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hotburrito

Dealing With Acne And "automatic" Sexual Unattractiveness?

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First off, I'm sorry if this topic is a trigger for anybody. It's technically a trigger for me too, which is why I'm posting about it - in hopes of dragging the issue out into the open and beating this (probable) dead horse into the earth, I guess.

The more I think about it, the more I realize one of the things I'm having the biggest trouble dealing with with regards to my acne is my "automatic" sexual unattractiveness to the opposite (I'm heterosexual) sex. Of course I'm quite miserable about feeling unattractive in general, but I think I have the hardest time coming to terms with the fact that I'll suddenly no longer be... desirable. I realize that tastes differ and that not everybody is all that shallow, but... I don't know. Before this whole acne thing happened, I guess I was a shallow person with shallow friends, and I guess (in retrospect) I based a significant portion of my self-worth on my physical appearance. I don't think I ever realized how much exactly (being a bit of a narcissist, I was always pretty fond of my brains and personality too); in fact, I always thought I was smarter/more interesting than I was necessarily "pretty" - but I used to very easily just go through life trading off on all the privileges that come along with being a cute young female. I used to take it for granted that if a guy ever rejected me, it would be because I wasn't his type, not because he'd ever be embarrassed to be seen with a girl like me on his arm... I used to always assume that every time I walked into a bar, at least one gentleman would offer to buy me a drink (this assumption was proved true over and over again, in my defense), and et cetera.

The thing is, even though I was arguably shallow and vain, I don't think my shallowness/vanity were necessarily... unjustified? I say that not because I think that I was particularly pretty before (I was all right), but because I think that the concept that beauty is social currency is one that runs quite deeply in our image-obsessed society. When you're a pretty girl, people smile at you a lot, open doors for you, let you into parties you weren't on the guest list for, and are generally just nicer and more accommodating to you... and after a while you start developing this sense of entitlement, like of course this guy who claims that he likes you is supposed to drop everything to come to your rescue even though you've barely made any sacrifices for him, and et cetera.

I realize that I sound like a giant bitch right now. I'm painting a rather clumsy picture here because I'm trying to stay on topic rather than launch into personal defense after personal defense trying to justify my previous thoughts/actions/whatever. The thing is though, I was basically a moderately pretty (pretty enough to know I was pretty, but not pretty enough to escape feeling insecure about every flaw, of which - even without the acne - I have many that I (used to) go to very great lengths to hide) for the first twenty years of my life, and then I became "ugly" virtually overnight. I hate that deep down I really am the kind of girl who needs affirmation of a (cute) guy's desire in order to validate her own self-esteem. Please tell me I'm not the only one. I'm supposed to be educated, for god's sake.

Edited by hotburrito

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I can relate to what you are saying

My acne has not only made me lose a lot of my self confidence, but also trust in others.

When I get any attention or a compliment from anyone (ESPECIALLY males), I am very questioning and untrusting.

I feel like, how can anyone be attracted to me with all of this acne on my face?

Now I don't know your logistics; how bad your acne is, what type of acne you have, how long you've had it for, etc...

But I am on accutane now. I am in my early twenties, have severe acne, nodules/pustules/cysts, and have had it for almost 10 years.

I will be on Accutane for at least 6 months.

I plan to use this time to not only improve my skin but improve myself, too!

I don't plan on dating anyone; rather work to get myself up to my greatest potential- physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually...

Are you currently doing anything for your acne?

While I don't recommend Accutane for everyone (in fact I think it is OVER prescribed) I do recommend doing something about it!

Topicals are a good place to start. Have you met with a derm yet?

Also, just try to keep in your mind that if it weren't your acne it'd be something else you were over analyzing about yourself.

I am excited to clear my acne, yes, but I do realize that once I do I will probably go right back to obsessing over my thighs in the gym ;-)

Good luck!

Edited by danipaskor

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I don't think I've ever thought of myself as being attractive in any way shape or form, or that anyone could find me physically attractive. It was mainly down to the timing of my acne. It started before I'd ever really noticed girls and things that, as soon a I turned 13, so I've never really been able to figure that stuff out and express it.

I didn't respond to it well in those teenage years. I just cut myself off and girls were totally out of the question. The one dating experience I did have around 15 was a total disaster. My skin was at its worst at that point and the girl responded by telling me my skin was horrible and that I was indeed ugly because of my acne. The truth of it is that I could clear my acne and be a nice person either way, but she'll always be narrow-minded and nasty, I'd rather have acne and be a nice person than think of myself as being attractive yet have a horrible personality. I know that now, but I didn't at the time because I already had the thought in my mind that I was ugly and that it was as a direct result of the acne, so the girl saying what she did was like confirmation of that "fact" for me. Even thought that happened about 11 years ago, I've still not been able to get around that fear that every girl will be that way so I've shied away from putting myself in any kind of situation, almost as protection. It's silly, I know. The problem is, the longer that goes, the harder it is to break and the harder it is to catch up and stop feeling so left behind.

What interests me is that people seem to fall into this trap of thinking about "before" and "after"; what they felt they looked like before acne and how they believe people saw them, compared to with acne. To me, when looking at others, it does not make a difference at all. The one thing acne has given me is the ability to see far beyond it in others. If I like that person, be they male or female, a potential friend or girlfriend, that's what matters. The task at hand is to recognise that people could thing the same of me and that my skin doesn't have to come into it. I mean, I know I have so much more to offer but it's always hidden away because the acne created a fear of expressing those qualities I have. I guess we all have to get to that point when looking at ourselves and considering how we feel about ourselves.

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I completely understand, hotburrito (love the name, by the way)! I don't think that you're vain or bitchy at all, particularly because you're so self-reflective about it. I just think that you enjoyed feeling good about yourself and now are struggling to deal with how to do that in a new way (I'm dealing with the same issue). I find that since I've developed acne, I work out less (because I don't want to go to the gym without make up on or go for a run in my neighbourhood where I might run into neighbours and have to chat without make up on), but after I do exercise, I feel much better. My endorphins are high and I'm happy, I feel good about my body, and it's probably better for the skin as well. Maybe try doing more of that?

Also, I don't know that a cute guy's desire is enough to aid the low self-esteem that comes with acne. I'm married to a fantastic guy who regularly tells me that I'm beautiful and I still feel like crap about my skin. Just like you, I worry about losing the social benefits I've enjoyed as a "pretty girl" for my whole life and I feel much less confident in social situations now. To be honest though, the confidence is probably a huge part of it. Confidence makes everyone seem more attractive. For instance, do you still put yourself out there to be chatted up by guys in the same way that you did pre-acne or do you shy away from those situations a bit more because you're feeling down on yourself?

Aside from changing our thinking about our acne and our attractiveness, I think it also helps to wear clothing that makes you feel good, do up your eyes, lips, or hair more so that they catch the attention when people look at your face, and I know this one is cheesy, but I think that EVERYONE looks way more attractive when they smile. I find myself looking at myself in the mirror and feeling sorry for myself a lot lately, but the best I look (I think) is when I'm smiling and I look happy, like myself, and like I'm someone who just happens to have acne and it's not the end of the world. Just a thought.

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Brasswill is right... Do what you can to make yourself smile. When my acne was the worst I got so down on myself that I kinda let myself go. It's hard to look at someone in a romantic way if they clearly don't care about themselves and are extremely depressed.

Treat yourself sometimes. Get a manicure, or give yourself one.. Do your hair fancy.. Use nice lotion that makes you feel soft and feminine.. Dress in a way that gives you confidence in yourself (as opposed to makes you feel insecure). The best thing you can do is keep your chin up and smile.

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Danipaskor, I've been to exactly five different doctors (including one Chinese skin specialist) and one dermatologist. I am on accutane right now (my derma took one look at me and prescribed it right away) and really, REALLY hoping that my skin will go back to normal after two months. Even given that though, I still have a LOT of hyperpigmentation to worry about, so I expect it will be a very long time before I look like my old self again... if I ever do, that is :( Thank you, though! I'm sorry to hear that you've had acne for so long and hope that this round of accutane clears you for good. But ha ha, yeah. On the bright side, obsessing over accutane has stopped me from obsessing over my weight, which I'm sure I'll go RIGHT back to once (if ever) my face goes back to normal. Appreciate the insight/advice :) It really does suck that so many women feel such an obligation to be attractive, as though we would be somehow "worthless" if we weren't :(

Paul, I'm really sorry to hear that you feel that way about yourself, and have basically done so your entire life. You look fine to me from what I can tell from your avatar, for the record! I'm also so, so sorry that that girl said that to you - I'm sure that she probably feels terrible about it whenver she reflects upon the incident in retrospect. Middle school kids can often be the cruellest, and if somebody said anything like that to me growing up I think that I would probably be scarred for life. But you're not the person you were back then and people generally get less shallow as they get older, so I hope that you're able to come out of your shell soon when it comes to dating and the like. (Granted, all of this probably sounds hypocritical coming from me, given my present state of mind, but still.)

The thing for me is, the before and after really IS huge. People keep asking me what happened to my face; I made eye contact with an old high school acquaintance at a coffee shop the other day and she didn't even recognize me (I've seen her in the past and she always very enthusiastically said hi). Of course, that's... not really what you're talking about, but still, ugh. It's really hard to feel like the same person when you just look like a complete stranger, I guess. But I like that you have such an open mind about whom to love; I think that's a rare but really valuable trait. I really wish I could be similarily not shallow - maybe in time.

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Ha ha, thanks Brasswill! I like my name too. I would really like to work out more, but a) my depression is just making me sad and tired all the time, and b) the accutane is causing some joint pain, so I'm wary about putting more pressure on my body.

I'm both glad to hear that you have a loving husband and sad to hear that his desire for you doesn't really help. Tbh, I can't even CONCEIVE of a guy liking me any more after this, so I guess that's where the validation would come in for me. I would normally agree that confidence is a big asset to attractiveness, but to put it really... dramatically, Medusa smiling would probably be terrifying. I think that if my acne weren't so bad, I would be apt to agree with you, but because it's terrible to this degree it just automatically precludes me doing anything (makeup, smiling, confidence) to try to appear less ugly. I could always try just dressing up at home with a mask on though... I swear I'm not trying to be cheeky with that. I'm actually serious (yes, this has become my life now). Thank you for your advice!

Coco, thank you for replying as well! I like your avatar a lot. I've been trying just to numb my emotions by doing different things, like watching funny TV shows or whatever in order to distract me, but... ugh, I don't know. See, the problem I have is that trying to look nice has become a sort of trigger for me - I can't look at all my makeup without wanting to cry because I remember how nice it used to look on me, and I can't even pick up a bottle of nail polish without feeling really sad because all I can think about is how polished nails won't be able to distract anybody from the disaster that is my face.

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first off, you dont sound like a bitch, being able to admit that you're vain (or were vain) is a very mature trait. You can reflect on things that are actually important and see where you need to make adjustments in your life to be truly happy :) Vanity is present in everyone (except me, im modest, and smart, almost birlliant, maybe a genius even!!:D), and if everyone was able to able to look past a person's appearance and see them for their entire personality, then the world would be so much better off. Im sorry you're feeling down, but you shouldnt let something like acne hold you back from the world, the best advice i ever got was to 'let my inner beauty shine,' i was popular before my acne, im told im hilarious and im generally a very supportive person. The thing is, i was still all of that even when my acne was at its worst, i just didnt realize it, and yeah when i had finally had enough of being a hermit, acne or not i went back out, and i realized how much time i had wasted. No one I wanted to be with even cared that i had acne! Everyone was just happy i was myself again, and now im back to being a positive person, with acne! Yes, ive had some bad experiences with jerks and jerkettes whove made comments about my face, but those people make up a VERY small part of my life, and thinking about how good i have it overall is more than enough for me to get over acne and just live my life!

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That was interesting to hear it from a female's perspective.

I definitely feel less attractive when I have acne. It's hard for me to be the same confident outgoing guy, when in the back of my mind, I'm thinking stupid thoughts like, is she looking at my acne? I better sit on this side of her, so she only sees the better side of my face... am i even a sexworthy guy with acne?

Ya, I guess I'm just venting too. We do come from a society where vanity is important.

I try to focus on the things that I can control... like going to the gym so I have a great body, or being the life of the party... and then just let the chips fall where they may.

:)

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It really does suck that so many women feel such an obligation to be attractive, as though we would be somehow "worthless" if we weren't sad.png

The thing is, the term "attractive" is incredibly broad. these things aren't black and white. The girl I mentioned in my last post was, to me at the time, very attractive on a physical level. But when she responded to me in the way she did, and I came to find out that she simply wasn't a nice person, the truly ugly side of her personality cancelled out anything about her appearance which I liked. In the end, it's about a balance between the two, although I do believe that the persons character and their love for you is far more important than looks. Even if you only fancied them just a little to begin with, that would be enough, because those other positive attributes would amplify their attractiveness overall. I genuinely believe that.

Paul, I'm really sorry to hear that you feel that way about yourself, and have basically done so your entire life. You look fine to me from what I can tell from your avatar, for the record! I'm also so, so sorry that that girl said that to you - I'm sure that she probably feels terrible about it whenver she reflects upon the incident in retrospect. Middle school kids can often be the cruellest, and if somebody said anything like that to me growing up I think that I would probably be scarred for life. But you're not the person you were back then and people generally get less shallow as they get older, so I hope that you're able to come out of your shell soon when it comes to dating and the like. (Granted, all of this probably sounds hypocritical coming from me, given my present state of mind, but still.)

Thank you. It's certainly stayed with me all this time. I don't really know how to described how I feel about the fact I haven't found the strength to actually move on from that and no let it be an influence, 11 years later. Seems it was enough to make me think at the time, 'If this is what it's like and this is what happens, I won't bother in future'. Nobody has proved me wrong since, so that mind-set stays in place. Then again, it's kind of a vicious cycle because I haven't put myself forward in order for anyone to even have the chance to prove me wrong, so that negative thought process carries on, going around and around and keeping that negative behaviour towards it all firmly in place. Such is my lack of confidence and self esteem, it only took one person out of goodness knows how many millions to mess with my perception of myself and how I believe others may see me.

It's not hypocritical at all so don't worry about that. I can tell you that for sure because most of the advice I give here is basically to do the opposite of what I've done for the last 13 years with acne. The only way we learn how to get it right sometimes is by doing things wrong to begin with. It's then just a matter of having the courage to try it again, and again if needed, until we succeed.

The thing for me is, the before and after really IS huge. People keep asking me what happened to my face; I made eye contact with an old high school acquaintance at a coffee shop the other day and she didn't even recognize me (I've seen her in the past and she always very enthusiastically said hi). Of course, that's... not really what you're talking about, but still, ugh. It's really hard to feel like the same person when you just look like a complete stranger, I guess. But I like that you have such an open mind about whom to love; I think that's a rare but really valuable trait. I really wish I could be similarily not shallow - maybe in time.

When it comes down to it, there could have been any number of reasons that girl responded the way she did. It's only your own frame of mind which leads you to conclude straight away that is was due to your skin. That's because your skin is where your focus is and where perhaps a resulting lack of confidence is rooted. I've done the same; maybe if someone looks at me funny or I think someone is staring or whatever, there could any number of reasons for it - assuming I'm not just imagining it - but I would automatically jump to the conclusion that it's about my skin. That in itself does us no favours because we end up unintentionally drawing more attention to that one thing we'd rather keep as low-key as possible.

Maybe you already have those traits I mentioned within you, but perhaps your skin problems are just too much of a focus for you right now. These things take time. The whole process of dealing and clearing acne can be a slow game of trial and error, taking a lot of patience. It's draining and tiresome, and the emotional effects can stay even longer. I found that to be the case earlier this year when I had a clear period which lasted a couple of months. During that time, my skin was great but all the emotional stuff, the thoughts and behaviours, the insecurities and my dislike of myself all still remained. That clear period did at least teach me that those things are a separate issue now. I'm glad I learned that because now I'm getting help for those things while I continue clearing up my skin at the same time and basically try to get my life on track so I can start to live it and enjoy it for pretty much the first time ever. The point is, no matter how long the journey lasts, there's no reason why we can't get to where we want to be, as long as we keep trying.

If I may be so bold as to comment on what you said about depression. That's something I'm getting professional help with at the moment and I came to realise that there was a direct link between my mood, my lack of energy and my lack of desire to exercise. My mood was low because I didn't have any energy; I didn't have any energy because I'd stopped doing things and was totally run down; and I'd stopped doing things because my mood was low. It's another negative cycle which goes around and around. The moment you do something to break that - get into a routine, do a bit of exercise, take part in a hobby you perhaps enjoyed prior to depression - you start to turn it into a positive cycle. That's pretty much where I'm at, trying to turn the negative mentality into a positive one.

Although I haven't done Accutane myself and can only base this on the Accutane logs I read on these boards, people have said that light exercise just to keep their body moving and stopping it from stiffening up can go a long way towards easing Accutane-triggered joint pain. Just a thought, might be worth trying to stay active and keep your strength up. As long as you don't push yourself and cause yourself additional pain, it may be beneficial.

Anyway, keep battling on and I certainly wish you the very best of luck with the Accutane. :)

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Thanks for your reply, Colostumus! There are definitely times when I almost feel like my old self again (usually when I'm with family), but then every time I look in the mirror that feeling goes away again. Maybe you're right and maybe I need to get out of the mindset that just because I have acne, I'm no longer myself anymore. I think I lived for such a long time believing that my clear skin was just an integral part of who I was that I now have a hard time figuring out who to be without it. I mean, one change - albeit a pretty shocking one - shouldn't be enough to render twenty-odd years of building a particular identity completely irrelevant, right?

Rbamf, thank you for responding as well. It's interesting to hear it from a male perspective to be honest, because most of the guys I know in real life either a) don't talk about their feelings, or b) talk about their feelings but don't have acne-related problems. To be honest, I have a very hard time looking anybody in the eye for longer than a few seconds at a time anymore because I just can't stand being looked at (the details of this newfound anxiety are kind of embarrassing, actually). In a weird way, I actually wish I knew more people with acne in real life so that I could feel less grotesque in comparison to anybody with clear skin, as awful as that sounds :(

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Hey Paul, thanks once again for replying with such detailed and thoughtful comments. I really appreciate it :)

1. I realize that beauty is technically subjective, but I've always had a hard time finding that to be empirically true on any really meaningful level. While there are obvious variations in what people find beautiful, the vast majority (within a given societal context that is, since perception of beauty is so often codified by sociopoliticoeconomic considerations) agree on what constitutes as attractive versus unattractive, especially when it comes to persons at opposite ends of the spectrum. While it's also true that beauty are drawn to inner beauty as well as outer beauty, I think that the former type of pull is usually non-romantic/sexual. That is, we all can acknowledge Mother Teresa's inner beauty, but most of us (even if she were willing/able to break her vows) would not want to enter a romantic/sexual relationship with her.

Having said that, I also agree that those who seem to display a decent amount of inner beauty become more superficially beautiful to us as well - but I guess my problem (to put it bluntly) is that I can't even fathom the idea of anybody finding beauty anymore in me at all... that is, that no amount of "kindness" or "intelligence" or whatever would be sufficient to redeem my looks.

2. Paul, you really seem like a fantastic guy. I hope you find a girl who manages to erase that previous experience for you - I'm confident that there will be :) You're still young, after all - there's plenty of time! I'm not only saying this because I think you're a very nice person either - you look pretty good (if perhaps a little melancholy :P) to me in your avatar photo. I know plenty of girls who would consider you just their type. The nice thing about romantic/sexual love is that you only have to get it right once, after all.

At any rate, I appreciate you coming over here to give us advice about what to do based on your own past mishaps. You do sound like you've learned a hell of a lot.

3. Oh, I do realize that there could be many other explanations for her reaction. I just wanted to use it as an example that I really DO look vastly different: anybody who sees me now after not having seen me for a while looks almost comically shocked at the sight of me. I mean, nobody is outright mean (most of them just try to ask me what the hell happened because I've never looked like this before) or anything, but I know just from looking at myself that the difference is immense. The old me usually put on makeup, wore fashionable clothes, and fixed her hair. The new me won't touch makeup (I'm afraid it'll make my acne even worse and I want to recover ASAP), wears the dowdiest outfits ever because she just wants people to look right past her, and is scared of using hair products because she's wary of all the oils/chemicals that might trigger her acne even more.

I would also definitely agree that my skin is way too big a focus for me right now - I wish I knew how to stop freaking out about it (I'm currently trying to find a counsellor but the center isn't getting back to me, ugh). I also do realize that just because my skin clears up doesn't mean I'll magically go back to "normal" in all the other relevant areas of my life either: that's precisely another thing that I'm scared of, never getting my old self help... hence the trying-to-find-a-counsellor deal. That is, I'm terrified of both physical *and* emotional scars. I do think that perhaps one of the reasons I'm this torn up about my acne is because I have self-image issues - among probable others - that I've been trying (very badly) to fix for a very long time now.

You're probably right about the exercise! I think I'll try to add on a little more every week. Right now I do around two to three hours of yoga and walk back and forth to work (forty minutes a day four times a week), but that's about as much as I can manage. Eventually I want to go back to doing cardio and playing badminton/volleyball like I used to. I actually like physical activity but the sudden joint pain is definitely a (literal!) pain.

Again, thanks for responding, and thank you for your well-wishes. Out of curiosity, can I ask why you haven't tried accutane? You said you've had acne for a long time and it seems like most long-term sufferers have been desperate enough to resort to accutane at some point or another, so I can't help but wonder. Is it because of the potential side effects?

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For what it's worth, I reckon you're wrong about not being able to "redeem your looks". Based on the way you write, I can tell you're smart and that you're able to be open about your feelings. If I can tell that just from text on a screen, I reckon it says a lot about the strength of character of the person behind the posts.

 

Oh, and those girls you mentioned... if I'd be their type, point me in their direction, please! :lol:

 

As far as Accutane is concerned, I have tried to get it twice before but was refused.  I don't know whereabouts you are, but it seems that in some parts of England, it's not so easy to get Accutane. In Sheffield where I live, the dermatologists have set criteria for prescribing. To my mind, the length of time a person has had acne and any detrimental influence it has had on their life should be taken into account, but here, it isn't. If it were, I would have been given Accutane in a heartbeat; my anxieties and insecurities because of my acne cost me all my friendships and even my job before I finally had the courage - perhaps out of desperation - to seek help in the form of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. 

The dermatologists in Sheffield - both private and as part of the free health service - require referrals from a doctor. The dermatologists will only prescribe it to severe cases of cystic acne that have not responded to other treatment.  I tried to get Accutane again last month and my doctor said that because I did not fit the criteria, no doctor here would write a referral.  By definition, my skin has responded to antibiotics over the years. Granted, the acne came back stronger after each course, but there will have been instances of improvement. So the only alternative, medically speaking, is to try other antibiotics. 

I'm now taking a strong dose of Doxycycline and it's working well. The doctor said I could pretty much stay on it until the acne goes away, whenever that may be, but I can't help but wonder if I'll ever be totally clear because it's already lasted so long. Because my confidence and self esteem and shot to pieces, nothing short of perfect skin would help me like myself physically. Because that's not realistic, I know that I really have to give the therapy my best so that I can learn to like myself as I am and change my way of thinking.

I've managed over the last few weeks to change how I was thinking after being refused Accutane. I was feeling hard done by, when in fact, I should be grateful that there's a chance my skin will respond well to Doxy and that I have nowhere near the severe cystic acne my doctor described. I do have things to be thankful for, even if my skin's not as I'd like. It's all about perspective and finding the positives.

Plus, I've learned so much over the last few years with regards to how I view people and to try not to judge. I know I'm far more understanding and empathetic than I ever would have been if I hadn't suffered with acne.

 

Here's hoping you can find a counsellor who understands where you're coming from and can help you work it out. All credit to you, you can be proud for recognising the need for change and for wanting to seek that support.  

I've been doing one-to-one sessions for a couple of months and I'm hoping to start group therapy next month. I'm kind of looking forward to the group stuff, I'm intrigued to see if they take more of a practical approach to overcoming insecurities and social anxieties, etc.. I certainly do need that extra push to be able to put the things I've learned so far into practice, as I don't really have anyone around me to help me out. Fingers crossed.

I will say that to begin with, it can seem like a hell of a lot to take in because there's a period of realisation where X-amount of whatever issues you've struggled to deal with or mismanaged alone are laid out in front of you and it seems difficult to know where to begin. But, it honestly falls into place quite quickly once a starting point is chosen and they can then help work out a plan in relation to whatever you may be hoping to achieve.

 

:)

Edited by PaulH85

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^Thank you Paul! I wish more people thought like you.

Ha ha, if any of the girls I know ever tell me they're planning to visit Sheffield, England, I will send them right your way :)

For the record, I'm in Canada, so we need referrals from doctors to see dermas as well. Luckily, mine put me on accutane the first day she saw me given a) the severity of my acne and b) the fact that I'm very prone to scarring/hyperpigmentation so she wants to get rid of my acne fast. Ugh, I'm sorry you were blocked at both turns with regards to the accutane requests... here's hoping the third time is a charm. If you have a record of experiencing even worse acne after each course of antibiotics, you'd think that your derma would be rushing to prescribe you accutane. Though I suppose that if you were to mention the depression, your derma might be less likely to prescribe you accutane... so good luck.

I remember you talking about CBT in a previous conversation. I'm impressed that you have such a positive attitude about it! Tbh, I often wonder if liking yourself physically is a necessary condition for happiness, because it seems almost impossible (except in very dire/unique circumstances) to be able to enjoy like if you dislike the way you look. I wish I could say something a little wiser about that, but obviously, I have no wisdom of my own to dispense on the topic... :P

Group therapy sounds really interesting. As you pointed out, the very concept sort of forces you to open up to near-strangers in a very deep way. I really hope it goes well for you :)

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Ugh. Just reading this title of this thread really touched on what bothers me most about my acne. OP, I think you're brave, not bitchy, for admitting what everyone here already knows. Ten years ago, I felt like THAT girl - people opened doors for me, customers flirted with me at work, people smiled at me, I always had a hot boyfriend (or two), I loved to go out. Now, at 28 years old, I have trouble making eye contact with the cashier when I buy my groceries. I have a wonderful, supportive fiancee who thinks I am beautiful, but I still feel like a monster. My acne definitely affects my sex life negatively - kissing hurts the painful zits by my mouth; I just don't feel 'sexy' like I used to. I just want to feel comfortable in my body again.

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^Thank you, Meanwhile, and I'm really sorry to hear that you feel this way too. I am glad that your fiancee is so lovely, and hope that you can get back to feeling like your old sexy self again. Sometimes I am genuinely afraid that even after the acne clears, any potential boyfriends will just look at the scars on my face and run the other way.

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They won't! I think that's the most frustrating part, my fiancee doesn't even notice my acne and I am still letting it ruin my life. I'm sure your future boyfriends won't notice either, guys are dumb! :P Thanks for starting this thread, this message board is freakin' awesome. I feel so much better just getting the chance to vent to people who understand what it's like. hotburrito, go out and have fun. Don't let acne stop you from doing whatever the hell you want.

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^Yes, but sadly also shallow... :( (Well, a lot of them, at least. Most of the ones I know :P)

I like this forum for the same reason you do: a place to share the misery, ha ha. But it's really nice because I no longer feel as crazy for being so torn up about all this.

Don't let acne stop you from doing whatever the hell you want.

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I still believe that we live in a shallow society, and looks come before the personality. Especially when it comes to relationships, guys are VERY superficial. Some girls are superficial too,tho, so I guess it's pretty much the same for both sexes. Back in high school when I was acne free I felt pretty and attractive, many guys has asked me out, but when acne hit me I forgot what does pretty and confident mean.When my acne was on its worst I hated myself. And people started treating me as a monster. Well.I've never been the most popular or the prettiest,but I got some attention during my 15's-17's. Then I realized how shallow our society is. It's the reality. Society hates fat,spotty, too tall or too short people as well. But it's not fair. I've never been shallow, I've never judged someone by their look, I've always looked deeper.

Acne makes me feel sexually unattractive and even sick. I noticed that whatever I wear, how ever I fix my hair, I still look nasty with the spotty face. I'd love to take a magic eraser and erase all of those spots and scars. Old photos are the only proof, that sometime I had a normal, healthy looking skin,without nasty inflamed cysts and redness. I hate people who comments about my acne, it doesn't matter whether it's something positive( like ur skin got much better or ur scars are fading away) or something negative. It's always annoying. Or when someone tries to "help" with unneccessary advices, such as do this, eat that in order to get prettier, and get a boyfriend! THANKS for yelling obvious things!!! So yeah, that's my personal hell. I kinda got used to it,tho. Sometimes I just ignore that, but not completely, at the end of the day I eventually think about those remarks, they just don't leave me alone.

Acne ruins not just my self-esteem, personal life, but also my social life. It's getting harder to communicate to people in my college or making new contacts. Especoally with guys, because I am SOO self-conscious about my skin, that I just want to disappear when some guy stands too close to me or asks me something. I scare them away not just by my ugly looking skin, but also by my shyness and insecurity.

I hope someday this nightmare will end, and I could live a normal happy life, like I used to. But I guess the psychological trauma will stay for a while.

Sometimes I think about that how would my life change if I finally get clear skin. Then I realize that my life might not change in so many ways, I mean YES, I will get more confident and social, but being acne free doesn't mean being completely happy in my opinion. We all tend to blame on acne for our depression and insecurities or other problems, but in real acne is not the only thing that bothers us I guess. At least in my life. Not everyone who got clear skin is sexually attractive, I've seen very good looking people with acne, and they are still hotter than clear skined ones, who haven't got their look. Yes, skin is the first thing that is noticeable at first,but I guess mild to moderate acne cannot make someone ugly, if they are not.

Edited by amy91

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I think it goes both ways, in terms of how the opposite sex can be perceived. Some guys might not be so inclined to instantly show an understand and caring side, so what you'd get instead might be someone who, in the first instance, appears shallow and superficial.

It can be the same with girls. My experience is that they can be pretty harsh in that regard, especially if they're in a group. The only experience I have of this taught me that guy walks up and the girl doesn't find him attractive, she'll let him know in no uncertain terms and make sure all her friends hear, so that she keeps her place in the group and so they don't see this "ugly" guys interest in her as a reflection on her appearance.

The problem in both cases is that we end up basing our thoughts and future actions on the bad experiences. If we happened to have had a bad experience, it's just one amongst many potentially good experiences, but we have to be willing to take the chance in order to at least give ourselves a shot at cancelling out and replacing that negative experience. Not that I'm one to give advice on that, given that I've been influenced by the same single negative experience for a long time now, but then that's how I know what I'm saying is correct.

There's no reason why you wouldn't be able to find plenty of guys who would be interested and you'd be able to take your pick. I can only really speak for myself but there are countless things I find attractive about girls which would cancel out something like acne; it could range from their hair colour to the way they move; from their smile to the way they dress; the list goes on and on. I bet plenty of us are like that you know. By the same token, I bet a lot if guys would be bowled over if a girl made an approach. I know I would. Just that one moment of confidence - faked if necessary - would be enough to do the trick. I really don't think we're that hard to catch. ;)

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First off, I'm sorry if this topic is a trigger for anybody. It's technically a trigger for me too, which is why I'm posting about it - in hopes of dragging the issue out into the open and beating this (probable) dead horse into the earth, I guess.

The more I think about it, the more I realize one of the things I'm having the biggest trouble dealing with with regards to my acne is my "automatic" sexual unattractiveness to the opposite (I'm heterosexual) sex. Of course I'm quite miserable about feeling unattractive in general, but I think I have the hardest time coming to terms with the fact that I'll suddenly no longer be... desirable. I realize that tastes differ and that not everybody is all that shallow, but... I don't know. Before this whole acne thing happened, I guess I was a shallow person with shallow friends, and I guess (in retrospect) I based a significant portion of my self-worth on my physical appearance. I don't think I ever realized how much exactly (being a bit of a narcissist, I was always pretty fond of my brains and personality too); in fact, I always thought I was smarter/more interesting than I was necessarily "pretty" - but I used to very easily just go through life trading off on all the privileges that come along with being a cute young female. I used to take it for granted that if a guy ever rejected me, it would be because I wasn't his type, not because he'd ever be embarrassed to be seen with a girl like me on his arm... I used to always assume that every time I walked into a bar, at least one gentleman would offer to buy me a drink (this assumption was proved true over and over again, in my defense), and et cetera.

The thing is, even though I was arguably shallow and vain, I don't think my shallowness/vanity were necessarily... unjustified? I say that not because I think that I was particularly pretty before (I was all right), but because I think that the concept that beauty is social currency is one that runs quite deeply in our image-obsessed society. When you're a pretty girl, people smile at you a lot, open doors for you, let you into parties you weren't on the guest list for, and are generally just nicer and more accommodating to you... and after a while you start developing this sense of entitlement, like of course this guy who claims that he likes you is supposed to drop everything to come to your rescue even though you've barely made any sacrifices for him, and et cetera.

I realize that I sound like a giant bitch right now. I'm painting a rather clumsy picture here because I'm trying to stay on topic rather than launch into personal defense after personal defense trying to justify my previous thoughts/actions/whatever. The thing is though, I was basically a moderately pretty (pretty enough to know I was pretty, but not pretty enough to escape feeling insecure about every flaw, of which - even without the acne - I have many that I (used to) go to very great lengths to hide) for the first twenty years of my life, and then I became "ugly" virtually overnight. I hate that deep down I really am the kind of girl who needs affirmation of a (cute) guy's desire in order to validate her own self-esteem. Please tell me I'm not the only one. I'm supposed to be educated, for god's sake.

Oh, you're SO on the money. Many people like to run around this issue.

Oh hell, I'd love to be one of those girls where things came easier because I'm sooooo good looking. If you can't beam em', join em', right? Hell it'd be easier. Speaking for society for what it is--disregarding morals and what's good or bad--we all know looks matter. It's hard to ignore.

I think the only difference I have with this is the sense of entitlement. Yes, I agree people feel entitled to beauty and the perks when they are born beautiful. Your identity of self even is associated with beauty; meaning, if you lose beauty, your sense of self is not only changed, but degraded. However, when you're born "unattractive," it's much easier to realize beauty is no one's right. Personally, I don't feel I have a right to be beautiful--but, I do have the right to the pursuit of happiness, and it is up to me to find that through my own means. This is where you can take control back, and realize that beauty is not within your right, your control, and so it's high time you identify the self with traits and aspirations so much more worthwhile.

Overall, completely agree with what you said.

Cheers. :)

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Amy, I do the looking-at-old-photos-and-feeling-sorry-for-myself routine too sad.png I look at pictures of myself from just over the summer (when my skin was still clear) and it's like looking at an entirely different person almost. It makes me sad to realize that my skin will never look that way again, even after the acne fades, because I'll have years of scarring and dark/red marks to look forward to.

Acne ruins not just my self-esteem, personal life, but also my social life. It's getting harder to communicate to people in my college or making new contacts. Especoally with guys, because I am SOO self-conscious about my skin, that I just want to disappear when some guy stands too close to me or asks me something. I scare them away not just by my ugly looking skin, but also by my shyness and insecurity.
Edited by hotburrito

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Amy, I do the looking-at-old-photos-and-feeling-sorry-for-myself routine too sad.png I look at pictures of myself from just over the summer (when my skin was still clear) and it's like looking at an entirely different person almost. It makes me sad to realize that my skin will never look that way again, even after the acne fades, because I'll have years of scarring and dark/red marks to look forward to.

Acne ruins not just my self-esteem, personal life, but also my social life. It's getting harder to communicate to people in my college or making new contacts. Especoally with guys, because I am SOO self-conscious about my skin, that I just want to disappear when some guy stands too close to me or asks me something. I scare them away not just by my ugly looking skin, but also by my shyness and insecurity.

Ugh, I get this way around people in general, though I'm not worse around guys than I am girls... I think I'm better, actually. In a weird way I think girls are more judgmental about your looks if you're another girl, whereas with guys it's either would they f*ck you or not (as terrible as that sounds). Given that I already know that I'm unf*ckable, it sort of just helps me relax around them - I know I won't have to worry about stuff like any of them suddenly developing feelings for me, whereas stuff like that was always more of a possibility in the past. Of course, I spend more time around guys than girls to begin with, so maybe that's just a personal thing. Or maybe I am reading you wrong and you are talking about forging romantic relationships to begin with, in which case I'm completely stumped.

Oh, you're SO on the money. Many people like to run around this issue.

Heh, I think the only reason I am "on the money" is because all of this is very new to me and I haven't internalized the "taboos" of the acne community yet...

Your identity of self even is associated with beauty; meaning, if you lose beauty, your sense of self is not only changed, but degraded.

Yes. I feel like such a huge tool for just admitting it, but this is so very true sad.png I've been pretty shocked about how much my personality has changed these past two months and what a terrible depression I've sunk into. In the end I know I've got my vanity to blame for this, but sometimes it's so hard to let go of your vanity because - however terrible it sounds - a sizeable chunk of my self-esteem was always based on it. You really don't realize the privileges that you've had until you actually lose them, I think.

Also, I COMPLETELY agree that beauty is nobody's right nor obligation. And you're absolutely right: I should probably try my best to be happy anyway regardless of this sudden onset of "ugliness" because I am lucky enough to live in a country that does grant me that right to happiness' pursuit. Thank you for replying with your advice - it was really helpful smile.png

Lol, sorry--I'm not one to give advice. I was just kind of, typing while thinking. I'm glad you liked it. You're far more honest than most people about this issue. Even I never talk about it, and I want it!

Soon enough, you'll look back on this time and realize how it changed you for the better. I promise you that. :)

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Lol, sorry--I'm not one to give advice. I was just kind of, typing while thinking. I'm glad you liked it. You're far more honest than most people about this issue. Even I never talk about it, and I want it!

Soon enough, you'll look back on this time and realize how it changed you for the better. I promise you that. smile.png

Strangely, I think I'm a little too emotionally honest at times. It's like I can never stop digging my claws into one insecurity or another... kind of like picking at my (metaphorical, of course) scabs over and over agaih, ha.

Thank you. I'm really looking forward to it, for both me and you :)

Excuse me, Hotburitto, are u a guy or girl?

Girl. I just act kinda manly sometimes...

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