July is officially Acne Awareness Month, so I wanted to take some time to share my story and hopefully provide some comfort and encouragement to others who suffer from chronic skin conditions.
My first zit appeared when I was 11 years old – I remember that day vividly. My sister and I attended a gingerbread house making class and I felt humiliated when my parents took proud pictures of us with our creations. A massive red dot on the tip of my nose disrupted my whole self-image.
That same year, I remember a boy sitting behind me at an assembly called me “pizza face.” I felt hideous. This was all before I was allowed to wear makeup or anything, so there was no hiding, no relief.
When I started doing some beauty tutorials on my blog, I was ridiculed on Twitter for wearing “too much makeup.” Yet, I know that if I were to have worn less makeup, I would have been ridiculed for my terrible skin.
To this day, I still struggle with severe adult acne. I have tried everything – each “solution” seems to work for a month or so and then my skin reverts to it’s naturally inflamed state. Dermatologists have prescribed me all sorts of creams and pills, but nothing ends up working.
Sometimes people say wearing makeup is “false advertising” or “fake.” Personally, I use makeup to make myself feel better and more confident. I am a firm believer that people should do what they can to feel like the best version of themselves – that is what makeup does for me. Instead of being looked at with disgust (trust me I’ve seen the stares when I go makeup-free), I am looked at as a human.
Now, don’t get me wrong – I go makeup-free all the time. The people closest to me – my girlfriends, family, and boyfriend see me without makeup more than you would think. With them, I don’t have to worry about the looks of disgust or the awkward stares. They love me for me and know that my true beauty isn’t what is on my skin.
I’ve had people closest to me tell me to stop wearing makeup. They say “who cares what other people think? The people who love you don’t care!” But it’s not that simple. For example, I could not go into an interview for my dream job makeup-free. There is this stigma that comes with acne that you don’t take care of yourself or that you are lazy. Yes, I know that is not true, but I do care what other people think about me (So does everybody else – if you say otherwise, you’re lying to yourself).
I have permanent scarring from acne all over my chest, back, and face. Even if my skin cleared up miraculously, I would still see the aftermath everyday. I understand the pain this condition causes and the damage it can do to self-esteem.
I’m sick of this double standard: if I wear too much makeup, I’m fake but if I go makeup-free, I’m disgusting and lazy.
The right image is me wearing makeup and the left is completely makeup free. I am the same person – not trying to be fake or misleading. Makeup is FUN! I get to play up my best features and feel more confident. I still feel like ME whether I’m wearing makeup or not.
If you struggle like I do, you shouldn’t feel alone. There are so many people out there who understand and there are loads of people who think you’re beautiful no matter what. You should never feel ashamed for doing what makes you feel best about yourself or for being yourself.
Want to wear tons of makeup? Go for it! Want to go all-natural? Go for it! You need to just do what makes YOU feel best and the rest of the world can just suck it up.
Do you struggle with acne? I’d love to hear your story. Please share it in the comments below!
Also, check out this beautiful video below by Em Ford from My Pale Skin. She inspired me to write this piece. Her video brought tears to my eyes as I can understand her struggle perfectly.
Why are we so critical of something so trivial as our appearances? Instead of investing so much time in tearing each other (and ourselves!) down, we should focus on encouraging one another.