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Years of Misery

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This is my first post here. I am a male 37 years old and I have suffered from acne since I was in my mid teens and I am sad to say it has never really abated since. I am sure I am talking to lots of people here who understand the misery and depression that has caused me and the effect it has had on my quality of life. I feel that the best years of my life have been literally ruined by acne. I can't remember the amount of times I have missed out on being with friends, dating girls, attending functions etc because I couldn't face people looking at my acne and not at me. I have phoned in sick to work many times because I couldn't face people covered in acne. I have let people down when they needed me and felt selfish doing so but I have never been able to talk about my acne openly with anyone, so I always come up with some excuse and usually I get the impression people don't believe me.

Sometimes I have simply had no choice but to face the world with a face covered in acne due to commitments I could not get out of. Thats when you go out and you try to hide away in a corner and not talk to anyone. But when it comes to the opposite sex, those are the worst occasions. There are times when my acne clears up (windows I call them) and I go out and I meet a girl. We get on and then I start cancelling dates because the acne flares up. It seems to me that you wait all week for the weekend to go on a date and like clockwork when the time nears the acne starts to flare up again. The worry and stress of acne appearing seems to trigger the acne. I would never go out with a girl when I have acne, so I make excuses and it ends up with the girl thinking I am wasting her time and its over.

Now I have met another girl and I think she is great. The same thing is happening again. We have been on three dates and now I have let her down because my acne has flared up again and I simply could not face her or anyone else. It took a lot of effort to get her to forgive me for cancelling. She has agreed to go on another date and I am dreading the possibillity of either having to face her with acne or calling it off again. I felt terrible letting her down and even worse lying to her. If I call it off its finished, if I turn up with acne she will be totally turned off. Its a horrible vicious circle.

I recently had about 9 months of no acne on my face and I thought I was cured but in the last 3 months its come back for reasons I don't know. I keep trying to remember what I did then to be free of facial acne. My acne has got better over the years but it can still flare up badly and it has caused very little scarring, so I have been lucky in that respect. I have the doctor this week and I am going to tell him that I have had enough and its effecting my state of mind, which it is. I've tried many treatments with little success.

If I lose this latest girl I fear it will send me over the edge. Despite all my attempts to reassure her I am interested in her I feel she thinks I am pissing her around. I can't take much more. My idea of freedom would be to cross the front door any day I liked, not when my acne dictated, or to take my top off at the beach. It has always seemed trivial to me to complain about acne, after all so many people around the world have much worse problems than me. But now it really is starting to send me down a road where I am starting to think that I would better of not egaging in society at all, or maybe worse. Acne has been a life sentence for me and now i think I will never get my freedom from it. I have just lied through my teeth to a girl I think the world of and I know I'm going to lose her. What kind of life is that. I'm sick of it. I at least need to talk to people who understand.

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Coming from a girl's point of view I would just be really honest with her. That's the only part of your post I am addressing right now because it seems like the most urgent. If you believe you've found a great girl that you want to be with, don't let her go. Tell her you have skin issues and that you get nervous about letting other people see them. If I were her I would want you to tell me instead of wondering why you didn't want to be around me. Honestly, I think she would be relieved to know what is going on.

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What is your diet like? What do you use for skincare? Do you have any fungal problems (athletes foot, warts, cold sores etc), do you get sick often, depressed? I can give you some suggestions that can help you a lot based on your answers. If you eat a diet high in breads/carbs/refined sugars, this can have a huge effect on your acne. Also do you take any kind of probiotics (acidophilus, kefir etc?)

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Hey pluto, just wanted to say thanks for your post.

I'm 30 and can relate to EVERYTHING in your post. I find it very difficult to discuss my acne issues but I too am sick of having to deal with this day in day out, to make excuses for not going somewhere or meeting people, and calling in sick for work (I feel guilty). Recently, for about 6 months or so, I was relatively acne free and I'm still trying to work out how and why. Frustrating isn't the word, just when I think I can start getting on with my life, this awful condition returns. My lifestyle and diet changed very little in that time so it's hard to pin it on anything. I've been using topicals but you get to a point when you don't know if they're doing more harm than good. Argh!

I'm pleased you still have the confidence to approach and date women, you should hold on to that a enjoy the good bits when you can. Acne has left me a shell of the person I think I could have been. My self-esteem is very low as a result of acne and I avoid relationships because of the problems you describe.

Sorry a bit of a ramble really, just wanted you to know you're not alone in feeling like this. Try to keep your chin up and not let this beat you. Not easy I know :)



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I would talk to her about it, she will probably be relieved that you are not messing her about after all. and hey, although its had to believe when you have acne, acne is not uncommon, & most acne sufferers actually have better hygiene than non-sufferers, so she should not find you dirty in any way. As you are 37 I imagine your girlfriend is mature enough to 'get over' abit of acne! Its no different to suffering from excema or psoraisis. & would you be turned off by someone just because they had excema? i should hope not!

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