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Acne In Professional Setting

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#1 Nadal

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Posted 19 February 2012 - 07:27 PM

How do you cope with severe acne in a professional setting where you dress in business attires and constantly interact with your coworkers and other professionals? Do you wear tons of make-up to hide acne scars and cysts? What do guys do? Do you lock yourself in your cubicle and avoid interaction as much as possible, or do you man up and act as if nothing is bothering you?

I'm usually good at not letting acne bother me and not letting it affect my attitude at work. Though I do take a 15 minute bathroom break to wash my face with cleansers and reapply moisturizer/consealer... Luckily I stay busy so there's no time to worry about what's on my face...

BUT... there are times when sh*t hits the fan and my face just blows up. Many times I've considered calling in sick (I haven't yet), and on many many occasions I've opted to take the stairs instead of elevator b/c the thought of being in the elevator for 20 seconds with 7-8 strangers was too much :( Ah, and I have skipped lunch a few times as well because I wasn't brave enough to eat in the cafeteria.

So how do you deal with acne at work? How do you just block it mentally and focus on your work/job... How do you psych yourself up in the morning and resist the temptation to just call in sick? Any encouraging word would be much appreciated.

Thank you for reading...

#2 Cherryx

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Posted 19 February 2012 - 08:00 PM

When I started my first professional job, I stopped wearing any kinds of makup. I belive my performance at work is more important then my looks. When I was at college, I was wearing makup everyday, cause, I was interating with lots of people and lots of guys, so I wanted to look attractive, because I felt like when I'm not in a professional setting, people might judge me on my looks more. Still, acne was always bothing me in every setting, however, I felt like it was a personal issue, that did not affect my job.

Not wearing makup while I was working was a great decision, after 5 months of not wearing makeup, my face really started to heal.

#3 k3tchup

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Posted 19 February 2012 - 10:53 PM

Don't wear it but i am a guy...

pretend like nothing is wrong...try to be like everything is okay. Ignore it. Its not easy but i try to play it off.

#4 alwayshope

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 12:30 AM

It's tough, really tough. When I had bad skin I did my best to reduce interaction with everyone. It consumed my thinking and made working difficult. But the majority of the time I toughed it out and went to work. I'm a guy and no makeup for me back then.

#5 mini7

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 02:03 AM

Im going through the same situation at work right now. I've become the queen of taking side entrances and side exits into and out of work just to minimize contact with my co workers. But I know this isn't the right way. It's just that it's really embarrassing when you have a severe break out and feel so self conscious about your skin. Mostly though I've been really really trying to do mind over matter and pretend like it doesn't bother me. Problem is that I'm constantly reminded because my face hurts all the time and I can't even smile wide without my skin flaking badly or even bleeding from my breakout. Even when I'm eating lunch I have to be really careful not to open my mouth too wide. Really sucks. Hang in there though. My best advice is, just really focus on the task at hand and try not to even think about it. Oh btw, yes I wear a ton of make up right now. It probably doesn't help my acne but it's honestly the only way I can even get myself to leave the house.

#6 ohsailor

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 03:10 AM

I keep trying to convince myself to go without makeup as I feel this would benefit my skin the most (and strangely, my PIH can sometimes look better without makeup) but I need that protective barrier and I hate knowing that people can see my bare skin.

I can get very upset and have got very upset recently at work regarding my acne - its very debilitating and I have been very close to calling in sick...but I can't lose my pay!

And office lighting is the worst kind of lighting there could be - I'm constantly checking and re-checking my make-up throughout the day but it always looks awful under those artificial lights.

#7 jmcsm

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 03:13 AM

I personally started out never wearing makeup at work. I don't really care about covering acne up. Did not bother me too much except when you meet some rude people who keep staring at your breakouts while talking to you. Then there are those who comment on your skin or those who whine when they have a single zit on their face. That really annoys me.

Lately I do occasionally wear some makeup. Not really to cover up though. I fill in my brows because they are sparse and I wear some colour on my lips because my lips are really pale and I got comments on that more than acne. People always think I'm not feeling well. I do blot off excess oil on my face a couple of times a day but that is pretty much it. I do have an interest in makeup but I refrain because of the acne. I would rather not make it worse. Probably another factor to why I don't wear much makeup is because I don't have the time. My working hours are pretty bad and I rather get in as much sleep as I can.

To those who do wear makeup, choose the right products and get ones which are less likely to make your acne worse.

#8 PaulH85

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 10:57 AM

I failed to cope with it in my last job and ended up getting fired. My acne wasn't severe but then I don't think it has to be. It's all relative in the sense that there are people with severe acne who are able to go about their business and not let it bother them, and there are people with mild acne who really struggle with that as far as confidence and self-esteem are concerned. I fall pretty much into the latter category as although my acne was extremely persistent, it was moderate at worst.

Prior to figuring out how to bring things under control, my skin would always break out like crazy over a weekend. I was my own worst enemy too because I was very bad when it came to avoiding picking and avoiding popping pimples. So I'd turn up at the office on a Monday morning and my face would be a mess. I'd walk to my cubicle thinking, 'Everyone who sees me is probably going to wonder, 'What the hell happened to him over the weekend'?' I'd then be sat at my computer all day, in my little confined space with nothing to distract me from the pain, discomfort and anxiety caused by my acne. That in itself drove me to distraction and I'd spend more time worrying about my skin, about how I looked, about what people thought and what they saw, than I would do concentrating on my work. This dragged on, built up over the months and things got worse and worse. My employer could have pulled me up for it or given me a warning but they decided to watch me in secret, count up all the violations, then throw it all at me in one go as gross misconduct.

Something had to give eventually because I couldn't have carried on the way I was. My entire day revolved around trying to avoid people or trying to second-guess what people were thinking and seeing when they looked at me. Add the fact that I was convinced people were watching me come and go - evidently they were, which I later found out with the gross misconduct thing - and the paranoia really started to kick in. In the end, they figured it was easier to fire me than it was to support me or let me take some time out so that I could go and get some help. I don't suppose they owed me any favours but it puts me in a very difficult position now because I've got to go out and try and get a job after seven months out. I'll also have to try and convince potential employers that the gross misconduct charge isn't who I really am and that I'm better now. Not sure I'm tough enough to do so to be honest, but I really hope I can work it out, find the confidence to start applying for jobs, and be lucky enough to find someone who will give me a chance because right now, I'm totally at rock bottom where my prospects and my financial situation are concerned.

All I would say is that there's nothing wrong with having your own little coping mechanisms if they help you through. Elevators is a quirky one; personally, I always tried to take an elevator the ones in that place had mirrors in them and that gave me a chance to check my face before I got to my floor. I always felt like I needed to check it and get an image of it in my mind in attempt to get a handle on what other people saw when looking at me. So that was one of my many mechanisms, but if the situation is such that you would rather avoid elevators, do that. Things like that in themselves aren't damaging to your ability to do your job and they're just little things to help you through that scenario each day. There's the key to it all I think: recognising if any of the coping mechanisms you put in place actually a detrimental influence on you or hinder your ability to do your job, and then working out how to reign those relevant mechanisms in, if that does become the case.

:)

#9 Sonshine415

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 06:30 PM

Hey, I totally understand. I am still dealing with severe acne, but I am a 5th grade teacher and back in Sept. started breaking out in cystic acne covering every inch. I ended up taking 2 weeks off thinking my acne would vanish, yet here I am still dealing with it and all the spots and scars. It is so embarrassing and hard, so I just wanted to say that I understand how you feel. And as a teacher it is really hard being in front of kids and being around kids. I just learned to not look in the mirror and just pretend I have beautiful clear skin as no job can fire you for performance (which i was convinced they could! LOL) and just take ONE DAY AT A TIME . WIth God's help, I somehow was able to keep my job but it is really hard everyday to live in this type of skin. Praying for you!

#10 cvd

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 08:07 PM

Hi Nadal --- It's so hard to work when having a really bad flare-up! When I was younger I could get through the day somehow but as I get older I find I prefer to just take a "sick" day off...just one...to rest, read, and get my mind calmed down. That seems to also get my skin to calm down a little.

Are you seeing a derm or taking any meds for your acne?

As I woman I don't know what I would do without my makeup! I've heard guys like Almay Smart Shade concealer. Do you have acne all over your face or is it just in certain areas? What might be helpful is if you have a trusted woman friend who could help you try some different kinds of make-up to see what might tone down the red a bit. You probably would not want total coverage as that would look wrong on a guy...but covering a bit of the red might give you confidence. I know for me a bit of sheer mineral powder gives me confidence. I put a bit more on problem areas. Again, if you could get a woman to help you figure this out that would help...and you know women love to help guys --- if only they'd ask!

My son who is in his 30's gets flare-ups at times and he ignores it. I find that amazing! He just goes ahead with his day as if nothing is wrong. However, I've noticed he also does things to help distract himself and to calm his mind such as play music or do crafts. My husband had bad acne as a teenager and occasionally will get a big blemish. He too ignores it for the most part but he will immerse himself in reading, a project, and listening to music he likes. Could you listen to music you like?

If your acne is really severe I hope you are seeing a derm. It can help...it may not totally take care of the problem but a good derm can get things more under control. Plus most derms are men so you might find a good ear there and some ideas on how to cope in the workplace. Do you have someone you can confide in...a girlfriend who could give you feedback on how you look? It's wierd but I have seen people who have acne all over their face who sometimes look better that the person who has one big cyst...maybe because the one cyst stands out. Also I've noticed that adults with acne who project an attitude of "I love myself as I am" and smile and their eyes smile, I see their acne at first but it fades very quickly into the background because I'm drawn to their positive personality. I wish I could do that better myself...I try...and I keep working on developing a sunny personality versus being sad and self-involved. Although it's hard to do when my skin is hurting and things are popping out...I feel like a freak! But I'm working on it. Hope this helps.

Oh - you asked what you do in the morning to help you get your head in a good place before you go out. I like to read Buddhism, especially anything by Yongey Mingyur. Buddhism recognises suffering and gives good ideas on how to cope and deal with it. Youngey Mingyur has the best translation to what the Buddha really said...in a way that is both scientific and spiritual. I also read the Psalms...lots of suffering there and how to cope. Plus I pray and meditate. I believe that there is a force (God) that all religious traditions say is there to help us in a very tangible way. I don't always remember to do this, especially when I am overwhelmed with feelings of self-loathing (because of how I think I look...) but when I do remember I find myself filled with peace and that also helps my skin to calm down. So whatever it is that is really happening...the body responds and there must be some kind of anti-inflammatory response!


Hi Paul --- I love how you are so honest and sharing about what has happened to you! I know that you speak for many people who would find it hard to put into words these uncomfortable experiences. What this says to me is that you have much to offer in the workplace! As someone who used to work in HR I'd say the best thing to do is to be honest. Just say that you went through a very difficult period of dealing with an inflammatory skin condition that required more medical care than you realized at first. That it affected your ability to do your job well but you have learned a lot about the condition and are now getting help for it. You may want to call it acne-rosacea since that generally garners more understanding than just calling it acne. I know that may be stretching the truth a bit to call it rosacea...but I am coming to the place where I truly think that in the future most if not all cases of resistant adult acne will fall under some type of rosacea...which is mostly an inflammatory disease that can manifest in acne-like blemishes. The problem is that if you had acne as a teen and just kept on having acne as an adult then you might think it is just acne. However if your acne inflames alot and your skin gets red from it then it may very well have a rosacea component. In years to come, I really believe that derms will begin to acknowledge this more!

Anyway I think that will help as you start applying for jobs again. And I totally agree about the coping mechanisms...I have a few myself. If they don't get in the way of work who cares what you do? And I think those of us with resistant acne who have suffered most of our lives have really gotten narrowed down to just our acne as something to obsess over...when in fact many people have lots of things they obsess over (weight, wrinkles, etc. etc.) and things they do to cope. We just forget that in the midst of our suffering!

#11 Rachelx7

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 09:02 PM

I agree that makeup helps. It doesn't have to cover completely, just a little toning down of discoloration is needed. Attitude goes a long way. There are unattractive people everywhere. Those that are obese find the courage to go to work everyday. You know? Skin imperfections aren't quite as noticeable to other people.. they aren't obsessed and don't focus on the acne like we do. Play up your good points. Forget about your imperfections. Avoid mirrors on bad days. Don't think about your skin because nobody else is.

#12 HapaMommy

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 11:20 PM

I had mild acne but I always wear make up. What worked best for me was using mineral make up. It covers and conceals enough without irritating my acne. It even improved my skin tone. ;)

#13 melissa6980

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Posted 22 February 2012 - 10:27 PM

Paul - Remember, you've got lots to offer a potential employer - creativity, photography skills, etc.

Nadal - I just want to hug you. You are very brave. I haven't called in sick either. When I have a flare up, I just tell myself I'm a very brave woman and that counts more than how I look. The self-loathing I've had has really affected me. I'd never judge anyone else for their weight or skin or whatever, if I actually noticed acne on someone else I definitely wouldn't care. And I know the self-loathing goes beyond just the acne, but it's one factor. You know how it is though, we're always harder on ourselves.

Edited by melissa6980, 13 December 2012 - 01:05 AM.


#14 ohmygod

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Posted 02 March 2012 - 07:17 PM

Cope with it? I couldn't, i got fired and have been unemployed ever since(4yrs) im 28 now.

I suffered bad anxiety, panic attacks and paranoia, along with major depression, i've had major depression since i was 16

I would rather be dead then go to work looking like this

Sorry if this isnt what you wanted to hear

#15 katiekins

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Posted 07 March 2012 - 06:31 PM

ahhhh the work/skin situation !! i could probably humour all of you with some of the crazy stories I have of my coping mechanisms at work and school. Working in a retail/customer service position was the worst, it is so hard to make conversation and be friendly with customers when your preoccupied thinking about your skin!!
A few things I would recommend, - 1) I know that this one is easier said than done, but to dress and do your hair as nice as you can so that you only have to worry about your skin. Sometimes when I have a bad flare up, I dont even feel motivated to change out of my pajamas, none the less curl my hair lol, but ive found that when i do do this, it helps ease the feeling of "hot mess" just a little. 2) personal mantras like, "I am beautiful" have never really done the trick for me haha so i switched my mantra to something along the lines of "People in my family dont give up. We are fighters. I refuse to feel hopeless because that would be losing. The rest of the world may be judging me, but if they knew how much effort and strength it takes for me to come to work like this, everybody would respect me."

#16 cvd

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Posted 07 March 2012 - 07:38 PM

Wow --- love your mantra! You have a great attitude. Think I'll use it too!

#17 tracy521

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Posted 08 March 2012 - 10:35 AM

ugh i have had way too many acne flareups and have had to go to work and it sucks so bad. i pretty much hide until my face clears up but the worst is when i have a meeting or something. i am convinved that everybody is staring at my face but in reality nobody notices it but me. i had my one co-worker tell me that she never has noticed a zit on my skin which i thought was hysterical but then again maybe after all these years i got really good at covering them up.
i once had a cold sore (i was having a lot of dental work done and kept getting them) and it popped during a meeting. ugh talk about embarrassing. i would much rather have a zit than a freaking cold sore. those are the worst and there is no way to cover those suckers up or at least i havent figured it out.
yesterday i decided that from now on at work i am going to skip the foundation and just put concealer on my zits and red marks with some powder and thats it. i am not going to bother with applying my foundation anymore because i dont see that many people on a daily basis and i am trying to stop using so many products on my skin. its like why do the same makeup routine for work that i would for going out? its just work ya know? i just need to be more confident and not care so much what other people think but its hard to do that.

Edited by Karen Howz, 08 March 2012 - 10:36 AM.


#18 cvd

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Posted 09 March 2012 - 10:49 AM

I only use Neutrogena Mineral Sheers Powder and it works wonders, especially using a bit more on red marks and blemishes. It is the most amazing stuff. Makes my skin look great even when I'm in a flare-up. Really covers the red. Makes it possible for me to feel more confident.