I do not remember my first pimple or first breakout. I do not remember one day looking in the mirror and noticing differences in coloration or seeing red bumps. I feel as if I have lived my entire life as a victim of acne and a slave to rigorous and repetitive skincare routines. I first started having acne when I was 12 years old. It was at this time in my life that I begun to feel lonely, isolated, and misunderstood. As a smart and introverted girl I was always found studying or reading, not particularly interested in socializing with the other kids my age. I remember feeling like an outcast, or like there was something wrong with me.
It was not until around 4 years later that I decided to talk to somebody about my feelings of loneliness and disinterest in activities that previously interested me; I was clinically diagnosed with depression and social anxiety disorder. All of the time, I asked myself: Why? Why did I choose to isolate myself and live with this constant sadness? One major contributing factor that I always noticed and judged myself for was my acne. Inspecting my face closely in the mirror became a daily horror, and I assumed that others felt the same way looking at me.
I spent countless days, weeks searching for new products that would clear my skin and ultimately reinvent my persona. I told myself, Once my skin is clear, I'll be beautiful, and I won't have to worry about what people think of me. I'll be able to go out in public, meet boys, and socialize with confidence.
I did not realize how skewed my views were until I decided to seek help through counseling, and in this experience, I slowly realized that having clear skin would not change my life so drastically. I began to take actions towards my recovery and over the course of two years I became a happier, healthier person. I would no longer let acne control my well-being.
Dealing with and treating my acne has made me more resilient and patient in difficult circumstances. It became my mission to make my skin as clear as possible while also putting my well being before everything else. I have no doubt in my mind that acne can be a major contributor to mental illnesses such as depression and social anxiety disorder. It can be a major blow to self-confidence and self image. Going through this has made me a stronger person, and I know that I will never again let acne get the best of me.