One of my biggest sources of shame is my struggle with adult acne. It seems that most people who have acne get it out of the way in their teenage years, but for me, it seems to have happened in the opposite way. Sure, I had the occasional pimple in high school that I would cover up with some light mineral powder. My struggle with shame…I’m living with acne did not begin for me until I was about 18.
What is CAUSING My Adult Acne?
I have spent the better part of the last decade trying to figure out what caused the acne originally; was it the stress and suddenness of my parent’s separation? Was is it starting college and not sleeping or eating as well as I had previously? Was it all of the emotional ups and downs of dating in college? Once I stopped obsessing with how it began, I started focusing on solving the current breakout that I have on my face…and I always have one. Sometimes, they are not so bad, and I only have a few blemishes, but more often than not, I have a face full of acne.
Am I eating too much fried food? Too much dairy? Am I not getting enough green in my diet? Is it my mask? Is it my pillowcase? Am I not washing my face enough? Washing it too much? Am I inadvertently touching my face too much? These are just a few of the things I question on a regular basis regarding the cause of my acne.
What I’ve Tried to Combat Adult Acne
I have tried what feels like everything, different face washes, not using face wash, face wash wands, changing my mask after each use, dermatologist appointments which ended in prescriptions for antibiotics that didn’t help, prescriptions for birth control which caused a whole host of other issues, and the talk of the dreaded Accutane.
Anyone who has any experience with acne knows the fear of Accutane. I know many people close to me who have used it with a great many side effects. Not to mention the required stress of birth control while on it and the blood work that always scares me. The people in my life who have used it had great success once it is not an option.
How Adult Acne Has Affected My Self Image
All of that being said, I feel more like a teenager now than I did when I actually was one. I am so embarrassed by the way I look with my acne that I don’t even want to look at myself in the mirror at all, while washing my hands, brushing my teeth, and even washing my face. I often find myself not wanting to see anyone outside of my family even via FaceTime or Zoom. Makeup is of little use no matter how much I slather on and how amazing my makeup artist brother is, it always shows through. I feel dirty no matter how much I wash my face.
In addition to acne, I have a lazy eye and have worn glasses since I was 18 months old. I love my glasses but that coupled with my acne can sometimes cause me to really struggle with my self image.
I would love to be one of those women who looks amazing without makeup, who has perfect skin, and never has to use more than water and a little bit of soap for it to remain flawless. No matter what happens, I know my face will never be that perfect.
I know that I am more than my acne, that there is more to me than what is on my face, but it is a struggle none the less. Sharing my struggle with adult acne has not been an easy one to talk about but it is one I feel like needs to be shared in case anyone else is dealing with the same thing.