I've been living with acne since the ripe old age of 11. Ever since I can remember, I've had bumps and blemishes and discoloration and painful zits all over my face. Everyone told me it was just puberty and that my hormones would eventually balance out and my skin would magically clear up. All throughout middle school and high school, I waited for that magical day that my body and my skin would get on the same page and I would wake up with baby soft, perfect skin.
By now, any rational person can figure out that it never happened. Here I am, 21 years old and still struggling every day with my acne. It's not as much as a confidence-killer as it used to be, but it's still embarrassing to me. I wear foundation almost daily to even out my redness and cover up the scarring on my jawline. It takes me about ten minutes both morning and night to go through my entire cleansing routine. I've tried just about every acne product on the market, I've been on multiple medications, I've had allergic reactions, I've had desert-dry and fryer-greasy skin. I've seen, felt, and tried it all. My acne has been the bane of my existence since I was a pre-teen.
So I decided to try something new. Last week, after another dermatologist appointment to reduce acne scar tissue on my face, I decided to try something that I've always been told would help, but of course was so stubborn to ever try. I told myself I couldn't touch my face for a week. No pimple popping, no scratching off dry skin, no blackhead extractions. I would leave my face alone for the week.
At first, I hated it. The very first morning of this new endeavor, I woke up with a mountain of a zit right under my eyebrow and I had to physically restrain myself from popping it. "Everyone's going to notice," I thought. "It's so ugly, someone is bound to say something." Well, guess what? No one said a word. The entire day, I was so conscious of the boulder on my face and nobody mentioned it. I doubt anyone even noticed that it was there.
Throughout the rest of the week, I realized that nobody was mentioning my skin, and even if they did, it was to compliment my eye makeup or my new lip color. By the time the week was over, I realized that almost every jab I remember receiving about my skin came from my own brain. Nobody in my life is twisted or mean enough to bring up my acne. And if they were, then they would no longer be in my life.
This week of not touching my face taught me a lot, but most importantly, it taught me to give myself a break. Acne is a biological process that I will never have complete control over. It doesn't define me, it doesn't make me uglier or less than someone else. It's just something completely natural and I need to remind myself of that more often. If you have the right people in your life, they shouldn't be scouring your face and body to point out your imperfections and insecurities. Good people and good friends will instead compliment you on your eyeshadow or your outfit or most importantly, your confidence and inner beauty. So why can't those be the first things we say to ourselves?