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gul

how socially unacceptable is acne in the U.S?

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Hi,

I come from a different culture where having acne does not factor in your

presentability. You may not win a beauty contest but having acne should have no effect

on your professional life. So, back home I never felt I had anything wrong, I did not even try hard to treat my acne. It certainly made no difference in my life.

However, I have been living in the U.S. for many years now.

I have come to realize that physical attractiveness (not necessarily sexual, but usually so)

is an important part of one's presentability here. Besides, I have been reading articles on

how people with acne has a problem in finding jobs or payed less, etc.

I compare myself to foreigners in the US from my culture( but without acne). I feel like I am discriminated due to how my skin looks. People in the US are less eager to be friends with me than other people from my country with whom I share the same accent, same features, same atitude, etc. Since I grew up outside the US, all the arguments for low self-esteem(due to acne) affecting one's interaction with the society does not apply to me. I have had no self-esteem problems due to acne before. Yet, I always notice people's reluctance at the first meetings. I have to be agressive to introduce myself and keep up a lively conversation to go beyond the skin depth looks. Most of the time it works, but it is very exhausting. Sometimes, I think I look to some people acting like someone more popular and interesting than my looks permit me to be:); with this skin, I am supposed to have a low self-esteem. I cannot help, but

I am happy with who I am.

I am writing because I like to hear more if anyone met any discrimination due to acne in her/his professional life.

I am a scientist, and unfortunately my fellow scientists are the least cordial people on the earth. They cannot help showing their feelings quite openly, they haven't had enough time to learn social skills to disguise feelings properly due to extensive lab/research hours : (.

(This is not necessarily a bad thing but sometimes it is.)

I have become very self-aware about my skin and I am not sure if this changes my self-esteem now. I also find that western Europeans (again scientists) are similarly sensitive to people with acne where as people from underdeveloped/developing countries (latin americans, middle easterners) display not such sensitivity. For instance, few months ago, BBC had an online test used in an experiment to determine how the feeling of "disgust" changes from one

culture to another. It contained sets of images, each set had similar images with a change in

one aspect. One set had the "skin" factor, where a person had more and more acne on his face at each image and the worst image was also red and bloody. (The subjects were asked how disgusting they found the images in a mixed order.) I was very suprised that the

researchers in England thought of "skin condition" as a disgust factor and wanted to test

their subjects on it. Unfortunately, I do not know the results. The BBC article on the results did not mention the skin condition images.

It is important for me to hear form you to know whether I am alone or not. Usually, people talk about acne affecting their date life. But, I am married for 12 years and I have not had it as a concern so far. My concern about my skin usually starts when I go to a meeting full of peers.

Best,

Gul

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I think it's great you don't let people affect you with comments on your skin, although I know it's still hard. Of course people in the US and other countries put high emphasis on beauty and it seems like your a step ahead in the world if you have a pretty face but you have a high self esteem and more people should be like you who are strong internally. I hope you don't let people's nastiness get to you in the long run, there are worse things that can happen than acne! a lot of times people dont mean to stare , its just there when they talk to you face to face. but the only kind of people that would look down on you are the ones with the bigger self esteem issues.

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It sounds like your a strong minded person. Which is great. So if i were you, just keep trying to feel like you did before you moved to the US. I'm in Queensland Australia, and i can honestly say, no-one has ever mentioned my skin in a negative way in all the years i've had it greet me every morning. It could be just where you live now, and if you moved to another part of the US, i may go back to being unimportant to others!

But never let other peoples stupid comments and beliefs about skin problems change you, or make you feel unwelcome.

Good Luck

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Thanks for your support.

I would like to add that I have an average self-esteem. I might have sounded

like having a high self-esteem while trying to make my point.

I was trying to get at the fact that there is a real discrimination, I am not making it up and it is not connected to the self-esteem issue.

While reading other postings at this site, I realized that people from developed countries could also see this as a personal hygene issue.

In a country where people take showers every day(and foreigners get used to it very quickly and willingly), oily skin with acne may look dirty. Hmmm.... But, that is so wrong.

Gul

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Down with the US and its social behavour.

lol

...especialy the whole business of law suits being thrown about over the smallest shitty thing, ie Jacksons partialy covered up nipple...

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No, but in America, being visually perfect is the ultimate goal, whether people realise it or not, of many. Everywhere you go there's pictures of women with perfect bodies, perfect clothes, teeth, hair, smile, breasts, legs, hips, thighs, ass. It's in your newspapers. It's on your television. It's on the billboard as you walk down the street.

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No, but in America, being visually perfect is the ultimate goal, whether people realise it or not, of many.  Everywhere you go there's pictures of women with perfect bodies, perfect clothes, teeth, hair, smile, breasts, legs, hips, thighs, ass.  It's in your newspapers.  It's on your television.  It's on the billboard as you walk down the street.
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Right, but in Europe or Australia they have ugly models in magazines and movies and TV.

Suuure....

Sorry pal, it's not an American thing. It's a human thing.

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Actually, I'm refering to westernized/industrialized cultures; you'll notice in less westernized cultures like Japan, Hong Kong/China, and India (though this is rapidly changing, thanks to the advance in technology

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I really did not want to put down the western culture when I started this discussion. I only wanted to point out a behavior I had observed to see if any one shared a similar experience. I think having acne is a problem for a person in any culture, what differs is the the degree that it effects one's life.

Gul

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This is a very interesting thread.

I'm a Brit living and working in the Middle East.I also travel a lot.

In my experience, all cultures are obsessed with looks to some degree.And people definitely respond better to you if you are good looking.

What I have noticed though is that in some countries it's perfectly acceptable to comment openly on another person's physical imperfections e.g in the Middle East. I've lived in Saudi, Syria, Egypt and Qatar. I think it's a cultural thing because I haven't experienced this in Europe. My husband is Arab BTW so please don't think i have anything against Arabs.

I went to the US recently and it was interesting to see that most of the population is pretty average looking. I was surprised as I thought that Americans were obsessed with looks.

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A person' reaction to acne is going to depend on the individual, this is a biological/human/animal/DNA thing not a cultural issue. If there are different cultural reactions their influence is negligible next to the individual's response.

To everyone who thinks the reason you're freaked out about acne is the non-stop barrage of media images of beautiful flawless-skin people why don't you just turn off the TV, don't go to movies, and throw out your mags & your problem will be solved without a single trip to the doc. Guess what? You won't feel any damn different. biggrin.gif

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gul, Thank you for your post. I am also female and have experienced everthing that you describe in the work place. Unfortunately I don't have a good self esteem like you do so I find it even more difficult to be warm, friendly and out going to these people that look down their nose at me.

I have worked in health care most of my career and have found doctors, who you'd think would be caring and compassionate, to be the worst at treating me like pond scum. Trying to make people accept me is so exhausting for me that I am close to quitting.

So the answer is yes, American's are obsessed not only with how they look but also with how others look and treat others accordingly. I don't need a study to prove it, I live it every day of my life.

It's why they call it America the Beautiful.

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True, western societies are truelly evil guess thats why people eventually get mad and wanna blow them up.

I have acne and I know that chinese, indian african people I feel very comfortable with I just have this feeling of there socially developed unjudging ways, you can SENSE IT, as soon as your next to an american or australian, I feel socially anxious, and I allways know when someone is having evil thoughts.

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Bullshit!

Im from developing country, Indonesia,

I'll be very gratefull if I can find acne sufferer community in my country where people can blame to fuckin acne.

The problem is lack of internet access in the developing country and lack of technology life style in the majority of people make them look silence. Internet is the important thing, as you aware acne sufferer tend not discuss their pain directly to people since they have low selfesteem.

And I believe America is a better place for acne sufferer where you can find Accutane. I can not find accutane here, and trying to find at black market :-$

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The reason acne is socially unacceptable is because thats the way the companies want it. Advertising makes you afraid of a certain outcome , then it tells you how to avoid this by using their products. This a multi billion dollar industry, they want you to be pissing your pants everyday to get rid of your acne and most people are as a result. Thats why this is a western problem. Perhaps people in other area sin the world are concerned about issues like eating and having a roof over their head, or enough money to cloth themselves, how VAIN!

In my view, if someone is not handsome or pretty, i can tell, whether they have acne or not. If someone can do a job, they get hired, acne isn`t an issue, its just been hyped that way to get yet more money to the lotion manufactureres who produce crap that doesn`t work.

I really do believe this has been blown out of all proportion. No one is perfect, and the people who think they are have usually spent money on plastic surgery and look ridiculous anyway. As was said before we are all human, well most of us, and basing your whole life on trying to attain an ideal that doesn`t exist is pathetic and time consuming. You may as well not bother doing anything ... the reason i am obsessd with my zits is becauser they hurt, yes i would love to have clear skin but i`m not going to lose sleep over it anymore... Id rather have acne than be f*ck ugly!

people will treat you differently if you are unconfident and have ur head down all the time. I fyou are a confident person, whether you have one eye or no arms or legs you`ll get respect... as long as ur not a jerk with it.

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I'm a firm believer that Acne is less socially acceptable in America. Of course, in Europe, and other countries, some people might find it nearly as acceptable. But here in America, we have California. I live here, and, although, when I had acne it was very mild and nobody cared, it was a little hard, since the media is filled to the brink with perfect skinned people, models, actors and just a hella lot of cute girls walking around. I think it's the image that is made desirable by the media, that catches on with the general public.

In China, and countries like that - as far as I've heard, acne is less taboo. (Which of course, it's not at all, nobody should give a shit)

Only important thing is, you are the one who lets acne affect you. You've got control over how you will react. Cheer up, ignore it but continue treatment.

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