Self-confidence and cystic acne are not two things that go hand in hand. Especially when you’re in college and supposed to be past the age of skin struggles.
Maybe it’s just my college, maybe it’s every college, I don’t know- but it seems that everyone on my campus is BEAUTIFUL. And I mean knockout. Everyone seems to have flawless, glowing skin, perfect bodies, straight, pearly teeth - perfect pictures of health. And it doesn’t help that on class days, it seems an overwhelming majority of women (including myself) do not wear makeup to class.
Dealing with something like cystic acne can seriously take a chunk out of your self-confidence. Thankfully, I have never had issues with self-confidence before. But when large, painful, red cysts plague your face in a community where no one seems to have a flaw, it can eat away at you inside. Even when most of the cysts have gone away, I am left with a multitude of hyperpigmented scars, a lovely array of colors ranging from a fiery red to a dark red, almost brown hue. Knowing that my skin has cleared up compared to what it once was, and still having such hideous scars as a constant and unavoidable reminder is more frustrating than anything. It’s like a cruel joke- ha! You thought having clear skin (or mostly anyway) would equate to nice skin? You were WRONG!
It can be hard to go out in public with a face full of fresh acne, old scars, and no makeup, but I do it regularly anyway. Partially for time’s sake - it can take over an hour to try and cover my blemishes, but it often doesn’t work. The medications I am on, leaves me with patches of dry flakiness, making foundation application a nightmare that usually looks worse in my opinion than my bare skin. But I also sometimes go out with no makeup as a reminder to myself: your skin does not define you. People’s perceptions of you do not define you, ESPECIALLY those of strangers in public.
This bump in your life story (ha- get it- bump) is nothing but a frustrating patch that will make me stronger as a person. Fighting a long, arduous battle that it seems I am often losing gets exhausting, especially after dealing with it for almost two years. But it makes me thankful for things I never even thought about before my breakout. It makes me thankful for the days I had clear skin and didn’t appreciate it. It makes me thankful that I can look back at this someday and say “man, that sucked, but I learned from it.” But most of all, I have had to learn to feel beautiful with these scars and blemishes.
Who I am as a person did not change, even though my appearance did. And it made me truly realize that someone’s inner beauty is what made their exterior beautiful - not the amount of makeup or the lack of pimples. This is something I, you, anyone who suffers from it will move past. And we will be stronger for it in the end.
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