Written by DiveThru Team
Reviewed by Natalie Asayag MSW, LCSW
6 Ways To Be More Accepting Of Adult Acne
Published Oct 16th, 2020 & updated on Mar 20th, 2021
The day has finally come. It’s your first job interview and you wake up, excited to conquer the day — only to find two new pimples on your chin. You rush to your makeup drawer and quickly begin covering the damage with concealer and foundation. Anything you can find to cover up the ‘monstrosity’ that has manifested itself on your face. As you finish getting ready and head out the door, you catch a glimpse in the mirror…and curse under your breath about the lack of “cover” the full-coverage foundation has. Did we just describe your day? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. 40-55% of adults deal with adult acne.
Acne can be extremely detrimental to one’s mental health, creating problems with depression and anxiety. For some, it can be an all consuming dread and the first thing they think of in the morning…immediately touching their face when they wake up to see if they have any new pimples. For others, the lack of dialogue about adult acne and constant airbrushing in the media can leave them feeling extremely alone.
If you’ve never dealt with acne before, it may be difficult to understand the concept of acne causing insecurity or self-consciousness. Those with an acne condition will often hear things from “Nobody will notice!” to “Why are you being so superficial? It’s just skin.” Yikes. Seriously, whoooo thought that was a helpful thing to say?
The problem is, those who have not truly experienced acne don’t understand what it means to stay at home because you don’t want people to see your face. They don’t understand the anxiety that comes from thinking no one will love you wholly because of your ‘imperfections.’ And you bet they don’t realize this negative thinking pattern can spiral to the point where you hate mannyyyy things about yourself.
But we want you to know that we get it. And no, we’re not here to share another skincare routine. You don’t need yet another organization telling you to change your diet, drink 6 gallons of water a day, or find your peace in essential oils.
Let’s get real and talk about some ways we can embrace our natural skin and build up our self-esteem.
1. Take Skin Care Advice With A Grain of Salt
We commend people who don’t comment on someone else’s skin.
***Grabs megaphone and yells “unsolicited advice is the WORSSSTTTTT.”
Because our bodies are all so different (and unique YAY!), we react differently to foods, products, hormones, you name it. For some of us, our cause might be digestive, hormonal or stress related. Shit, maybe we get acne because that’s just what’s in store for us. With this in mind, take advice from others with a grain of salt. Washing your face more often may not actually be good for your skin, even if it worked for your friend. Same with that lemon juice cleanse.
Try telling those who hit you up with unsolicited advice (politely at first, then grab the megaphone) that there are different factors that can contribute to a person’s acne and that it is almost impossible for anyone apart from a dermatologist to say what is going on with your skin. Talking to people about the individuality of acne can help change the negative discourse around it. The unsolicited advice might be coming from a good place, but the reality is that they don’t know your body as well as you do.
2. Take Off The Filter
Acne is a completely normal skin condition. The Journal of American Academy of Dermatology states that 54% of women older than 25 deal with acne. So why isn’t this talked about? Social media has perpetuated the idea that flaws should be covered. Acne should be photoshopped out, edited, angled and filtered to achieve the “perfect image.”
And, we think that’s a load of bullshit.
It’s problematic AF because it makes flawless skin the norm…when that’s not actually the norm. Taking off the filter and embracing our natural skin helps combat the narrative of perfection that the world of Instagram would have us believe.
3. Write Your Positive Affirmations
Even after coming to terms with the fact that acne is a completely normal thing to have, you may still struggle with your self-confidence. So, how does one build themselves up, despite being in despair from their skin? Positive affirmations.
We know, it can seem ridiculous to stare at yourself in the mirror and say all the wonderful things you see, but it will help. Pinky promise. Writing out or speaking out your affirmations helps subconsciously change what your internal critic is saying. Instead of looking in the mirror and noticing your face may be red or inflamed, tell yourself how strong you are.
Here’s another thing to keep in mind — as much as we feel that our acne draws attention to our face and our blemishes, other people don’t notice our skin as much as we do. Psychotherapist Azra Alic dismantled the belief that our acne is visible and obvious to other people through a number of behavioural experiments with her own clients. Turns out, no one really sees your acne the way you see it in yourself.
4. Don’t Accept The Myth That Acne Is “Dirty”
Did you know that the face wash industry itself is worth $22 billion? And yet, despite the exorbitant amount of money spent by consumers on skin-care products, there is still “a great need for more evidence supporting the use of washing and cleansing in acne treatment.” So as a consumer, ask yourself why acne is being equated with being dirty or unclean. Is it all just a marketing effort?
To someone suffering with acne, it can be extremely overwhelming to walk into a Sephora and be ambushed by the amount of clearing, purifying or detoxifying products. It sucks. It’s impossible not to leave feeling like maybe if you bought the more expensive face wash, all your breakouts would go away. We wish we could tell you we have a solution for this but we don’t, because we don’t know what’s best for your skin. Heck, we’re still trying to figure this sh*t out ourselves. Here’s what our founder, Sophie Gray, has to say on finding the right skin care routine for you:
“I spent 8 years at war with my skin. After coming off of birth control, my face was ‘a mess’. I tried everything. And, I mean everything. I spent hundreds of dollars and so much time thinking about my blemishes. After giving up on finding a fix, I focused on building my confidence away from my physical appearance. When I arrived at a secure place, I decided to give skincare products another go. And, what I learned was this…. It. Takes. So. Much. Time. In my spare time, I would watch video after video talking about products, the science behind skincare and dermatologists recommendations. From there, I tried numerous different products and routines before landing on a select few products that actually work for my skin. It’s been a journey, but was much easier mentally after I chose to accept myself as I am, blemished and all.”
5. Unfollow Social Media Accounts That Make You Feel Bad About Your Skin
Social media, particularly Instagram, can be one of the worst platforms for misleading, altered, or even completely fabricated photos. In order for you to become comfortable in your own skin and your realness, we may need to remove the accounts on your socials that cause you to question the beauty of your authenticity.
You will no longer be looking at perfected and edited photos, but rather real people that are confident and unapologetic in their own skin.
When scrolling through the ‘gram ask yourself… Does this person make me feel good about myself? Are these photos damaging my self confidence? Would my life be better if I wasn’t following this account?
6. Follow Skin Positive Influencers
While social media can cause a wide range of problems, it has its benefits. Following acne positive accounts is a great way to make peace with your skin. Seeing people so comfortable in their flaws and unapologetic about their skin is truly inspiring. We’ve followed these accounts to build us up when we’re feeling down about our skin!View this post on InstagramView this post on InstagramView this post on InstagramView this post on InstagramView this post on InstagramView this post on InstagramView this post on Instagram
It’s important to remember that everyone is fighting their own battles every single day. It can seem disheartening to think that our acne is something that defines us, or that it is all that people see when they look at us. So here’s our gentle little reminder: be kind with yourself, your skin, or any other adversities you face. You’re doing great, sweetie.