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How To Overcome Acne

Updated on January 28, 2012

Acne is a common skin disease affecting 7 out of 10 young adults around the world. Besides its physical disadvantages, the condition can often leave even greater psychological damage on the sufferer; these include feelings of despair, loneliness, paranoia and worthlessness that can take years to recover from.

There is no worse feeling as a teenager than waking up one fateful morning and feeling sore and heavy around the face, only to look in the mirror and have the horrific realisation that your face resembles that of a monster in a B-movie. For a condition that is so quick to appear, it can take years to disappear, and the desperation only worsens when the realisation hits that you will be mocked, stared at and commented on by other youths, that every chemical cream under the sun doesn’t do a blind bit of difference, and that certain somebody that you fancy will never take another moments thought about dating you. The psychological effects are so damaging that it can leave mental scars in work, relationships and social activities in your adult life.

As a former sufferer I have endured all the mocking, staring and finger pointing that my teenage years could throw at me and it wasn’t until my mid twenties that my acne finally cleared up. For 13 years I had to wear this cursed mask that ruined my appearance, dulled my personality in the eyes of anybody who saw me and covered and altered my looks in the eyes of women. I learned to endure and live with it; I kept up relationships and developed a strong personality and outgoing sense of humour to make up for what I called the demon that possessed my face. The one thing I didn’t realise however was that my acne cleared up sooner than I thought. Every time I looked in the mirror my eyes played tricks on me, they saw the same spotted face looking back when I actually had a clear complexion. When women looked at me it was because they were checking me out, when I stupidly thought they were staring at my face and whispering to their friends how deformed I was. The human psyche is a powerful thing, it can make up anything and have you convinced it’s the truth, it finally took me counselling sessions in 2009 to realise how paranoid I was.

After receiving another bout of depression, an illness I have gained thanks to my years battling acne, I was recommended to a counsellor, who was fantastic. She made it clear to me my problems came down to a lack of confidence and self belief after spending years covering it with developing a personality that wasn’t mine. She showed me the way in building my confidence, and gave me exercises in proving to myself how paranoid I was with thinking I was still carrying this now phantom disease around. Over the next few months I became my more creative self, I became a warmer person, I didn’t care what people thought, I approached women more frequently and I learned to love myself, because the path to ones glory is to love yourself before you love others. Rather than giving me medication, she gave me breathing and mental exercises to battle the old fight or flight syndrome, claiming I was fighting or flighting from problems that didn’t exist. I have stopped looking in the mirror every ten minutes, I breath easier, I smile more…

Meditation can help repair  the pyschological damage acne brings.
Meditation can help repair the pyschological damage acne brings.

For anybody out there who suffers with acne or for anybody who knows somebody with it, there is light at the end of the tunnel, the condition does clear up. I can only give advice on my own experiences but everybody out there affected should do the following:

  • Visit a local GP as soon as you possibly can, they can help with a wide range of advice, services and medication that can improve and clear up the condition.
  • Don’t use any of the products advertised on television, it only aggravates the condition. Acne is aggravated through scrubbing the skin viciously, making it worse. Products like Clearasil are aimed at the egocentric and self conscious who think their whole world has ended because they have found a single solitary spot on their forehead.
  • If you have some money to burn, try laser treatments, they have a great success rate in clearing acne.
  • Cut down on dairy products such as milk and anything with a high glycemic load content like white bread. They have a high level of carbohydrates that makes the condition worse. Other food products with a high glycemic load include baguettes, bananas, potatoes and rice, so cut them out too.
  • Exercise as much as you can, it helps relieve stress and therefore helps acne clear. It is a common known fact that stress is the worst type of aggravator associated with acne. Even thinking about why you have acne causes stress, so go out and exercise, not only is it good for the body but it is also pure for the mind and soul.
  • Mediate and breathe deeply for a good 15 minutes every morning and night. This is more for the psychological factor. Just clear your head of any bad thoughts and breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth very slowly. Feeling better about yourself is a key factor in regaining your confidence and free spirit, plus it helps you relax.
  • Cut out any friends who mock your condition. Stay with friends who enjoy you for who you are and can see the real you through the crimson mask.
  • Fight it, don’t learn to live with it, be strong and the results will show.
  • Not everybody in the world is obsessed with looks. Keep that in mind. Also remember that a lot of people have their own problems and issues to deal with so don’t feel worthless when you approach someone and they seem distant. Chances are it’s got nothing to do with you.
  • If you are bullied, tell someone, I’m pretty sure with new laws being drafted, bullies can now be criminally prosecuted, if not it won’t be long before they are.
  • Always remember that you are a beautiful person.

For anybody out there who has loved ones or people they know with acne, or for people who meet acne sufferers:

· Don’t stare! Seriously... it’s not cool.

· A lot of love and support is a good place to start.

· Compliment them on their features or personality; it will make them feel better.

· If you see anybody getting bullied with acne, tell someone, it doesn’t matter if it's in school or even in the workplace. Grown ups hurt inside too.

· See through the crimson mask to who they really are, like any mask it covers their true self, you’ll find yourself being pleasantly surprised.

· Don’t mock the condition, even if it is in a good natured way. It’ll emotionally hurt them more than you think.

And for all the acne sufferers and former sufferers remember that we have an advantage that the rest of society don’t have, we have a true knowledge of inner beauty, we have a better understanding of beauty than any magazine or movie can portray. Our love lives are better and we are better for that. Never lose that powerful sense of inner beauty throughout your life, be strong and confident and pure and you will be just fine. Remember that beauty is in the eye of the beholder.


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    • WiccanSage profile image

      Mackenzie Sage Wright 4 years ago

      This is great; I'm going to pass this on to my daughter, she's in her 20s but still gets acne mainly due to PCOS and it's very frustrating for her. Sad thing is, my own mother know my daughter has PCOS and that PCOS causes things like acne, but still remarks things like, "Wow... do you wash your face?" when the poor kid has break outs. I don't understand how people can be so insensitive. Beautifully written.

    • Adrian Lavelle profile image

      Adrian Lavelle 6 years ago from Galway, Ireland

      Nice to meet you too KT! thanks for commenting, I felt i had to write something about it but I needed to be vunerable. As an Irishman that's not an easy thing to do! Wish your son the best from me, I just hope this hub can help in some way =)

    • KT Banks profile image

      KT Banks 6 years ago from Texas

      Well, that was just beautiful. I read the hub, thinking it may help my son, but instead, I found a beautiful soul. Nice to "meet" you Adrian! I look forward to reading more of you work.