Acne. It comes in it’s many forms. More forms than you can shake a stick at, did you know there are over 11 types of acne? Yeah, neither did I – until I started getting it!
My acne story starts at the age of 11, quite young for some but because I started my period that year it was considered ‘hormonal’ so they whacked me on the contraceptive pill. (To an 11 year old?! Yep, you got that right). So, as I am nearing my 21st birthday, I have been on a contraceptive pill for 10 years. 10 whole years. My body has gone through a false sense of puberty with synthetic hormones that aren’t my own. Sure, my skin was brilliant and I never suffered much again, but it was only masking the cause of acne – a shiny little pill of vanity I swallowed every morning.
Fast forward to 10 months ago, I realised how much of a stressed, anxiety driven, horrible person I was on it. Every problem caused in my relationship with Andy was due to my outbursts, anger and emotions. Fair enough, all girls are emotional (especially when Aunt flow pays a visit!) but not to the point I was. I was fed up of not feeling like myself, I hadn’t felt like myself for 8-9 years. So I took it upon myself to come off of it, paying no mind to doctors more concerned about having a ‘young person pregnancy’ on their list of to do’s than actually listening to my worries. Within a week, I was myself again – happy, bubbly, a goddamn ray of f*&@ing sunshine. I knew acne would rear it’s ugly head after a while, I managed to go 4 months with relatively clear skin, but as time went on it got worse, more painful and when it started on my jawline and neck I knew it was well and truly here to stay.
The one problem with having an influence on social media, or at least putting yourself out openly on social media, is that everything is face value. No one will look at a picture of a girl with acne and think “poor girl she must suffer with really bad acne”. Instead, their immediate response is to say “ew, she OBVIOUSLY doesn’t wash her face”. They won’t stop and think of the impact of words. It’s so much easier to be a keyboard warrior nowadays, rather than actually possessing those old fashioned empathy and sympathy emotions (I mean who really needs them anyway?!)
I used to be such a sensitive teen and girl, cried as soon as someone said “boo!” to me. As I’ve got older I’ve learned not to give a flying monkeys of what anyone thinks of me. They’re entitled to their opinions, just like I’m entitled to how much I want to listen to them. I started to receive some comments on instagram. Most little 13 year old mean girls, trying to make themselves look and feel better. It’s okay, fair enough, we were all there once. The primitive teenage years are so unbelievably tough and most girls feel very insecure and alone so need to seek self approval by putting others down. However, there is a difference between thinking and saying. You can think “she’s got awful skin, at least mines better so that makes me prettier” – self motivation and approval done. The second you actually write a comment down and click that send button, that is where you could so easily ruin someone’s day, week or even their life.
As I said, I am all for these comments on my social media. If it gets to the point of persistent trolling then I will most probably block them, but the odd comment of people expressing their opinions of my life I will welcome. But this is where the line draws. Every ‘mean’ comment I get on social media will be met with a polite (and sarcastic at times – you know me!) response. Especially to the teenagers 17 and under. My line draws at this. I am happy to have a discussion with people, discussing things is good for one’s self growth. My main problem, however, is the fact that these 13 year old keyboard warriors could say it to a girl in their class, speak petty words behind someones back, add to the high school whispers in the corridor. That is where my line draws.
Sure, responding to the petty hate gives them the attention they so desperately crave, but I cannot stand aside knowing that that little keyboard warrior could be contributing to someone else’s bad day. If I hadn’t had tough skin, the amount of comments could have quite easily sent me over the edge and thought about doing something stupid. I’m lucky enough to have that mindset of ignoring people, others may not.
So to the keyboard warriors in your millions, I issue you a challenge.
I challenge you to write one nice comment on someones post, whether it be a friend, someone you look up to on social media or even to yourself. One nice comment. Instead of feeling the temporary high of putting someone down, you could be adding to someone’s day. You could be that little ray of sunshine in someone’s rain cloud that sparks a beautiful rainbow. That, my friends, is far more rewarding and fulfilling than any mean comment will ever be.
Don’t say “have you tried washing your face?” or “ew your skin is horrible”. Acne is a constant battle with your own body, the physical fight with it leaves your mentality so weak. Most acne sufferers say it’s more of a mental disease than a physical one.
Here are a few facts that everyone should know before making a comment:
- There is only one type of acne that is caused by lack of hygiene – acne cosmetica. So the likely hood of someone you know with acne having that is very slim considering there are 10 other types. In actual fact: “Acne is a disorder of the pilosebaceous unit of the skin, which is composed of an oil-producing gland, hair follicle and hair. The size and activity of the oil-producing gland is affected by hormone levels. Under certain circumstances the gland increases in size and produces more oil. Skin cells start to become “sticky” trapping pores. Bacteria known as P. acnes multiply and these factors result in spots. “
- Exfoliating can make acne worse. Over stimulating the skin with a harsh scrub can encourage your skin to produce more sebum, which is what clogs pores and gives you pimples. So don’t tell them to scrub your face.
- A good skincare regime will not help acne. Sure it’ll make your skin healthier – but in most cases it cannot cure acne. (The amount of people telling me to moisturise and “my cousin did that and it cured her acne”) *insert eye roll here* The only time moisturising will help is when you don’t have genetically caused acne.
- Most acne is due to genetics, unless the person is some morph meta human that can change their DNA – that acne is there to stay.
- Makeup doesn’t make acne worse. Okay, some makeup can make acne worse. However brands like Clinique and bare minerals have products that are actually good for your skin. The amount of people telling me to “stop putting all that makeup on and then you’ll have clear skin” is unreal. And again, only makeup that hasn’t been properly removed can result in acne cosmetica *see point 1*
So please think before you speak, some people are fighting battles you don’t even know about. The world will be a lot better if we were just kind to ourselves and others.