I know how you feel, like I really do. About a year ago I made the worst mistake I could have made, got on birth control. I never thought twice, so I took them, not being prepared for the breakout I was in for. I broke out everywhere. Before on BC, my skin was pretty clear, I had the odd pimple usually on my forehead, nothing that concerned me or stressed me out. This year I turned 21 and it has been by far the most depressing year of my life. Here in the states 21 is the legal drinking age, so I was finally able to go out with my friends, go bar hoping, the only thing was I didn't want to. All my friends had good skin, and my skin was freaking out, I was extremely embarrassed, self conscious. Not to mention my friends are gorgeous and I just felt I no longer measured up, which made me feel a lot worse about myself. I've never had severe acne, nor moderate, I guess you can say it more mild now. My dark spots and redness make it look a lot worse than it really is, but I'm still dealing with it and I hate it.
Lately however, I've tried not to be so hard on myself and tell myself that it will go away, things will get better, life goes on and instead of sulking, crying, and feeling unhappy, I try and focus on the good of my life. My family, friends, boyfriend, etc. Anytime I start freaking out about my face I immediately breathe in and breathe out and put happy thoughts in my head. Acne is a disease and you must not let it consume you. I'm slowly learning not to let acne control my life, almost learning to accept that my skin may not be perfect but it doesn't dictate my life or me as a person. I can still cover it with makeup, but like you said it's not always flawless like one may like. You can see tiny bumps or big bumps and the texture can be bad at times, but I just keep telling myself it WILL get better. It's the only thing I can do at this point, any other negative thoughts may be contributing to the acne.
I know this may not be much, but you're not alone. Everyone is fighting a different battle, and you're not the only person with these thoughts and feelings. I feel like talking about acne is so taboo, and it's hard to talk to someone about it because no one seems to understand the pain it can cause. I feel like my friends wouldn't understand, my family doesn't, I know i'm not fighting this battle alone but it sure seems like it. Talking about it and hearing what other people have to say helps because it re-assures me that I'm not the only one going through this, and re-assures me that I'm not crazy for thinking the things I think.
Like you, I analyze everyone. Their skin in particular and think, "why can't my skin look that good?" or "They don't know how lucky they are to have such nice skin." Because you really don't know what you have until it's gone. The best advice I can offer is try to be the most gentle with your face as you can. I think we all make the mistake of freaking out our skin because we're so desperate and so in a hurry to clear everything up. But we just end up making it worse. Patience and endurance is key, know you will make it out of this, acne is only acne, and while it can dictate our life, don't let it to a point where you completely stop living your life. For a while, I refused to go out, not because my acne looked sooo bad, but because I'd rather stay home and let it heal rather than pound on makeup and suffocate it. But I've let myself go out here and there, i've gotten as far as going out for a few hours. I haven't yet gotten to the point where I spend a whole weekend somewhere with friends, over night, it's a scary thing. But I know I will get there, I hate acne, I hate the way it dictates my mood of the day, I hate that it dictates if I go out that weekend or not. It's all I think about, and it's overtaking me, and I cannot let it!
Some things that have helped is listening to more music, music I enjoy, and once in a while joining my old friend mary jane for some one on one time, it relaxes me, and makes me realize there's so much things I should be grateful for, acne is just a phase, you just have to have hope. It took me a long time but I think I've slowly started finding peace within myself, which couldn't hurt but only benefit my skin.
I don't know exactly what you're looking for in this post, but take comfort that you're not alone. We're all fighting this battle and we will come out of this.
Thank you for the kind words. I guess in some way it does help to know other people out there are going through what I'm going through. I do have to admit I have some lovely friends who love me no matter what. I just think it's so hard to face strangers, when buying something from the store, walking down the street and making eye contact with a stranger or trying to speak to people in a job interview. But you're right, it is hard but when I make peace with it, I will truly feel better.
I'll be 20 soon and I can only think of maybe 2 or 3 months where I've had clear skin since I was about 12 or 13. And that was only when I took antibiotics. I haven't taken accutane though I agree with everything you said about makeup. I physically can't leave the house without having at least some foundation on. Only the family I live with can see me without makeup. In high school I avoided events where I'd have to stay the night at a friends place because I didn't want them to see me without makeup (and I can't leave it on - I wash it off as soon as I can) Lately we've had different tradies doing work around our house and I've been putting makeup on just in case I have to talk to them about something or be face to face with them. And I hate it. I really don't like wearing makeup and wish I didn't feel like I have to wear it. I sort of feel I'm doing everyone else a favour by wearing it because even though my skin still doesn't look good with makeup on, it's better than what it's like without it. I'm really pale skinned (and a little freckled also) and I find it really hard to find a foundation that's fair enough with good coverage. They're either good coverage and too dark or a good colour match and basically no coverage. Like you said, I can never get it to look good on my skin which is extremely frustrating to me.
Sorry for this being a sort of negatively themed response. But just know you're not alone in how you're feeling. I've been trying to focus on things other than my skin and remember that we're our own worst critics - other people probably don't see us as harshly as we view ourselves. Another thing that's really helped me is that I've stopped comparing myself to others. It's something I didn't even realise I was doing it but I was and it was severely impacting my image of myself and how I was feeling about myself. I've also been trying to keep a positive outlook on everything- and it's hard to do at times but all I can do is try...
Anyway - hang in there! Remember you're not alone in dealing with this or in feeling how you feel.
I hope things get better for all of us soon!
You sound so much like me! I'm fair skinned too, no oil free make up has ever been good for my face. They all turn orange after a while and just look terrible. A while back we had some tradesmen come to the house and I woke up before they arrived and applied my make up just in case they would see me in the house or need to speak with me. I couldn't bare the thought of someone judging *me*. If they judge my poor make up, at least they have this idea of "well, she may look more attractive without it". If I'm bare skinned, then I'm just plain ugly.
I also don't leave my make up on, that's the main reason I didn't spend nights at my friends' houses because I refuse to sleep with make up but I refuse to be seen without it. There are days when I feel ok, kind of like, "yeah I have acne, who cares? Fuck it." Then I have days like these, where I scroll through instagram and facebook and see my beautiful friends with their perfect skin, gorgeous make up applied to accentuate their beauty and I end up wallowing.
Maybe one day I'll be make up free or I will just accept how I look and feel better.
Hey, my theory so far is that acne doesn't have much to do with the outside of your skin, but more with internal inbalances of hormones and such.
Remember when you were a kid? You probably didn't wash your face and hands nearly as much as you do today, you could play outside and eat anything and NOTHING would happen to your skin.
All the companies tell us that it's because of sebum produced by hormones and bacteria and to clean our face with their "special" cleansers, but that makes no sense. When I was a kid I was dirty and playing in the dirt all the time, I probably had a lot more bacteria all over me than I do today, and I never had acne.
When you become a teenager though your body goes through a lot of changes and I think for some people like us acne facers we need to adapt to those changes with modifications in our regimen and lifestyle (for example, myself and a bunch of other guys all over the Internet and on these forums found out that stopping/reducing orgasms decreases our acne dramatically or even eliminates it, probably because of the testosterone hormone produced when we do).
ReyRey mentioned birth control affecting her acne. Once again, hormone affecting drug, not face bacteria, makes her to break out.
Sounds fucked up? Yeah it is, but it's true, and for a lot of different people there's unfortunately a lot of different unbalances which stick with them from teenage years to later life for whatever reason, just like some people go bald faster than others, lose eyesight faster than others, are born with heart conditions, liver conditions, etc. Is it unfair? I stopped thinking about it that way, since everyone has their burdens. Well, maybe not everyone, but at least I wasn't born with early baldness or required heart surgery by my 19th birthday, like one of my friends.
We live in a world filled with polution and radioactive fallout from dozens of nuclear tests and incidents and smokers and cars and whatnot. All that has an effect on our generation and our children, and we're all probably somewhat damaged by living in such a world, sometimes in ways that doctors don't even know about yet.
Try to find ways to heal yourself from the inside, through regimen, exercise and whatever else you can think that affects your acne. Try fasting for a few days and see if there's any results. Some people fast then add foods to their regimen one by one to see which one affects them or not.
I'm sorry to hear you have to use all those skin products, I've been there myself from my early high school days to early college, and they never helped me one bit. Only exterior medicine that truly helped was aloe vera gel extracted manually from the leaves and placed over acne scars to increase healing speed. It never really helped reduce acne though.
In conclusion, fuck people. If your good looking skin friends suddenly had a breakout of acne they'd suddenly understand what it's like. And you wouldn't judge them, because you would understand their predicament. In that alone, you're a better person than them, so pursue your dreams and aspirations while trying to control your acne from the inside and remember, not everyone out there judges you if you have acne. If it wasn't that, they'd judge you for something else, many people are just like that.
You're right, fuck people! If people I don't know judge me, then I'm glad I don't know them. As for my friends, they're understanding. They can't relate at all since none have any zits, not even minor ones but they know my journey and battle and try and build my self esteem by telling me I'm pretty despite the acne. Like I said to another poster, I do have days where I think, "yeah fuck it, who cares if I have acne?" and I think, "things could be worse, I could have cancer, I could have a serious disfigurement".
Maybe I'm just still too young. Too caught up in this disease. I do hope some day I just accept it and move on and I'll feel happier. Thanks for your words, you are right!