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I've had acne since age 10, it's currently what you'd probably classify as moderate, although it partially covers my face, and the majority of my back. I can definitely say acne has impacted me a lot. Middle school being the worst as I was one of the only kids that had acne, so I got a lot of mean/rude comments such as "You're disgusting, do you even wash your face??" I was humiliated and tried to avoid school. I think it's kind of funny that many people brush acne off as being a minor, insignificant problem. Acne has caused me to want to isolate myself and has made me ashamed of my face and body. I sometimes even avoid my family members or neighbors, because I don't want anyone to see my face. So far I've tried multiple regimens, 4-5 antibiotics, birth control, and accutane. A few of these things caused me severe side effects, and one caused me to have an anaphylactic reaction. Also, I'm currently seeing a therapist due to anxiety and depression. I won't say that acne directly caused this, but I think it's played a part. 

So, what are some of your stories on how acne has affected your life?

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I was happy, fairly well rounded and I believe well liked as a child (although I always hated sports and was often “bullied” for that). I started to get mild acne when I was 11 and I think that I was the first person in my school to get it. I developed early and I know I looked a lot older that the other kids. I remember being looked at all the time, probably just out of curiosity, but I don’t really remember getting bullied. My acne got worse when I was 13, which is when it started to affect my life more.

I think the biggest way that it affected me is that it made me not want to be seen. I think that’s the hardest thing to explain to people, especially to extroverts who basically live to be seen.

I had some friends at school, but in general I avoided people. I didn't really socialise after school or at the weekend. I didn’t join any clubs or get a part time job. All this led to me becoming inept at communicating with others, which when combined with my appearance made me a target for scorn and ridicule, which made me feel even more inept. This made me reluctant to form any close friendships or pursue romantic relationships. This led me to fall behind my peer group and left me reluctant to try new things. I didn’t really have that network of friends to explore life with. I never really developed any hobbies or found anything I was good at. I did get really good at hiding my insecurities, my parents still refuse to believe me when I say that I struggled a lot when I was younger, because admitting you had a problem only seemed to make things worse in the world I lived in.

I drifted away from the “normal” path and became alienated and disaffected with the rest of the world. I had a brief moment of euphoria when I turned 18, but this had quickly disappeared when I was 19 and realised that life as a grown up wasn’t much better than life as a teenager. I had pinned a lot of my hopes on a fresh start at university, but I was still covered in acne and had the social grace of an 11-year-old so I soon collapsed under the pressure. I didn’t drop out, but I might as well have done.

I picked up a few social skills when I was in my 20s. I know how to fit in and what people expect me to say, but I’m not really happy when I say it. Its forced and its not necessarily something I am interested in. I feel like I have to make a choice between being myself and being the myself that everyone else wants me to be.

I’m still insecure about my appearance, even though I don’t look anywhere near as bad as I did 10-15 years ago. My acne is basically gone and my scaring is as mild as it gets (thankfully). I look like a fairly ordinary, slightly overweight, 31-year-old man, but I haven’t had the ordinary life that most people take for granted.

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Acne kept me from doing what I wanted to do in life.  Acne+ anxiety...I never went to college, never wanted to go on trips with family or friends to the beach or outdoors, never had confidence in getting a job I deserve. When my skin is clear Im happy person! But lately I can't even picture getting a job anytime soon. Even though my treatment is working,  the mental anxiety and feelings of shame remain. I have respect for those who maintain a normal life without being defeated. 
In some ways I feel crippled. Im ashamed to admit  I've thought " Id rather be in a wheelchair or have some non visible disease" ...but I dont really mean it.
But its also kept me from being arrogant and made me a more compassionate and less judgy person.

4 hours ago, jwalk said:

I was happy, fairly well rounded and I believe well liked as a child (although I always hated sports and was often “bullied” for that). I started to get mild acne when I was 11 and I think that I was the first person in my school to get it. I developed early and I know I looked a lot older that the other kids. I remember being looked at all the time, probably just out of curiosity, but I don’t really remember getting bullied. My acne got worse when I was 13, which is when it started to affect my life more.

I think the biggest way that it affected me is that it made me not want to be seen. I think that’s the hardest thing to explain to people, especially to extroverts who basically live to be seen.

I had some friends at school, but in general I avoided people. I didn't really socialise after school or at the weekend. I didn’t join any clubs or get a part time job. All this led to me becoming inept at communicating with others, which when combined with my appearance made me a target for scorn and ridicule, which made me feel even more inept. This made me reluctant to form any close friendships or pursue romantic relationships. This led me to fall behind my peer group and left me reluctant to try new things. I didn’t really have that network of friends to explore life with. I never really developed any hobbies or found anything I was good at. I did get really good at hiding my insecurities, my parents still refuse to believe me when I say that I struggled a lot when I was younger, because admitting you had a problem only seemed to make things worse in the world I lived in.

I drifted away from the “normal” path and became alienated and disaffected with the rest of the world. I had a brief moment of euphoria when I turned 18, but this had quickly disappeared when I was 19 and realised that life as a grown up wasn’t much better than life as a teenager. I had pinned a lot of my hopes on a fresh start at university, but I was still covered in acne and had the social grace of an 11-year-old so I soon collapsed under the pressure. I didn’t drop out, but I might as well have done.

I picked up a few social skills when I was in my 20s. I know how to fit in and what people expect me to say, but I’m not really happy when I say it. Its forced and its not necessarily something I am interested in. I feel like I have to make a choice between being myself and being the myself that everyone else wants me to be.

I’m still insecure about my appearance, even though I don’t look anywhere near as bad as I did 10-15 years ago. My acne is basically gone and my scaring is as mild as it gets (thankfully). I look like a fairly ordinary, slightly overweight, 31-year-old man, but I haven’t had the ordinary life that most people take for granted.

wow the first part of your post sounded exactly like me.  I hated being the earliest to develop...hated it! I'm glad you at least have some normalcy.
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