Don't Let Acne Rule Your Life: Why it's Important To Stay Positive

Oct. 3
Acne and other skin concerns can take a HUGE toll on your self-confidence. Believe me when I say I get it. I used to have painful acne and acne scarring that damaged my self-esteem to the point where I couldn’t look at myself in the mirror. It can make you skip events, not look people in the eye, layer on makeup, and attempt to hide your face from people. Negativity towards yourself can actually stunt your progress. But it doesn't have to be that way! I’m going to share some important things I’ve learned about why it’s important to stay positive in the face of skin concerns.
Mental Health and Skin Health Go Hand-In-Hand
It’s extremely important to understand how the way you view yourself can be negatively affecting your progress. A study conducted in 2003 on college students proved that stress does increase the frequency of acne flare-ups. When you are stressed out, your body releases heightened levels of cortisol (also known as the fight-or-flight hormone). Cortisol is produced in the adrenal glands, and a side effect of these heightened levels is excess sebum production. We need sebum to have healthy skin, but too much can cause problems. 
It goes without saying: Try to keep your stress levels down. I know how hard that can be, with most of us super busy with work, school, or personal issues, not to mention the global pandemic and election that we’re living through. Here are a few things that can help reduce cortisol levels:
  • Exercise
  • Adequate sleep
  • Healthy diet
  • Meditation or other calming practices
  • Spending time on a hobby
  • Playing with an animal 
  • Laughing (Hang out with friends, funny movie, or TikToks!)
  • Cut back on caffeine consumption
Find what works for you in winding down. Some stress is hard to control. What you can control is how you view yourself.
Be Nice to Yourself
When I was in esthetic school, I had a client I will never forget. She was a very pretty girl who was dealing with moderate cystic acne. What stood out to me was how negatively she spoke about herself. She would say things like “My skin is disgusting” and “I’m sorry that my skin is so gross this week.” I couldn’t believe she was speaking about herself this way! That was something we had to work through intensely so she could gain some confidence back while we worked on her skin. To my surprise, I realized that I was doing the same thing to myself. Nitpicking every problem, and harshly criticizing myself for something that wasn’t even going to be there forever. I stopped being so mean to myself for things I was actively working on, and started treating myself how I would treat a friend (or client in this case) going through skin issues.
The point of this story is to tell you to be nicer to yourself. We would never criticize our friends the way we criticize ourselves. We don't deserve the negativity either!! Your skin does not, and will never, define who you are as a person. What matters so much more is who you are and what positive things you bring to this world and to those around you. When I stopped worrying SO much about how my skin looked, it started to get better. Maybe I just wasn’t so hyperfocused on it anymore. It doesn't matter. Either way, I felt better. I understood that this was just what my skin looked like at the moment, I was working on it, and it wouldn’t be that way for the rest of my life. Your skin concern won’t go away overnight. You've gotta fiercly love who you are on the inside so your happiness doesn't rely on how you look. Looks fade, but YOU get to decide who you want to be. Stick to your routine, say nice things about yourself (even when you see something you don’t like), and remember good things take time.
Don’t get discouraged
If you’ve just started breaking out or are going through a purge, it can be extremely hard to stay positive. It’s also easy to become convinced that your routine isn’t working, and quit the whole thing. I’ve done that plenty of times, just to have to start back at square one because I didn’t give it a proper chance. It’s crucial to give your products time to work, as most treatments take weeks to show any results! Obviously, if a routine or product isn’t right for you, ditch it. But if you have a solid routine in place, don’t abandon it because you didn’t notice a difference immediately. Keep the course and you will see results, even if they are minor. You can learn here how to tell if you should ditch your product:
Don’t Idolize Perfect Skin
I’ve got something that may be hard to hear: Perfect skin doesn’t exist. Yet, that’s what we are all striving for. If you get close enough to ANYBODY, even celebrities or models, you WILL find a flaw. Everyone has something they don’t like about their skin. If they didn’t, the beauty industry wouldn’t be worth $500 billion. Don’t strive for perfection, because you will be disappointed. Strive for healthy skin. Cleanser, moisturizer, SPF. Even if your skin isn’t exactly where you want it to be, you can rest assured knowing that you’re treating it right. Sometimes, that’s all you can do. “Flawless” is not possible, so don’t set yourself up for failure. Just take good care of your skin, and it will look the best it can, and WILL get better eventually!
Understand That It’s Not Always an Easy Fix
Keep in mind that sometimes skin concerns aren’t as easily fixed as buying someone else’s holy grail product. You can use the most amazing products, ones just right for you, and still not see the results you want. Hormone fluctuations, diet, stress, change in weather, and genetics can all contribute to your skin ailments. The list goes on and on and on… If your skin is really affecting your happiness, consider visiting a dermatologist. By doing so, you will most likely gain a deeper understanding of why your skin is the way it is, and you’ll also find a stronger course of action for treating it. By taking some of the weight off your own shoulders, you’ll be more confident going forward.
See Yourself Without Makeup More Often!
I LOVE makeup. I do a full beat all. the. time. It's a happy process for me, and I feel extra confident while wearing it. This isn't going to be me telling you to stop wearing makeup to help clear your skin. This is me telling you that seeing yourself without it more often is a really good thing for your psyche. I had times where my acne was so bad I wouldn't even let my family see me without makeup. I know how it can make you feel better.
But here's an important lesson I've learned recently: You need to get used to seeing yourself without makeup more often. I realized that because I was so used to seeing myself with a full face of foundation every day, my skin looked SO much worse to me when I took it off. You may be comparing yourself to yourself! By seeing yourself in your natural state more often, you'll see that your bare skin isn't as shocking as you may have thought.
*Pro Tip: When I go makeup-free I still choose to wear mascara, do my hair, and wear my favorite earrings and necklaces. These things make me feel pretty and draw my eyes away from things that may be bothering me about my skin.
Final Thoughts
Please, please stop beating yourself up so much about your skin. We're indeed our worst critics. It’s great to be passionate about skincare, but not to the point of obsessing over every new freckle that pops up! Your skin ailments won't last forever, so work on happiness just as much (if not more!) as you work on your skin. Try to stay positive in your skincare journey so you can actually enjoy it! Skincare is supposed to be fun!
I understand how much of a struggle this can be for some. I also know that all of this is easier said than done. I feel for you. It will get better! You're perfect, beautiful, and amazing just as you are! I want to know how you stay positive during your skincare journey! Leave a comment, you never know who it may help.
*Note: Cover photo is of Em Ford, @mypaleskinblog. She talks extensively about how acne has affected her life- the good and the bad.
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