We asked our audience to share with us their acne stories, they were so touching that we were left teary eyed. Acne is more common than we think, and a lot of the times the more we try to control it, the worse it can get. Acne is common, normal, and out of our control, so don't let acne define you.
Megha's acne story
When I had my first pimple, I was 14 and it would come and go and I thought it was just average puberty pimples. I was really into sports so as time went on, my entre cheeks were full of pimples and whiteheads. I wasn't educated on proper skincare routine so I would do those DIY face masks which didn't really do anything for me and seemed like a gimmick.
From 15-16 I started getting mild to moderate acne. It wasn't enough that I felt like I needed to go to a dermatologist, but at the same time it was enough to make me feel like there was no one I could relate to.
I went back to India and my acne continued to get worse, so I read about oil cleansing and the worse thing I tried was DIY oil cleansing. I tried using a concoction with grapeseed oils and different oils, but in the end I clogged up my skin soo badly and I really regret that. I think oil cleansing can work for some people when done right.
I went to a dermatologist and they put me on antibiotics plus a supplement. When I finished my antibiotics for a month, I stopped taking anything orally and tried maintaining my skincare routine however I wasn't seeing improvement.
I went to another dermatologist and they prescribed me A ccutane, but it was strange because the prescription was only for 10 days and everyone I've spoken to would have it prescribed for at least 3 months or longer. He also gave me some more topicals like an antibiotic cream and a cream for rosacea which didn't make sense to me.
I went to a new dermatologist because I didn't really trust this one and they were a lot younger and agreed that the other dermatologist wasn't really going to help. I really trusted the new products the dermatologist gave me like azeliac acid and I finally started to see some improvement.
How Acne Has Affected My Daily Life:
I used to put my hands on my face all the time to try hiding part of my face. I feel like people are staring at my skin, and it's not just that but people would even comment directly on my skin.
Friends would comment on my skin if there was a new pimple, and then I would just want to leave and hide.
Once my French teacher in college asked me are you doing something for your skin? She also had a couple spots but I was in disbelief that she would ask that. You don't just go up to someone and ask are you doing something for your skin?
Right after I started my acne Instagram, that comment pushed me two steps back. I just started feeling more accepting and positive of my skin, but that one comment really made me feel negative about myself again.
In the acne community, I haven't seen a lot of Indian people out there, so I decided to take my own initiative and put myself out there to represent the indian community. Being a part of the acne community makes me feel like you belong.
I Have Cried About My Acne - Mari's Acne Experience
I have to say that you should believe me when I say that acne is definitely not something to be made fun of. I see people with gorgeous skin in photos on Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter and Instagram and other social media platforms wherein I just can’t help myself into thinking that one of my goals in life is to just cure my suffering from acne. Not one day has passed ever since I got acne that I looked at my face and said that I have a beautiful complexion or that my skin looks radiant. I always look at the mirror constantly just judging my own face and how bad it came to be.
I guess one of the things that hurts me the most is that I do not fully believe in compliments anymore ever since having acne.
I heard my mom tell me about a dozen times how when she was my age, she had more acne than face. I laughed of course, but that would mean I just learned it probably comes from genetics. At first, I felt at ease that my mom could relate to what I am feeling from suffering at an age like this with an acne condition that I thought was really bad wherein hers was even worse.
In all honesty, after some time, I just got even more depressed thinking about it through the years because her acne just went away when she was around 30 and I want my acne to just stop already. I truly am scared everyday. I get more scared about the certain huge possibility that the acne will just turn out to be like hers since I am made aware that it runs in my genes and I will not have a way to stop it.
I am scared that my acne will not ever leave me and that the scars will be sitting on my face forever. I am scared that living with acne is something I will not get away from and I just have to live with it. I am just really, really scared that one day I might just give up trying to help my face improve from my acne condition sooner or later.
I had spent days and nights crying about the acne I have on my face. I cried because I am trying so many products yet nothing has worked for me. I cried because I have gone to the dermatologist plenty of times but the results of what I used before like Benzoyl Peroxide works for just a month and then the pimples are back at it again with destroying my hopes for a cure. I cried because I thought that there is nothing in the world that can help me with my acne.
Emily’s Acne Story - It Started In The 12th Grade and from my first semester in college.
In high school, I had perfect skin until halfway through 12th grade. Like, picture perfect skin - hardly any pimples ever. I specifically remember thinking to myself "wow, I am so lucky to not have acne like all my friends". If I only knew then what I know now...
How Did My Acne Get Started?
In 12th grade, I started to get large pimples all over. Stress from college made it worse. I developed a habit of picking and popping them which only made the situation worse. My acne wasn't too severe, though, probably on the more moderate side. I started a birth control pill and that seemed to help. My acne went away with the exception of a few occasional pimples.
In college, it started again during a particularly difficult senior year fall semester. I think stress brought it on combined with the fact that I went off my birth control. This time, the pimples were painful, itchy, and deep under my skin.
I went to see a dermatologist and they prescribed a topical cream and an antibiotic. I think the antibiotics really helped to clear it up. My acne was back under control and I let my skincare routine slowly slip my mind.
About 6 months later it came back with a vengeance. It started right before I graduated which really sucked. I got the dermatologist to prescribe me some more antibiotics but only for a few months’ worth because I didn't want to make that a long-term solution. It helped for the period between graduation and starting my new job.
My Acne Started When I Got A New Job And Moved
But then the stress of starting a new job (that I don't like), moving to a new city (where I don't know anyone), and realizing that I don't know what I'm doing with my life caused the worst breakouts I have ever had. At any one moment, I have at least 6 huge painful cysts on my face and a handful of scars from previous ones.
To make matters worse, I accidentally got the worst haircut of my life just before my job started. I went into the salon with collar-bone length hair and asked for a shoulder-length bob (or lob). Instead, I got a horrible asymmetrical cut with the front to my chin and the back of my ears. I have never felt less feminine/less "me" in my entire life. Combine that with the acne and making new friends/putting myself out there became an almost impossible task. It's been a rough six months.
I got a new doctor in my new city (who I love) and got prescribed some topical acne treatments, as well as a birth controll pill plus a strict morning/night skincare routine. My overall skin texture has improved greatly and I see a bit of improvement with the acne (maybe?) but I still have the deep, painful pimples and a lot of scarring (I'm struggling to kick the picking habit).
I'm still a work in progress and I struggle with my acne every day. This is how I stay optimistic with acne:
- I have a good skincare routine going and results will happen - it just takes time.
- I am more than my acne.
- The more I stress about my acne, the worse it will so try not to freak out about it.
- Life is too short to spend so much time caring about something as insignificant as blemishes on my face.
Of course, a lot of times I forget these things. I also spend way too much time looking at my face, picking my face, and trying to cover my acne with makeup.
For anyone else out there who can relate to these struggles, try to stay positive and know you're not alone. Sometimes it's hard when it seems like everyone else looks so flawless but remember that everyone struggles with self-confidence.
La Tarris’s Acne Story
I’ve Had Acne Since I Was 12 When I started Junior High
I started to get acne at the age of 12 when I entered junior high school. Unfortunately, my family wasn’t that educated about acne, even after my older sister began with outbreaks first. I don’t ever recall going to a doctor about it. Therefore, I thought it was just a part of puberty and that it would eventually fade away. At least for my sister it eventually did. Here I am, almost 30 and still dealing with acne. While it is much better than when I was younger, the fact of the matter is I still have outbreaks.
Even more so, I have dark scars in certain areas of my face to further prove it. I remember my mother always wanting to pop my sister’s and I pimples. Since we didn’t know any better, we allowed her to. Never thinking about the final result….acne scars!
Eventually, this led me down a road of popping my own pimples. I went on throughout junior high school and high school with acne problems, even to my young adult years. For some odd reason, it did not dawn on me nor my parents to seek professional help about my acne issue. Actually as I ponder more about it, I don’t recall ever seeing it as an issue or as an insecurity of mine. I mean, yes, I hated breakouts, but I never considered it to affect my beauty. I think my weight was more of a concern than my acne.
Thus, I have struggled with low self-esteem, but my acne was never a cause of it. Today, I have confidence in myself and I know that I am beautiful—inside out! How much I weigh nor the scars I have on my face does not define me! I am an overcomer! As I got older and became more involved in my own health, I began to take better care of my skin. When you know to do better, you begin to do better, and that is what I exactly began to do.
I began to invest in myself. I have tried various products to help prevent acne. As I went down this road of discovery, I found out that some products worked and some didn’t. Ultimately, I became more enlightened about my very own skin. I found out that some of the causes of my outbreaks were due to the change of seasons or to what I was eating or due to simply touching my face with my germy hands! Currently, I do not use any popular brand product to prevent my outbreaks. I simply use a daily cleanser, which is organic and I keep my face moisturized. While I still have outbreaks from time to time, one of my main concerns is about my acne scars. Thank God for Banish! I am ready to leave the past right where it belongs…in the past! Bye, bye acne scars!
Jessica Glynn’s Acne Story
Going To University Triggered My Acne - My Acne story
All throughout high school (grade 9-12) my skin was pretty much clear (no discoloration, no acne, barely any redness, just freckles around my nose), aside from the monthly PMS blemish or stress pimple during exam times. It wasn't until my first year of university where the problems started to occur.
Now, here's my theory of why I think I started getting acne:
- University was my first ever time actually living away from home (because my school was far away from my hometown, I lived on Residence) so therefore this caused some stress
- Living on residence meant that I'd have to buy a "Meal Plan" which is basically a shit ton of money on overly expensive fatty foods in cafeterias.
- If you've ever completed your first year of university/college you'd know that... that shit is tough work. There are a lot of assignments and readings and it got very stressful very fast.
- Lack of sleep (due to school work and social life)
- Increase in caffeine which is definitely something you want to avoid if you can
Basically, university = no sleep = stress = lots of stress eating = poor health choices.
In my first year my acne really, and I mean really flared up and I had a bunch of pimples and small bumps which caused me to pick at them and pop them (which if you have active acne right now DO NOT do! It is so bad for your skin). The summer after my first year I decided that I needed to do something about it because it really bothered me. I tried out the Spectro Gel for about 4 months and saw little to no results.
Then I decided to splurge on the Cetaphil line and thank God I came across that brand because it did wonders to my skin. Cetaphil cleared up my acne and got rid of all my active acne which left me with the scarring that can be seen in many of the pictures that I post in my blogs. Now I'm trying out the Banish Kit system to hopefully transform my face.
Taylor’s Acne Story - Finding ways to conceal my acne consumed me for years.
When I look in the mirror at my face, it's difficult for me to see anything but my acne scars. I have become skilled at the art of avoiding my reflection in the mirror and I've become even better at applying makeup strategically to cover up the scars on my cheeks and chin. Finding new ways to conceal and hide my skin has consumed a large part of my life for the past 2 years, and I am exhausted.
From ages 15 - 21 I had beautiful skin. It was soft, smooth, and vibrant. My skin was something that I was quite proud of, however, when I turned 22, cystic acne took over my face, chest, and back. I thought perhaps it was a phase, but after 6 months of relentless acne, I began to accept that this was now my reality. People don’t understand that acne legit made me cry because I tried everything I could to get rid of it, but it wouldn’t go away.
After years of using countless creams, seeing tons of doctors, trying various products, and shedding way too many tears, my acne finally let up. Finally, my skin was clearing and I could see the light at the end of the tunnel. I figured out that with the right diet, workout routine, and skin care regimen my skin was responding positively. I had hope again and the reality that I could have clear skin was actually believable. What I did not anticipate or plan for, though, was the acne scars that were left behind.
It had never entered my mind that after the acne was gone there would be dark spots on my face that I could not get rid of. I found myself at the beginning of a new battle, trying to figure out a way to cure my skin and simply feel confident again.
One of the biggest struggles I have faced during my battle with acne and acne scarring is that living on a budget means there is only so much you can do to help yourself. Finding creative home remedies to cure my skin has become a hobby of mine born out of sheer desperation for relief. The truth is, I have found some really amazing ways to pamper myself with homemade masks, scrubs and creams. There comes a point though where home remedies simply won't do the job.
Meredith’s Acne Story
I spent so much money, and went to so many doctors and naturopaths but I saw very little improvement over 4 years.
I spent so much time trying to find a cure naturally, that I eventually just let it go because it was consuming my life. My family noticed my personality wasn’t the same, and I almost lost my job from the depression as a result of my acne.
After that realization,, I stopped attacking my skin with 15 different products, I simplified my routine and got out of my head. My number one supporter was my mom, she held me when I cried and always listened. If it wasn’t for here I don’t know what I would have done if I didn’t have her support.
My advice for others dealing with acne is that letting go of the need to fix your skin will make you feel so much better. See what you can put out into the world, and this mindset will help you find yourself again after struggling with acne.
Caroline’s Acne Story
My acne started at 16 years old.
I’ve been taking antibiotics, birth control pills and I’m back on spirolactane. I’ve tried eating clean and drinking water but I’m still getting acne.
Acne has affected me mentally and it’s caused me to look down, and not go out. I try to go out more without makeup but it’s still really hard. I feel like people will still judge you when you have acne, even though I have no control over it.
I felt like having my acne get worse as an adult affected me more rather than having acne in high school, because in high school it’s more common. Everyone I know now doesn’t have to do anything for their skin, or they don’t even need to wash it and they don’t have acne so it is a struggle.
I really like looking at the banish page because it helps me validate my feelings with acne and it’s great seeing people who have acne recommend what helps with their skin so I like getting advice from them.
I have learned that there is a fine line between over-indulging and simply partaking in self-care. It is important to do what you can for your well-being and health. No one should ever feel guilty for loving themselves and doing little things to feel confident. If you are reading this, just know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel and all you have to do is take it one day at a time.
Do you have acne stories you want to share? Let us know in the comments below!