I doubt you’ve heard many people say “I’m grateful for acne” many times before. Well, today, let me be one of the first! In all honesty I don’t always believe myself when I say it aloud. How can anyone be thankful for a skin disease? Which by the way, is what acne is. A horrible, painful, mentally and physically scarring disease that is difficult to control and pin point the root cause.
For the first time in my life, I am happy with my skin the way it is right now. It is no where near perfect, but that is exactly the point. I’ve let go of the ridiculous expectation that my skin (or any other part of me for that matter) should be perfect. Perhaps because I’ve been through extremities with the condition of my skin, the way it is now in comparison to how it used to be is an absolute dream. On an average day I have about 3 spots on my skin, and I couldn’t be happier about it!
I decided to write about acne today because of the overwhelming amount of love I received when I discussed body positivity and my struggles with that (thank you!) – To continue on with the “relatable stories”, today I’m sharing the other cause of turbulence on my mental health.
My first spot appeared on my skin when I was 11. Being one of the first few people in my year to get spots, you can imagine how self conscious I was when my supposedly friends pointed out “you have a pimple there, and there, and there!”. Up until then I didn’t think much of my skin – I figured it was normal to have a blemish here and there! Wasn’t that just part of puberty and growing up?
Unluckily enough for me, my acne continued to get worse as I got older. “It’ll get better soon, don’t worry!” “You’ll grow out of it!” “It’ll stop when you’re 18!” family and friends would say to me, and as much as I wanted to believe it, the evidence was proving otherwise. I couldn’t see an end point to the pain. Crying myself to sleep at night became routine for the last several months of the year 2015 when my acne hit an all time peak point. Fears of looking into the mirror meant I turned off all the lights and literally would try and live in the dark in attempt to avoid seeing my skin.
Like other acne sufferers, I had tried everything – lotions, creams, face washes, weird remedies that people swear by, homeopathic medicine, Chinese medicine, acupuncture, you name it, I’d tried it (everything but Accutane). I used to spend hours and hours researching what I could do next to “fix” my skin. Remembering those nights I wouldn’t sleep because I was 50 pages deep into google makes my heart hurt. The desperation was real.
And eventually what “cured” my acne you could say, was a combination of self belief + patience + hormone balancing. I can definitely share my skin care routine later on! But after a year of the worst acne of my life, my skin started to clear up, slowly but surely.
Having gone through it all, I can say now I am thankful for my acne because of several reasons.
- I have learned not to be judgemental of other people’s “imperfections” – Who the hell am I to judge whether someone has rosacea or a bulging spot on their nose? Let’s be real here, we all can’t help staring sometimes. I know some people definitely were distracted looking at my patchy blotchy bumpy skin whilst talking to me. Let us now just keep an open mind.
- I love my skin so much! I admire it a lot because it deserves love. After so much pain, it has recovered and is beautiful.
- I relate to other’s pain and discovered how deep empathy can go.
- My acne taught me that real beauty is so much more than skin.
- And finally, the body is powerful and strong. You must believe in it’s ability to heal before you expect change to take place. This is so important.
To those who have acne, try and not despair. I know how hard it is, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel!