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Dealing With The Emotional Side Effects Of Having Bad Skin #acne



Dealing with the emotional side effects of having bad skin

This time last year I couldn't look my Dad in the eye, my skin was the worst it had ever been and my confidence rapidly shattered. I couldn't bare the pain of waking up each and every morning, walking into the bathroom, not turning the light on, looking into the mirror and having to look at my acne-ridden skin. Some days were better than others, some days there would be no new heads and like most days I would see a cluster of new pustules. For months I had hope that this new cream or tablet that the doctor had given me would make me back to "normal", that's all I wanted; to fit in.

With acne, you wear the condition on your face, the first thing that people see is your face. What do people see? They see clusters, lumps, bumps, cysts, pigmentation, scars, redness, they see an unhappy face and a young boy looking down with no backbone to face the world. What do they think? Oh he's just a teenager with acne, believe me it's worse than that.

As human beings we thrive to connect with people, to be accepted and be part of a group. Having acne makes you feel excluded. The amount of parties, sleepovers, walks with my family, days out, chances to meet new people and photos that I missed out on in the time I had acne was dreadful. I remember looking around constantly scanning people's skin with my eyes to see if they had a single blemish, that way I could somehow connect with them; I then wouldn't feel left alone.

Small story

Many people don't understand what it's truly like to have a bad skin condition, it changed my life. People would comment "Have you ran out of cream" or "Your skin looks bad"- that was the worse thing I ever heard. I remember the day I came back from Christmas break of 2012, my skin developed a much adverse type of acne; Severe cystic acne, covering almost 95% of my face. Starting at my chin, either side clustered with sizeable lumps, then receding across both cheeks, progressing up my temples and then to the forehead (Which was like a mountain). It was painful, not only emotionally but physically and I couldn't bare to squeeze them...who doesn't?

So I was sat there in my room, on my bed, legs crossed. It was the day before school, looking at my self in the mirror and dreading going into school. I felt incurable, a failure and unwanted. In a desperate reach for hope, I grabbed my over-sized tube of benzyl peroxide(BP) 10% (Any acne sufferer will have encountered BP before), exhausting the bottle of its contents. I felt like a drug addict, it had to work. It was like starting all of your revision the night before an exam; it never really works that well. I applied the cream to my face, I spent over 10 minutes massaging the thick, unpleasant paste into my skin. Slowly the BP began to dry, it was a mask and I hated the agonising pain; it made me feel stuck, it became tighter and tighter. At this point I couldn't break a smile, I couldn't even move my eyes without the mask feeling discomforting. I slowly fell asleep, not knowing what to expect.

*Buzz buzz buzz* my alarm was screaming at me to wake up, I switched it off. I didn't feel tired, my skin was moistureless. I felt my skin, still I could feel the lumps...everywhere. There was no hope. I entered the bathroom, looked into the mirror; I felt like breaking down, my skin had erupted. White heads and red lumps masked my face. Running parallel to my nose was a colony of spots, they aligned perfectly with the shape of my nose, it was awful. I squeezed my nostril and out like cheese the puss oozed from my skin. Then I had to do the same with my chin, cheeks, sideburns, temples, forehead, it was a strenuous task to do every day and night. I then cleaned my skin and applied a moisturiser, at that point I stopped wearing BP to school as it was too uncomfortable and made me look unreal.

I clothed my self, styled my hair and headed down stairs for breakfast. I made my eggs and dipping toast(My favorite) then sat with my head down. My step Dad said to me "What are you doing today?" (He does every morning) and I would sit staring at my egg, avoiding any possible eye contact and reply with "I don't know". All I wanted was for someone to not make a comment about my skin, so I made minimal conversation and eye contact. I continued with my eggs, sat there at the table scared and felt like crying. My mum spoke to me, I responded with minimality. She knew there was something wrong. I had that feeling that you get before crying, then I felt the cold tears began, my face shrivelled, my hand met my forehead. I had been so strong for so long, I kept it inside "I can't do this anymore"I said. My mum hugged me and we moved to the living room to sit on the more comfier sofa.

"I can't do it anymore mum, I can't put up with it" I cried for a long time, it was the first time since my uncle Phill had died that I had cried. It felt good to cry, it released my true feelings and was an opener to my mum. She gave me some advice and I pushed on, she gave me a lift to school. "Have you lost your spot cream Will?", "Your skin looks bad", "You had it bad a year ago, it got better and now it's really bad, what happend?". The repeated comments really got to me, I am a sensitive person as such. I did what most people would do as a first reaction; hide. I wouldn't walk in the corridors, too many people, I would spend most of my lunch walking about on my own and pretending I had something to hand in or had to see someone. I had changed completely, before i'd spend my lunch time chatting to my friends, making jokes, feeling a sense of happiness and a sense of part.

The people around me changed; there was a prejudice towards me, I was an outsider to the world.

Anyway, comment if you think I should continue this story, as it's pointless writing anymore if people don't like this set up in my blog; some people prefer simple structure, but I felt that I had to express my emotions and hopefully this bit of text put your through my feelings. Please comment what you would like me to write about next. Thank you, William.


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Wow, first let me start off by saying what beautiful writing this was.

Second, i know what you're going through, but it's slightly worse because my parents sort of blame me for my acne, so I have little support from them. I remember one time over the summer my face was BAD and I kept popping and making, leaving scars and craters. i barely went out and stayed in my room all day. The saddest day of my acne life has got to be when I realized it had spread not only to my back, chest, and neck, but also my LEGS, for pete's sake.

i've only tried Benzoyl peroxide myslef, and since that's not working for you, I don't know what else to suggest. I think you should try seeing a dermatologist again, maybe a different one, or try a different topical cleanser, or try changing your diet, see if that helps.

Good luck!

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This made me want to cry because I know how you feel. I've had acne since 9th grade (I'm now 22) and guys in school would make fun of me to my face. All though my face is not quite as bad as it was then, I still have crazy self-esteem issues because of my acne. I will not leave the house without makeup because I would probably break down and cry if people saw how bad it was without it. People without acne have no idea what kind of an emotional toll we acne sufferers have to go through.

I enjoyed the way you wrote this and your experience. It helps me to remember that I am not alone in this fight. I'm also glad that your parents were supportive for you. It always helps to have people around that you can talk to about these kind of things.

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Hey thanks guys, your comments are really touching. It's good to know there are people out there that actually understand and feel real sympathy for acne-sufferers. Anyway i'm clear and happy now, i'm pretty happy.

Have a good day guys, I think I will post another story tonight over on my blog, but I will post it here too.

Thanks, William x

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Yes continue all the way to your success!! I literally saw myself in your story! Very touching. Plz continue..... :D

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I signed up for this site when I saw your post, how have you been holding up since last year? I could really relate to the distress and social anxiety.

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I made an account because I had to comment on this. Thank you for writing this blog post, I have never read anything so relatable. I have had acne since I was 8 years old, and it has left me with scars and bumps all over my face. I have cystic acne on my back as well. I can't look at myself in the mirror. I have also covered my face with BP in hopes that it would do something, and squeeze the pus out of my pimples in an attempt to make myself look more presentable. I recently had a breakdown in front of my mom as well, and I couldn't  stop crying, but it felt good to let all of my feelings out. I just want to tell you that  you are not alone, I feel and live your struggle. Thank you so much for making me feel like I'm not alone.

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You express all of my feelings exactly. I used to have light acne 3 years ago and i learned to live with this. But now my acne is really bad. I wake up every morning and the first thing that i am doing is to look at the mirror. I got a new treatment but my feelings are the worst. I am not getting out of my house because i am ashamed of my skin. And its very difficult especially now that is summer(in my country). I hope to get better soon for all of you.

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I really don't know what to say. I saw this on the internet and made an account because I absolutely HAD to make a comment. 

My skin isn't as bad as what you described, but I can certainly relate to how you feel (or felt, this post was made in 2013 XD). Being so young when I first got pimples, for so long I've felt different, unnatural, disgusting. The worst comment I've received so far has probably been: 'Why do you have so many blackheads? Have you even tried to get them out? You know picking them out doesn't count as trying.'

Your story brought tears to my eyes because I can relate to so much of what you said. You wear the disease on your face, so that's the first thing people see of you, the first thing you see of you when you get up in the morning. I always go to bed hoping my skin will look better the next day, and when it doesn't, it's like a slap to the face.

But I've heard of this thing called Roaccutane. It's a strong dose of vitamin A which dries out your oil glands, giving your acne nothing to work with so it basically disappears. I'm thinking of trying it myself, as nothing else seems to be working. But it has some side effects. If you're still having skin problems now, and you haven't already heard about Roaccutane, maybe you could look into this and talk to your doctor about it. I've heard amazing results, with acne completely clearing after just a few months.

I wish you all the best with your skin, and if it hasn't cleared up already, I hope it does soon because nobody deserves what you've gone through.

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