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NOW READING When Acne Takes a Toll on Your Self-Esteem: What You Can Do About It
January 9, 2019

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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A post shared by Sheryll Donerson (@sheryllrenata) on


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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I had such a good week in Huntsville with my family! My nieces are so adorable😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍

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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!



Sheryll Donerson got her start as a beauty writer by writing K-beauty reviews for her blog, The Wanderlust Project. These days, she's lifting heavy weights, eating tacos, drinking (too much) coffee and is 1/4 of the beauty podcast, Beauty Beyond Basics (or Triple Bees for short). You can find her on Instagram and Twitter at @sheryllrenata.




Verified experts are beauty professionals who receive free products for independent reviews without receiving payment.

I absolutely love this article. It's needed by people of all ages and can be used for more than acne issues. Acne has most definitely affected my self esteem in the past and I did a similar practice where I made a list of traits I love about myself. I also put a picture I love of myself on mirrors in my room and bathroom. It's a reminder that hell yeah that's me in the photo! It definitely been a confidence booster.


Verified experts are beauty professionals who receive free products for independent reviews without receiving payment.

I can relate to this article! As an esthetician, you are expected to have flawless skin and sometimes it's a lot of pressure. I get the hormonal breakouts during the time of the month and especially when I eat dairy (grrr!). Actually, the reason I got into the skincare industry is because I struggled with acne my whole life and found someone that got me clear with chemical peels, correct product regimen and changing my diet. It changed my life and I became so passionate about what she did for me that I went to esthetics school so I could... Read more


I like when beauty writers/influencers/whatever have problem skin. I can't really take the opinion of someone that has super amazing beautiful skin without trying too seriously, especially when it comes to stuff like BHAs, products meant to fade scarring, etc. It lends more credibility to those testing out products meant to fix acne or dark spots to actually show they are dealing with those issues themselves.

I had really, really bad acne when I was a teen - it sucked. In my 20s my skin improved, and now in my eternal 29th year, I only suffer from hormonal breakouts - be... Read more


I agree. It's like going to an ophthalmologist with 20/20 vision.

I actually suffered from really bad acne in my early 20s — hormonally and stress induced, I'm sure. Since then, it's only been that one giant hormonal cyst per month, but even in my XXth year, when you'd think you'd be over hormonal acne, I STILL get it every month, though spearmint supplements have helped TREMENDOUSLY.

P.S. I like that. I'm going to officially be in my eternal 29th year as well.

P.S.S. Thank god we're not teens anymore, amiright???


Funny story, I legit didn't know how old my mom was when I was younger as my dad really put a 29 on the cake each year!

I am SO GLAD I am not a teen anymore! Between the acne, every problem being THE WORST, the pressures of school, and figuring yourself out, it was exhausting. I'm glad I'm over it. I'm also glad I can reasonably afford to throw tons of wonderful products at the small hormonal breakout I now get monthly - something I couldn't do when I had really bad problems!


SPEARMINT SUPPLEMENTS? Tell me more. I've finally cut out dairy completely and it's made such a dramatic difference. I only had one pimple this month instead of a cluster of cysts.


I cut down on my dairy and sugar intake as much as possible, too. But the true difference in my monthly hormonal cysts were the spearmint supplements, no question. The first six months, it decreased the size and scope of the monthly cyst, but these last six months I haven't had a cyst at all. It's more like a weak little pimple trying to be a cyst and then it dies or, less often, is easily extracted. IT'S A FREAKIN' MIRACLE!!!!

(I think fanserviced-b also wrote about spearmint supplements, if I remember correctly.)

I interviewed a doctor a couple years ago about... Read more


Adding the rest of my message here bc the READ MORE link is broken:

I interviewed a doctor a couple years ago about his study with spearmint (it's supposed to actually affect the hormone that causes hormonal acne), and that's how I discovered it. 400 mg, twice a day. No side effects for me, and it's cheap (like $5 for 60). I buy the Swanson one from Amazon. You can also drink the tea (like a real, legit spearmint tea) all day, but I always prefer to pop a supplement and get it over with haha