Things acne sufferers are sick and tired of hearing

We’ve heard it all before

Acne. Zits. Spots. Blemishes. Whatever you choose to call them most of us have experienced the unfortunate side effect of the raging excess of teenage hormones. It’s fair to say that most of us encountered the life shattering outbreak of spots before that important social event/school photo/first date, signalling the end of the world for your teenage self. Unless of course you are among the rare form of god’s chosen people who spent their teenage years with flawless doll skin.

But as we enter our twenties, for acne sufferers there’s a new hell. As our friends’ skin seems to have cleared up nicely ours doesn’t feel any different than it did several years ago, causing us to feel more self-conscious with every appearing blemish. Yes we are perfectly aware of what our skin looks like, we do happen to own a mirror.

Ultimately it doesn’t matter how old you are, some people will always to feel the need to point our acne out and offer some well-intentioned yet obvious advice on how we can improve ourselves.

‘But aren’t you worried it’ll make you like, ugly?’

‘For someone with acne you don’t look too bad’

Translation: your skin is gross, but despite this massive flaw I’ll allow you to be ‘not that bad’. Cheers.

‘I know exactly how you feel, I had a spot the other day and it made me feel so ugly’

This usually comes from someone who rarely gets spots, so in their eyes the occasional blemish is the equivalent of the world ending. We will sigh inwardly and keep quiet as you complain that no one understands how much of an inconvenience this is to them. It’s not nice, we get it, but please don’t go on like you’ve suddenly become a monster.

‘Don’t touch it or you’ll make it worse’

OK, but have you actually tried not touching spots? Against the advice of all responsible adults, peers and beauty websites there will always be an irresistible urge to mess, squeeze and pick at our blemishes until they look worse than how we found them.

We know it’s bad, but we still do it and telling me not to will not change anything.

‘Have you ever seen a doctor about it?’

Most acne sufferers will definitely at some point in their life have been dragged to the doctor by a concerned parent and had their face prodded before being given some cream and tablets and sent on their way.

Fun fact – some acne treatments often carry side effects including: vomiting, inflammation of the intestines, discolouration of the skin, blindness, severe hives, itching and death. Yes, even death.

‘Have you ever tried doing x, y or z?’

Usually this person is full of good intentions but here’s the thing, we’ve probably already tried the advice you’re going to give us. Many hours have we spent scrolling through websites before raiding the fridge in order to create some obscure face mask. Only to wake up looking the same as the day before.

We know, we’ve tried it. It doesn’t work.

‘Shouldn’t you wear make-up to cover it if you’re self-conscious?’

Don’t you have something better to do then worry about that? Yes I often do wear make-up, however when I choose not to it isn’t a welcome invitation for you to tell me what I need to do with my face and chances are, I’m too busy to care.

‘Aren’t you worried about scarring?’

Basically, this is the polite way of asking “what if acne ruins your face?” “How on earth will you ever cope?” By saying this, you’re contributing to the idea that our self-worth should be based solely off our physical appearance. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to look good and take time with our appearances but it shouldn’t be the sole focus of our lives.   

We’ve thought about getting scars and yes while we don’t want them, it’s not something we ultimately have control over so please don’t spend your time reminding us about it.

Why should we have to deal with comments about our personal appearance and why are we made to feel ashamed for something we can’t control? You wouldn’t go up to someone with freckles and moles so why say it to someone with acne? More importantly, don’t you have something better to do than spend your time worrying about my face?