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OllieJR

19 Year Old Male Getting Things Off His Chest (Pictures Included)

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Hi, my names Ollie and I'm from England. This is my first post on here (although I have been a long time browser) so please be friendly!

I woke up this morning and had one of those reflective moments while looking in the mirror where I just felt thoroughly miserable about the condition of my skin. I have been suffering with acne for about 5 years now and it just isn't getting better, in fact I think it is getting worse. I would say my skin is moderate/severe although it has alternated between all three stages since I started getting it. At the moment though, it is pretty bad and I would say borderline moderate/severe but then again, I don't really know how to classify it.

I'm so fed up of having to deal with this problem, I mean I actually feel physically tired. It plays a part in everything I do and has ruined so many days of my life over the last few years. For example, the other week I went to a gig with my best mate to watch one of my favourite bands, the Arctic Monkeys. That should have been one of the better days of my life, yet I found myself spending 75% of the day worrying about the I looked, wondering how a day out in the sun drinking would affect my acne and comparing my skin to my mate who like most other people I know, has perfect or near perfect skin. Heck, I can't even go to get a haircut without worrying about seeing my skin close up in the mirror.

I find myself having everything and nothing in life. I have nice friends, I have a comfortable life, I'm at university etc etc yet it all seems utterly worthless when you have acne. I know it is the wrong way to look at it and that I should be grateful for what I have but when you are constantly reminded every time you see a reflection of yourself of how ugly you look and your self esteem completely shattered, it's incredibly difficult. I've lost pretty much all my hope that better days are coming, 5 years of this crap has taken its toll on me and it has changed me horribly as a person. I feel like without acne, I would be a better person, I'd be less moody, more helpful etc and I want to be those things so badly; I try so hard to be a good person yet I feel like it is all thrown back in my face when I see utterly nasty people with flawless skin.

I have only ever talked about my skin to my mum and dad and that is only when they bring it up and point out my spots. I know they are only trying to help but when they start dishing out useless advice and blaming me for the way my skin is, it's hard to take. Harder still when you know it isn't genetics because I am the only one in the family that has ever suffered, with my sister, mum and dad all having great skin. None of them know my true thoughts on the matter, and what acne has really done to me physically and psychologically. I don't think they would understand even if I told them because you really have had to of gone through it to know what it does to you.

It is only recently, I have been able to come to terms with how ugly I am. I suffered a severe breakout a month ago and more or less shut myself away from the world and refused to get anywhere near a mirror but recently I've decided that there is no point living in denial and that I may as well look at myself close up (after all it is there whether I choose to acknowledge it or not) which brings me to the point of hopelessness I feel, now that I have realised the extent of my problem and all the red marks, scars and active spots which dominate my face. I know it's pathetic but as well as my usual anger, I cried this morning, it's all just gotten too much recently and it's getting more and more difficult to deal with.

I wouldn't wish this disease on anyone, not even those that have teased me about my problem in the past. It's horrible and scary how something which isn't life threatening can come over you and completely change the way you live your life whether you try to forget about it or not. Even if by some luck my acne disappeared tomorrow, I would still be left with a year of waiting for red marks to fade, permanently left with scarring and psychologically I would have the knowledge that 5 years of my life have been wasted and that it will take me years to regain any confidence in my looks. It really isn't fair.

Thanks if you took the time to read this, I really appreciate it. There isn't really a point to this post and I'm sure you have heard it all before a million times over but I guess I just want to know that I am not alone *sigh*.

Edited by OllieJR
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It's almost scary how much you remind me of myself when it comes to your mindset.

I feel your pain, but in the end there's not much we can do about it other than wash our faces/eat healthy/take our acne meds. Here's something that may help and you even said it yourself: "I have nice friends.". It's a sign that people like you, regardless of your acne.

Btw you're not ugly at all, nice haircut also :)

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You are definitely not alone Im sure everyone with acne has felt like you do at some point and you've come to the right place to vent your frustration as we all feel your pain. What treatment are you currently using?

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Hi Ollie,

First I want to say that I think your brave for sharing your story. It's something that I still struggle a lot with. Just wanted to let you that you're not alone in this. You're skin is relatively clear compared to mine and you don't have any scars.

I know that feeling about worrying wherever you go. It's the ultimate hindrance. People don't talk about how much it hold's you back from being yourself fully. It's so hard having to look in the mirror and accept it. Only people like us really truly understand the feeling.

I think the most frustrating part is when people give "advice", I know it's with good intention, but they don't understand how diligent we are with our skin. Again, I know it may seem you are alone when everyone you see has beautiful, flawless skin. But remember the world is pretty big, you aren't alone in this.

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It's almost scary how much you remind me of myself when it comes to your mindset.

I feel your pain, but in the end there's not much we can do about it other than wash our faces/eat healthy/take our acne meds. Here's something that may help and you even said it yourself: "I have nice friends.". It's a sign that people like you, regardless of your acne.

Btw you're not ugly at all, nice haircut also :)

I appreciate your comments. I guess it's nice to know that there are a lot of good people in the world who can look beyond your flaws and be a good friend to you regardless of acne :).

Thanks for the compliment as well, it's funny you should mention my hair because that's honestly the only thing I think I like about my appearance!

Acne really is a kick in the balls :(.

You are definitely not alone Im sure everyone with acne has felt like you do at some point and you've come to the right place to vent your frustration as we all feel your pain. What treatment are you currently using?

I was messing around with various creams (prescribed and over the counter) and herbal remedies/home remedies as well as seeing what effect diet/shaving/washing etc etc had on it but I went to the doctor today and I have begun a course of antibiotics. In fairness, I haven't tried as many things as I really should have at this stage so I live in hope (feeling a bit more positive today).

I might come back to this thread in a month and update on any changes so I can keep a mini log of how things are changing emotionally and physically.

Thanks for your reply.

Edited by OllieJR
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I remember being 19/20 and suffering all the same anxieties and fears. I even used to avoid going to the hairdressers for as long as possible as I didn't want to go out, let alone stare at myself in a mirror. I almost started crying at a gig I went to as I looked in the mirror in the toilets and couldn't believe how bad my skin was.

I felt as though I was trapped in a nightmare and couldn't actually believe it was real that I was going through this hell. Things will get better though. For me, I had to spend a few years experimenting with different prescriptions until I found something that worked. When the fog finally lifts, you'll rediscover just how good life can be.

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I remember being 19/20 and suffering all the same anxieties and fears. I even used to avoid going to the hairdressers for as long as possible as I didn't want to go out, let alone stare at myself in a mirror. I almost started crying at a gig I went to as I looked in the mirror in the toilets and couldn't believe how bad my skin was.

I felt as though I was trapped in a nightmare and couldn't actually believe it was real that I was going through this hell. Things will get better though. For me, I had to spend a few years experimenting with different prescriptions until I found something that worked. When the fog finally lifts, you'll rediscover just how good life can be.

Very true that. It's funny how quickly things can change, my skin is looking a bit better today (admittedly the pictures are from when I had just got out the shower and my skin was irritated). My skin has been mental this last two months from moderate to mild to severe to dry to soft. Can't put my finger on what's doing what but I shall keep a log of how it changes.

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Hi Ollie,

First I want to say that I think your brave for sharing your story. It's something that I still struggle a lot with. Just wanted to let you that you're not alone in this. You're skin is relatively clear compared to mine and you don't have any scars.

I know that feeling about worrying wherever you go. It's the ultimate hindrance. People don't talk about how much it hold's you back from being yourself fully. It's so hard having to look in the mirror and accept it. Only people like us really truly understand the feeling.

I think the most frustrating part is when people give "advice", I know it's with good intention, but they don't understand how diligent we are with our skin. Again, I know it may seem you are alone when everyone you see has beautiful, flawless skin. But remember the world is pretty big, you aren't alone in this.

Hello, cheers for choosing to spend your first post commenting on my thread! I wish you well in trying to find the answer to your skin problems.

Just to let you know that I do have a few small scars (though that isn't my complaint to be honest, I could deal with it and the ones I have well they aren't too noticeable).

I'd say what you see in the pictures is a split of 50/50 red marks and active pimples. It's so annoying when you have red marks because it just looks like spots to most people and so even when you're completely clear, theoretically people will still think you have it and you know you have to wait months for them to fade. I even have one on my cheek which has been there for about a year now!

I am also currently suffering moderately on my back and very mildly on my chest.

Edited by OllieJR
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So glad that people are seeking this site to vent their frustrations. I hope everyone here knows that they are way more than what their skin looks like!!

I get really depressed at times over my skin, so I know how you feel. It hurts when people assume things about you when your skin is often out of your control. My skin has held me back in so many ways, and now I am really trying to change that. It is easier said than done to forget about your skin in social situations, but I try to remember that people who I am around will probably be kind and I am my own worst critic. Most people will not notice my skin as closely as I do.

I still hope we can all find solutions to our acne, but until then, know that you are an awesome person to your friends and family no matter how you look!

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Thank you for this post, sir. I can relate to you 100%.

I am 20 years old and I have suffered from acne since junior high (grade 7). My acne comes and goes - but ultimately it has left me scarred both physically and emotionally. My social life has evolved around acne, because I've always been ashamed of my skin and I would often decline invitations from my friends simply of the fact that I do not want them to see me with my horrible skin, even though I'm fully aware that they know what I look like already. I'm constantly reminded by family members of my 'worsening skin condition' and while they say things like, "You should probably sleep more...", "Eat less fatty foods...", "drink less milk," and so on, it literally becomes an annoyance. The annoyance because they do not know what I'm going through and the feeling of being reminded of my acne which is already clearly evident. Also, their good intentions of 'help' really offers nothing, but more of a feeling that they are blaming my own personal choices as that directly responsible for my acne (which it is not!).

Taking a look at my incredibly low self-esteem, it's pretty evident how my life has been focused on hiding;

- Avoiding looking at mirrors. Often, leaving the lights off so I can't stare.

- Not giving eye contact with others in discussion...

- Avoiding going out with friends

- Avoiding the sun light as it only highlights imperfections

- Using many hand gestures in a vain attempt to hide my acne

- Avoiding any kind of photos, especially with flash.

- and the list can go on and on...

Even though I've honestly tried my best to live with my condition, accepting the harsh reality and to lift my spirits...

I still find myself being reminded vividly in my mind, as I had struggled to look at myself on the mirror, the one thing that caught me more than the physical representation of acne itself...

was how I was unable to keep a smile on my face.

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Thank you for this post, sir. I can relate to you 100%.

I am 20 years old and I have suffered from acne since junior high (grade 7). My acne comes and goes - but ultimately it has left me scarred both physically and emotionally. My social life has evolved around acne, because I've always been ashamed of my skin and I would often decline invitations from my friends simply of the fact that I do not want them to see me with my horrible skin, even though I'm fully aware that they know what I look like already. I'm constantly reminded by family members of my 'worsening skin condition' and while they say things like, "You should probably sleep more...", "Eat less fatty foods...", "drink less milk," and so on, it literally becomes an annoyance. The annoyance because they do not know what I'm going through and the feeling of being reminded of my acne which is already clearly evident. Also, their good intentions of 'help' really offers nothing, but more of a feeling that they are blaming my own personal choices as that directly responsible for my acne (which it is not!).

Taking a look at my incredibly low self-esteem, it's pretty evident how my life has been focused on hiding;

- Avoiding looking at mirrors. Often, leaving the lights off so I can't stare.

- Not giving eye contact with others in discussion...

- Avoiding going out with friends

- Avoiding the sun light as it only highlights imperfections

- Using many hand gestures in a vain attempt to hide my acne

- Avoiding any kind of photos, especially with flash.

- and the list can go on and on...

Even though I've honestly tried my best to live with my condition, accepting the harsh reality and to lift my spirits...

I still find myself being reminded vividly in my mind, as I had struggled to look at myself on the mirror, the one thing that caught me more than the physical representation of acne itself...

was how I was unable to keep a smile on my face.

Thanks for adding an extension to my post, I feel all the same things you listed, in truth I could probably write a 50 page essay on how this condition has affected my life so it is nice when other people post things I agree with so I can instead save words and just say...

THIS.

Edited by OllieJR
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I'm pleased to say that a week on from starting the antibiotics, things have improved a decent amount, didn't think they'd begin working so quickly but thankfully they have.

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I'm pleased to say that a week on from starting the antibiotics, things have improved a decent amount, didn't think they'd begin working so quickly but thankfully they have.

I'm happy for you :)

I hope that it keeps working for you, because some people can get resistant to the antibiotics :S

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I'm pleased to say that a week on from starting the antibiotics, things have improved a decent amount, didn't think they'd begin working so quickly but thankfully they have.

I'm happy for you :)I hope that it keeps working for you, because some people can get resistant to the antibiotics :S

Yeah that's my worry. I shouldn't have spoken too soon, I went out last night and woken up to a new spot while the other ones are still taking their time to go. Depressing

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I completely understand your feeling. I myself have been going through the same. Some days are good when i feel stupid about mourning over acne and other days are just me accepting my situation is hopeless, all the other days in the middle are the ones where i have turned myself into a robot and shut down all my feeling.Just doing what is needs to be done to carry on my life mechanically.

My recent hobby of writing helps me get through difficult days. I hope things get better for you, cause they will, i am sure.

Btw, you don,t even look so bad.

Anyways, best of luck.

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I completely understand your feeling. I myself have been going through the same. Some days are good when i feel stupid about mourning over acne and other days are just me accepting my situation is hopeless, all the other days in the middle are the ones where i have turned myself into a robot and shut down all my feeling.Just doing what is needs to be done to carry on my life mechanically.

My recent hobby of writing helps me get through difficult days. I hope things get better for you, cause they will, i am sure.

Btw, you don,t even look so bad.

Anyways, best of luck.

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Hey man, I can totally relate.

I'm 19 also and mine wasn't too bad until about 2-3 years ago something just bombed.

I tried something new and it went away for about a month and it's coming back again already..

And I just thought to myself if I am ever even going to have that life of not having to worry about these things..

because right now it just seems highly unlikely.

I'm just feeling utter despair and hopelessness.

Then I see people who are extremely cocky while having great skin and it just irritates me..

I just want to hide away until I'm just suddenly clear some how.

I'm so sick of constantly dragging myself to not become socially isolated. Why do I have to try so hard to do things that "normal" people can get by without a single problem?

*sigh* anyway, this is the section of this forum that I frequent when my mood is in the dumps.

I really don't want to be like this anymore. I just can't take it much longer

sorry it seems like I ended up venting about myself haha. Well anyway, I just wanted you to know that you're not alone. It's extremely unfortunate for us

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Hey man, I can totally relate.

I'm 19 also and mine wasn't too bad until about 2-3 years ago something just bombed.

I tried something new and it went away for about a month and it's coming back again already..

And I just thought to myself if I am ever even going to have that life of not having to worry about these things..

because right now it just seems highly unlikely.

I'm just feeling utter despair and hopelessness.

Then I see people who are extremely cocky while having great skin and it just irritates me..

I just want to hide away until I'm just suddenly clear some how.

I'm so sick of constantly dragging myself to not become socially isolated. Why do I have to try so hard to do things that "normal" people can get by without a single problem?

*sigh* anyway, this is the section of this forum that I frequent when my mood is in the dumps.

I really don't want to be like this anymore. I just can't take it much longer

sorry it seems like I ended up venting about myself haha. Well anyway, I just wanted you to know that you're not alone. It's extremely unfortunate for us

Great post, similar to others you added some more emotional/physchological effects that I am sure we all have felt.

My hope is that one day I can all come back to this thread with clear skin and remind myself constantly of how grateful I should be. It's amazing how happy I would be with something other people take for granted.

Just like to add that, although my skin has only improved a small amount in my first week of antibiotics, I am a lot more positive about the whole thing. I have a new routine for skin care and things, although slowly, are getting better. It's more than that though, I feel like venting has lifted the world off my shoulders and now I can face the world without having to bottle this up. I have been a lot more confident this week because I had a moment of realisation that you can be so much more than your looks. People are measured on their personalities and what they can do for the world/others rather than the way they look. Sure it may prevent you from certain relationships with people but who wants to be friends with someone that judges you based on your skin!

Edited by OllieJR
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I know this isn't the place to keep logs but screw it, this is for my own personal benefit to compare pictures and how I am feeling on a weekly basis.

This is the state of my skin a week and a half after trying a new 'regimen' of washing twice a day with water only and antibiotics. I'd say it is a slight improvement. Most of what you can see are red marks, I would estimate 70% red marks/scars and 30% spots.

The biggest thing I have noticed is as well as a few of the spots starting to go down/red marks fading, is the lack of spots replacing them. I think I have had 2 new ones since starting which is a lot better than before. I guess the only thing to do is carry on with what I am doing and keep monitoring the situation. It is still a long, long way away from where I want to get to but there's still a long way to go I guess.

Still don't feel great but I know it is going to take time to see any real improvement...if any. I hope everyone else's skin is treating them better!

As ever, thanks for reading.

P.S. trying to keep the pictures consistent is a nightmare with lighting etc!

Edited by OllieJR
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Hi, I'm Miguel from the Philippines.

I really really really relate about your post. Pretty much everyday, I avoid myself looking at the mirror.

I avoid looking at myself because I feel ugly. I feel like shit. I feel every pain in the world when I look in the mirror.

I know it's pretty over-reacting but this is where acne brought up to me.

Anyway, I just wanted to let you know that you are not alone in these suffering. Best of luck to us!

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Hi, I'm Miguel from the Philippines.

I really really really relate about your post. Pretty much everyday, I avoid myself looking at the mirror.

I avoid looking at myself because I feel ugly. I feel like shit. I feel every pain in the world when I look in the mirror.

I know it's pretty over-reacting but this is where acne brought up to me.

Anyway, I just wanted to let you know that you are not alone in these suffering. Best of luck to us!

Yep, good luck. Glad to know there are so many others who feel the same.

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I can definitely see some improvement already! Try to smile a bit next time, it can do miracles :)

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Does anyone ever feel like they left it too late to seek treatments.

I feel like even if it was to clear up today from these antibiotics, all the red marks and scars from face/neck/bum/back/chest/shoulders are going to take years to clear.

I'm not sure I can do another 5 years of this...

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Does anyone ever feel like they left it too late to seek treatments.

I feel like even if it was to clear up today from these antibiotics, all the red marks and scars from face/neck/bum/back/chest/shoulders are going to take years to clear.

I'm not sure I can do another 5 years of this...

Red marks and scars mostly take 3-6 months, antibiotics can get rid of acne in 4-6 months.

If you're lucky you can be clear next year, if you're unlucky there's still accutane and you can get fully clear in 1,5 years. I wouldn't worry about 5 years.

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Random comment-- but you're not ugly. You have a very masculine almost Roman-esque kind of face. As a female, I would probably ignore the skin issue and just assume it was your testosterone finding a way to get out and be free...

Since you have it on so many parts of your body, I'm surprised you haven't been prescribed Accutane. I've been on it two times. During both treatments, the red marks ended up going away. Luckily I had no bad side effects from it. The second round seemed more effective than the first. I've had the post-inflammatory hyper pigmentation-- it takes a few months to go away. Keep abiding by your current routine, and keep a record of it if you are seeking help from a physician. Make sure to let he/she know if it's not working.

Personally, sunlight doesn't help me since my skin burns quickly, but perhaps more sunlight might help with your skin (?). If you live in a cloudy/rainy area, you probably don't get a lot of sun exposure. When I was in my late teens and early twenties, using a tanning bed for five minutes sometimes helped. I kept it to a minimum, especially if I was on antibiotics, but it helped fade some red marks.

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