Photos by Dani Reynolds
I had nearly perfect skin in my teenage years, but my clear skin didn’t last. The moment I hit 18, I was greeted by a horrendous battle with acne. I went from being praised by friends in my formative years to feeling anxious to see them again, afraid they’d think, “What happened to her?”
As someone who films videos on YouTube, I couldn’t go on camera without at least face makeup on; this self-doubt about my skin also permeated my social life. I would decline going out with friends because I already took off my makeup or didn’t have time to put makeup on. I became too embarrassed to talk to people one-on-one for too long because I was afraid they would start noticing the bumps on my face. I always made sure to smooth out and blur any imperfections in pictures, and even the boy I dated at the time never saw me without makeup. Makeup became a crutch for my insecurities; a safety net for my ego.
Not to mention, my anxieties about my own skin, resulted in becoming hyper-aware of everyone else’s. I noticed that acne is more common than I thought. Surprisingly, this hyper-awareness actually helped with my own issues. I realized, no, I wasn’t weird for having breakouts in my 20s because everyone has it!
Dealing with my skin imperfections is an on-going battle, and there are some highs and lows. I’ve learned what works for my skin and what doesn’t. For example, I’ve learned that dairy is a trigger for my acne, over exfoliating makes my skin angry, not exfoliating enough makes my skin clog up, and sleeping and eating habits really affect my skin (*cough* alcohol). Through trial and error, I’ve found that using prescription strength treatments, regular (but not excessive) exfoliation, and eating a cleaner diet (which isn’t only good for your skin but your entire well-being!) has slowly started to improve my skin.
My struggle with acne has made me realize that I’m the only person that is aware of my insecurities; I’m the only one beating myself up about my imperfections. The state of my skin has no reflection on the quality of person I am or the measure of my worth. Once I realized that my acne didn’t define me, I was able to be more comfortable in my own skin. Just remember: Acne is something that can be treated through finding the right solution, and having a lot of patience for your skin and yourself!