Acne doesn’t just affect your skin; it can affect the way you feel about yourself. It’s important to know that the degree to which acne affects you emotionally doesn’t—and shouldn’t—directly correspond with its severity. Some people with severe acne aren’t all that bothered by it, others are intensely embarrassed and depressed by fairly mild acne. Whatever type of acne you have, your feelings are normal and okay.
Loss of Confidence
Because it appears visibly on the face, having acne can impact your self-esteem. People with acne often say they feel less confident than they did before having acne. You may feel it’s harder to put yourself “out there,” asking for a promotion or for a date, for example. Tweens and teens, unfortunately, may be the subject of teasing and bullying because of their skin. This can have a direct impact on their self-confidence at a critical period in their life.
One thing to remember is that acne is much more obvious—and thus a bigger deal—to you than it is to anyone else.
Anger and Frustration
An emotion that acne brings up that might surprise you is anger. You’re not alone with this one. Acne is a frustrating condition. It’s frustrating to take good care of your skin every day and still break out. It’s frustrating to try treatment after treatment and still have acne. It’s frustrating to see others sleep in their makeup and never cleanse their faces and still have clear skin. It’s understandable to feel angry.
The best thing to do when you’re feeling this way, though, is to stick with it. You most likely will have to try several acne treatment medications before finding the right one, or combination, that works best for you. It may cause you to feel anger and frustration, but each step gets you closer to the right treatment plan.
Hopelessness and Feeling Out of Control
Other people, instead of feeling angry and frustrated, feel hopeless. Some people feel out of control, like they’re at the mercy of the whims of their skin. This is normal too.
Often, people feel they shouldn’t be so upset because it’s “just” acne. Studies have found that acne impacts the lives of those who have it just as much as other chronic diseases, like diabetes and thyroid disease. In that light, understand that many people in your shoes feel just the way you do right now. There’s no need to minimize your feelings, try to talk yourself out of them, or feel guilty for having them.
The good news is, studies have found that just starting an acne treatment helps people feel hopeful and more in control. So, if you haven’t started treatment, do so now. A call to your doctor is the first step.
Keep in mind, it takes time for any treatment to work. At the beginning of treatment, you’ll still get new breakouts. This doesn’t mean the acne medication isn’t working, it just needs more time. Improvement comes slowly over the course of several months.
Feeling That Acne Has “Taken Over Your Life”
Checking the mirror first thing in the morning to see how your skin looks. Talking with a friend and suddenly wondering if they are looking at your skin. Not wanting to go to sleepovers because you can’t stand the thought of people seeing you without makeup. Avoiding wearing certain clothing, or going swimming, because it will show your body acne. It may seem like your acne is always at the top of your mind. It controls what you do, what you wear, how you think.
Nearly everyone with acne has had these thoughts at one point or another. The key here is the extent of their influence. If you feel acne has completely taken over your life to the point you’re not functioning at a normal level, you must let your doctor know. They may decide to treat your acne more aggressively or refer you to a therapist, or both to help you get through these feelings.