Acne and insecurities: a journey of blemished skin

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Acne and insecurities: a journey of blemished skin

Keertana Gangireddy, Staff Writer

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Whiteheads. Cysts. Papules. Nodules. They have been a prominent feature of my complexion for what feels like an eternity, getting to the point where I feel as though I am an expert on the topic, as though I have a doctorate in dermatology.

I first got acne on my face, chest, and back at the ripe age of 11. Although my mother, naturally melodramatic, made a fuss about it, I hadn’t thought much of my acne until a boy in my fifth-grade class came up to me and asked if I had freckles. Confused by the inquiry, I shut it down with a prompt, ‘no’. He walked away, smirking. It was only when I got home that I realized that the question was directed to my pimples. I spent the rest of the day staring at myself in the mirror, suddenly acutely aware of the imperfections polluting my skin.

I have tried half the facial care section from CVS, a few $50 ‘overnight treatments’ from high-end beauty stores, and countless prescription topical medications. My skin would clear up, I would wean off the product, and the moment I would decide to skimp on my facial regimen for a night, or eat too much chocolate ice cream, it would be pimple galore the next day.

In January of eighth grade, my dermatologist decided to introduce me to oral medications, more specifically, Doxycycline. With the medication, by April, my face had almost completely cleared up. The ‘bacne’, however, stayed put. My mother, not entirely satisfied, brought me back into the dermatologist’s office for a prescription of Cefadroxil, a pill to target post-inflammatory-hyperpigmentation and deal with congestion on the body.

Due to a trip to India for the summer, where I forgot to pack the antibiotics, I ended up taking a one month break from the medicine, causing its effects to diminish. As a result, by August, my face had yet again exploded with painful blemishes.

With around five years having imperfect skin, although my journey with acne is far from over, I can conclude that having pimples on my skin is tiring. It’s tiring to try product after product, only to end up with fruitless results. It’s tiring to go to the dermatologist every two months for check-ups on my skin, to be hypersensitive about my face, attempting to remember to not touch it. It has caused my self-confidence to dwindle, making me conscious of my appearance constantly. There are days where I look at myself, and dread leaving the house.

I despise it when people stare at my blemishes when I converse with them, and when people assume that I don’t take care of myself, when in actuality, I use ten different products on my face, keeping it as clean as possible in case of risk for further breakout.

It can be frustrating when nothing seems to be working. It’s further irritating when media and ads promote a negative stigma around having acne. The marketing of acne solutions such as Proactiv and Differin, where there are people stressing on the fact that before the product, they couldn’t function as a human being, simply makes me feel more insecure and ashamed to be struggling with blemished skin.

To people who have acne, all I can say is: try not to stress about it. It sucks, I know, but it shouldn’t be allowed to negatively impact your high school experience. These four years, you’ll never be able to get back, and they must be lived to their fullest.

I hope people can learn a little empathy, as I attempt to learn a little self-love. Although embracing oneself can be a daunting task when one is so insecure, I want others that don’t have model-like skin to understand that nothing should be allowed to take away from your happiness, and that it will get better someday.