By Kali Kushner
Having acne can be hard enough without all of the emotional burden it carries. Perhaps one of the most common questions I get asked over and over again is “how are you so confident?” Being plagued by cystic acne for years is extremely difficult and at times, can have a serious impact on your mental and emotional health.
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 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 perfect glass skin? You were WRONG!
There have been days, weeks even, where I felt that I couldn’t leave the house because I was so ashamed of my skin. If you’ve ever felt this way, this articles for you. Below are my top 12 tips that I use daily to stay confident when dealing with breakouts!
1. QUIT COMPARING YOURSELF TO INSTAGRAM HOTTIES
Right, so this is a big one. Especially right now in the age of social media where everything is perfectly photoshopped with the exact right angles and filters; comparing yourself to these impossible standards of beauty is absolutely ridiculous. Most of what we see online isn’t real, and comparing your realistic self to something unrealistic just isn’t fair to YOU!
Luckily, many beauty gurus and Hollywood stars alike have jumped on the Au naturale bandwagon, shaming photoshop or putting themselves forever using it in the first place. With more positive self love spread and these idealistic standards thrown away, it’s creating a safe space where all women feel comfortable to be their raw, true selves.
2. DON'T WORRY WHAT OTHERS MIGHT THINK
Who cares what Josh, Jim, or Nancy think?! At the end of the day it’s your life, your face, your space- not theirs! You go home to your bed and they go home to theirs, don’t let anyone’s opinion of you influence how you feel about yourself.
Surround yourself with loving, caring people who want the best for you. Never ever feel like you have to stay in a toxic relationship with a boyfriend or a friend who is creating feelings of insecurity within yourself.
Believe it or not, people don’t care about your acne. That’s right I said it, no one cares! Everyone has their own insecurity and most of the time people are too focused on their own to even notice yours. Think about it- do you notice when someone else has acne? Probably not! That’s because we’re more interested in how the person acts and who they are then what they look like.
3. REALIZE YOU ARE DOING YOUR BEST
You’ve probably gotten 6000000 million suggestions by now about how you should or should not be treating your skin from family members, friends, and complete strangers. It’s unsolicited and annoying yes BUT do realize that they are only trying to help.
I know, I know, if they’ve never struggled with severe acne and they aren’t experienced- how could their advice actually help? Well it probably won’t but again, they can’t understand something they’ve never personally experienced.
Next time you receive a piece of advice on how to deal with your skin politely let them know “ My Dermatologist and I have an action plan for my acne and I am doing all I can, it is very stubborn”.
Don’t let their advice phase you! If you have acne like me I’m sure you’ve tried absolutely everything under the sun to get it under control. You know exactly what you have and have not tried, whether or not your current regimen is working, and that you are actively trying your best to manage your skin.
4. QUIT HABITUALLY CHECKING YOUR REFLECTION (OR COMPLETELY AVOIDING IT)
So this one can swing both ways, I’ve been a person who completely avoids mirrors and one that can’t stop looking at them. Quit both of these things! I promise you, neither obsessing over your acne or completely avoiding it will make it go away. Just relax, realize that your breakout is only temporary and that it will go away eventually- stressing out about it does NOTHING to improve your situation, if anything it makes it worse. Instead show yourself kindness and love.
When you wake up each morning, look in the mirror and tell yourself something you love about yourself to get the self love juices flowing. It’s a bit cheesy, yes, but it totally helps to restore that confidence in ourselves that we can continue to build upon daily.
5. AVOID WITHDRAWING FROM SOCIAL INTERACTION
Is staying home from date night or a big party really going to make you feel any better about that pimple? No it’s not! It’s just going to reinforce the idea that having acne is embarrassing or shameful, making you feel more anxious and self conscious, and eventually you’ll find yourself opting to stay home more and more often. Instead, regardless of your skin, force yourself to go out there and live your life.
How disappointing would it be to miss out on big events like graduation, a first date, a concert, or a sports game because you were too worried about your skin? What would you tell your best friend, your sister, or your future (or current) children if they were in the same situation? Most likely to suck it up and not miss out- we’ll I’m telling you the same thing!
6. FEELING GREAT
One thing to feeling confident, is feeling great. Feeling happy. If you don't know yet, learn what makes you happy. Go ahead and try it out and take note of how you feel doing that activity. Whether it’s keeping active and playing sports or even sleeping. Being happy is a great feeling, when you are happy, you can be more yourself and have fun!
7. TAKE CARE AND PAMPER YOURSELF
Have a bath, paint your nails, go for a massage, do a face mask, get sleep, etc. It’s great to care for others, but you also need to set time aside for yourself. Make a day for yourself. Sometimes feeling confident means cleaning yourself up.
8. CLOTHING THAT MAKES YOU FEEL GOOD
Wear something that makes you feel comfortable. Feeling comfortable is the most important thing. Pretending to be something you’re not will not help boost your confidence. If you feel your best when wearing a baggy shirt and sweatpants, do that. If you feel best wearing tight jeans and a shirt, do that. Wear something that expresses YOU.
9. LISTEN TO MUSIC
Listening to music helps to make you feel carefree. Feeling carefree is also important when boosting confidence. Not caring what others think of you and who is looking at you and who is talking about you, etc.
10. DELETE ALL NEGATIVITY
Negativity that surrounds you can make you feel stressed out and it can also bring your confidence down. Surround yourself with positivity and you’ll notice a major difference. This is a most definite confidence booster.
11. DO WHAT YOU WANT
The final tip for gaining confidence in your skin is to do what pleases you and what you desire. If you want to do something, do it. If you want to wear makeup, do it. If you don’t, then don’t. It’s your life and your choice.
12. EMBRACE WHAT YOU HAVE
Whether you have clear skin or acne-prone skin, embrace it. If you have stubborn acne, there is not much you can do to change that. Acceptance is key. Acne can cause you stress; feeling like everyone is staring at you, talking about you/your acne, etc. Just accept it. You can only do so much and for the rest, you just have to let your body naturally fight it. Smile and be happy. Who cares about who is looking at you or talking about you. Whether you have acne or not, that will always happen.
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 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.