I’ve had acne for as long as I can remember. I was the complete opposite of a late bloomer. Acne at nine, hormones at ten, mood swings forever. I felt like an alien – sticking out from my still childlike classmates when I could’ve easily been mistaken for a moody, spotty teenager.
I remember being brought to the pharmacy looking for cleanser or lotion or potion – something, anything – that could have fixed my face before school on Monday morning. But over ten years on and a lot of money later, I’m slowly but surely learning that my acne is just a part of me.
I learned that it’s very normal
As I got older and journeyed into secondary school, my peers started to catch up on me, and I finally wasn’t the only one concerned with the blackheads on my chin. It sounds awful looking back on it, but thirteen year-old me rejoiced when I saw someone coming to school with a breakout. I knew what they were going through, and knew I wasn’t alone trying to cover up my blemish prone skin before the school bell rang.
I made mistakes
I did, however, go through my early teen years in the golden age of the beauty Youtuber. Back in 2014, the holy grail of YouTube Zoella was my go to in learning my makeup hacks. Rimmel Wake Me Up foundation in a shade five times too dark and Collection’s Lasting Perfection Concealer in the lightest shade possible were my weapons of choice in trying to hide my shame that was my acne. These two combined with a real techniques sponge and my fingers were a recipe for disaster that left me with an orange face and patchy concealer that definitely didn’t help cover up my acne. (Even writing this is making me cringe. I’m really showing my age!).
I learned it wasn’t just me
At 14, I thought I was the only person in the world who had been cursed with some blemishes on their face. Everyone I saw on Instagram had perfect skin, and even the makeup tutorials I was watching featured flawless skin, before and after. But I felt much better when I saw people I looked up to posting online about their acne struggles. People like Kendall Jenner, Emma Chamberlain, and now Alix Earle talking openly about their skin struggles makes you realise that just because they’re on red carpets wearing professional makeup, doesn’t make them any different to the rest of us. They probably go to bed with pimple patches – the same as the rest of us.
You can spend all the money you want
Skincare can be as cheap or as expensive as you want it to be, but it doesn’t always mean it will work. Ten years ago, we didn’t have people like Skincare by Hyram to teach us what to do, and I was definitely guilty of putting toothpaste on spots before I went to bed. Now, I see a dermatologist every few weeks and only use the products she recommends. It’s taking its time, but slowly it’s working to help combat the pain my acne is causing.
I don’t know whether I’ll ever know what it’s like to experience completely clear skin, I still have a lot of scarring from my teen years. But I think I’m okay with that. I may not have the perfect complexion I see online or in films, but I’ve learned that you can still be confident with acne, you can still wear makeup, and most importantly, you can still be beautiful with acne.