I wish I didn’t have to address this topic because it’s heartbreaking that it exists. What is acne shaming? It’s the same as body shaming. It is making someone uncomfortable about a particular physical abnormality, illness or anything not considered the norm or acceptable. Today I’m going to talk about something that affected me very negatively during my battle with acne.
For most of my teenage years & my twenties my skin was flawless. Not a mark, pimple or any texture.
I’m now in my early 30’s & I have to say that I’ve literally “suffered” with acne. In the past year my skin has significantly changed & cleared up & I am grateful everyday. However, I’m sharing an experience from the time when I was breaking out every single day with no sign of cure in sight.
Many people would often be “alarmed” when they would meet me after a long time & react negatively towards my appearance. I got many different facial expressions, from pity to confusion. Two things people would constantly say were “oh my God, what happened to your face!” and “Oh my God you have so many pimples!” I would then reply with either “yes I know” or “it’s under control, it’s better now”. The looks I would get though & the things people said would make me SO depressed. Sometimes during the day I would forget that I had acne until someone would say something like that to me.
If you’ve never suffered with a physical disfigurement before, you wouldn’t think that this is a big deal. Generally, people are often insensitive & one would think that I would get used to hearing these things after a few times, but this wasn’t the case. At one point when my acne was at it’s worst, I probably got these things said to me 4-5 times a week. I work in retail so I constantly meet people during the day. This would cripple me.
I imagine people are concerned when they meet someone who always had great skin, now suffering with acne. Acne can affect anyone & tomorrow it could be you. You can absolutely show your concern, but being someone who has gone thru this, my advice is that it is better to say nothing at all. By saying anything, even if you mean well, you are now showing the person with acne, that something is not right, like holding a mirror in front of their faces & that is the LAST thing an acne sufferer wants to experience. I have had friends ask me what’s wrong with me. Am I cleaning my face. Am I eating greasy food. That my makeup is causing my acne. That I should change my pillowcases, go to a doctor, apply some medicine, go to the pharmacy, go vegan, stop drinking sodas, stop eating chocolates….I can go on & on. Someone once instantly greeted me with “wow what is wrong with your skin”. These statements would make me believe that the acne was my fault. A friend once said to me “but your skin used to be so perfect!” as if to say that I did something wrong. Suffering with acne is already so complex.
I had a few friends however who were sensitive & wouldn’t say a word to me & I felt comfortable enough that I could share my issues with them without fear of being judged.
The truth was, no matter how harsh it sounds, I didn’t want to hear ANYTHING from ANYONE especially those who had never suffered with any acne or any other facial issues. Another truth is that they would not understand. Just like other things in life, if you haven’t gone thru something yourself, chances are you would never fully understand. I know this to be true, because when I was younger & saw people my age with acne, I thought the same things people with clear skin think. That it’s their fault. But here is the difference between being able and not being able to feel someone’s pain – you don’t have to be insensitive. If you don’t know what to say, don’t say anything at all. Remember, to be kind. Everyone has feelings & everyone’s feelings matter.
If you are suffering with acne, I am so sorry. I have been there & its awful. Maybe I can be of help & direct you to some posts that may be helpful. I share my acne management system
which you can read about here
. I also share my daytime skincare
& night time skincare
routines. If you know someone who suffers with acne, please be kind. Help if you can but be sensitive when you speak & advise.
Thanks for reading x