. She told me to my face that my skin was bad and explained to me the deeper problems with it and gave me an entirely new skin routine, including an antibiotic pill that I would take for a few months until I thought my skin was cleared up fully. Even after just hearing the new plans for my skin, I was relieved. I think it is underrated how much someone's skin affects their self-confidence. I didn't realize how much mine really did until the following weeks after this new regiment.
My skin cleared up more than it ever had before, and it felt like I was a new person. I didn't have to worry about how I was going to cover up my skin for the nights going out or hiding big pimples in pictures. People say your skin gets bad from stress, but it's an impossible circle of stress to get out of if the root of your stress is from your skin.
After my skin cleared up, I realized that there were bigger things to worry about in the world than a few pimples on your face.
As much as this whole thing can sound dramatic and dumb, everyone has specific things that they are insecure about, and this was mine. My advice to anyone who has something they feel awful about that is cosmetic is that first of all, it's not as big of a deal as it feels. People will love you no matter what your skin looks like or how you look in photos. Second, if there is a way to get on top of what you are insecure about, do it! You won't ever know what you are like without your insecurities if you don't try to get rid of them, and if it's impossible, just remember that there are much bigger problems in the world than how you look. We are all beautiful with or without acne.