When Acne Takes a Toll on Your Self-Esteem: What You Can Do About It
The struggle is real. Whether it’s acne, aging, body issues, or anything that beats down on your self-esteem, staving off that spiral of negativity can feel like a herculean task. Contributing editor Sheryll knows exactly how that feels. Thankfully, she’s figured out some practical ways to help her get out of that self-destructive hole. Maybe they can help you, too.
For the past few weeks, I’ve been waking up every morning and gently touching my chin and jawline. It’s rough. Bumpy. Painful. It’s the hormonal acne that’s been wreaking havoc on my life on and off for the past six months, and it is ruining my life. (Hyberbole, but it definitely feels like it.)
And everyday, I stumble out of bed and head to the bathroom. There, I look in the mirror and see the dozens of dark spots that dot my chin and jawline. The marks that are nearly impossible to cover with concealer, unless I want to look like I’ve doused my face in cake batter. For a while, it didn’t bother me. But then the acne just kept coming. And the dark spots got worse. And so the cycle continues. Oh, the joys of being a woman, right?!
I’d be lying if I said my skin woes haven’t impacted my self-esteem. It’s a few of things rolled into one:
1. My age. I’m 32, and I feel like these hormonal acne issues I’m dealing with should be freaking done at this point. Like … I thought this was over. BOO.
2. I’m a beauty and skincare writer. I feel like in order for people to take me “seriously” I should have “good” skin. I know this is dumb, but hey. My brain is a mess.
3. My skin WAS really nice earlier this year. I look at old pictures of myself and sigh in amazement. What a time.
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I used to be pretty confident in my skin. Even with a few dark marks, I’d frequently rock the no-makeup look. But recently, I can’t even bear to look at myself in the mirror sometimes. It’s kinda depressing.
But one morning, a few days ago, I woke up and went to reach to touch my face and stopped myself. A million thoughts were running through my head. Acne is a VERY common problem, especially hormonal acne. I’m not the only one on the planet nor will I be the last person to deal with this. Literally no one cares about this besides me, and if they do, they’re an asshole. Right? RIGHT.
So I made the decision that from here on out, I wasn’t going to fret and worry and stress and make myself feel bad because of my skin. The thing is, the acne is there. The dark spots will take months to heal, and I just don’t have the mental capacity to worry about something that at the end of the day is kinda trivial. I am so much more than this hormonal acne. I’m a great writer. I’m an awesome auntie. I’m a great cook. I’m an excellent friend. I always smell good, and I give really nice hugs. AND I give amazing book recommendations. I mean, what is there NOT to love about me?
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To make this a bit easier for myself, I promised to wake up each morning and instead of thinking about the state of my skin, I’d write a positive thought about itself. Some things I’ve written:
1. I am strong as f*ck.
2. I have amazing hair.
3. I am loved, and I am made of love.
4. I have really awesome handwriting.
5. I have an amazing speaking voice and should probably make some dolla dolla bills doing voiceover.
6. Lots of people have told me I look like Tessa Thompson (who I think is one of the most beautiful women EVER) so I must be (AND AM) really cute.
I know, I know. This all sounds too cliché, but trust me, it does work. I no longer wake up in the morning filled with dread about the state of my skin. I don’t let it consume my thoughts and how I feel like I need to put on makeup to go to the gym. NO ONE CARES. Trust me. I have since gone out multiple times — cysts, dark spots, the whole thing — and no one even looked twice at me. Having the confidence to go about my daily life as if I’m the baddest woman on earth has really been a life-changing experience.
If you are struggling with acne, trust me girl, I am here for you, and I understand your pain. I understand not wanting to be seen or dreading putting on makeup or dealing with skin that is painful to touch. But I encourage you to try to focus on all the amazing, wonderful things that make up the rest of who you are. Take out that journal or piece of paper and get to listing. Acne is just something on your face, but we are ALL so much more than that. We are kind. Loving. Funny. Gorgeous. Badass. And don’t you forget it!
Have you ever tried to overcome a demoralizing skin issue? Has acne ever affected your self-esteem? How did or do you deal with it? We’re not alone in this so let’s talk about it!