There’s no denying that having acne can be hard. But after 10 years of skin struggles, I’ve come to see the positives of having acne. Yep, really. If you’re in the midst of it right now, you probably think I sound bat shit crazy. But trust me when I say that acne can teach you a load of priceless life lessons.
Positives of acne: What acne taught me
Cystic acne can be a huge burden at times, but it can end up being the biggest teacher. Acne has taught me so much that, in a way, I’m glad I had it.
Let’s delve a bit deeper into what acne has taught me and the benefits I’ve gained by having acne.
And before we get stuck in, one very important thing: in time, I promise you’ll feel the same way too.
Acne taught me that real love isn’t superficial
Once upon a time, a guy told me I was “a 10 with make-up on, but a 1 when it all comes off”. That stuck with me for a long time—so much so, that I didn’t let a guy see me without make-up for years.
I was convinced that any guy would think my skin was disgusting as soon as the makeup came off. This really affected my confidence; I had a boyfriend for 3 years who didn’t once see me without foundation. I’d sleep in foundation and concealer and get up early to re-apply before he woke up. If you can relate, you might find my dating with acne blog helpful.
With time, I got sick of using make-up as a mask. I realised that, even if a guy was to go running after I removed my make-up, then I’m cool with it. I don’t want to be with a guy who likes me just for how I look. I don’t want to be a guy who’d stop loving me, or think I’m unattractive, due to something that’s totally out of my control. After all, we all get old, we all get wrinkly. Our looks don’t stay the same forever.
Having acne taught me that real love isn’t superficial. Real love isn’t just about looks; it’s about personality, character and values. When I met my now-boyfriend, I decided to bare all and show him my real skin, spots and all. Guess what? He didn’t flinch. He told me I was beautiful. If anything, it made us closer. He loves me for who I am and the clarity of my skin doesn’t change that. Now, I know I’m with a guy who likes me for way, way more than what’s on the outside.
Acne taught me to open up
For years and years, I didn’t tell anyone (bar my parents and sister) about my acne struggles and how insecure I felt about my skin without makeup. It made everything 10x harder; I’d worry myself to the nines if I had to sleepover at a friends house or go on a girl’s trip. Instead of relaxing and enjoying these good times with my friends, all I’d be thinking about was how I could hide my skin.
It took a long time, but I eventually started chatting with my friends about my worries. I started writing this acne blog, which everyone I knew could potentially read. It was pretty scary to open up like that, but it was also a huge turning point to me. I realised I’m not alone (and never was) in my acne story, that my friends understood and that there were thousands of other girls going through the exact same thing.
Having acne taught me that I (and you) never have to fight anything alone. There are always people willing to help and listen, and your friends and family will probably be way more understanding than you expect. Opening up, rather than bottling up, is definitely the best way to go.
Acne taught me that I’m more than my skin
When I was a teenager and my breakouts were bad, my self-worth literally flew out the window. No matter how good things were in my life, as soon as my skin flared up, it’s all I could focus on. Good grades? Doesn’t matter, you look ugly. She said your hair looks nice. Doesn’t matter, your skin looks horrible! Got into art college? Who cares, you’re spotty. I know it sounds a little dramatic, but acne had taken a major toll on my self-esteem.
As I’ve gotten older and have come to terms with my skin, these thoughts have taken a total u-turn. The truth is, having relentless acne eventually forced me to focus on all the other non-appearance-related qualities I have to offer the world. In time, I realised that people loved me for who I was as a person and how I made them feel; not for how clear (or not) my skin was. This took a while to get to grips with. Body confidence is a real journey and I’m still working on it now.
Having acne taught me that what’s on the inside is, truly, what counts. True confidence is about loving yourself no matter how bad your skin gets or what you look like on the outside. By accepting yourself with all your imperfections and flaws, no one can knock you down.
Acne taught me that things will always get better
This one’s short and sweet, but I think it’s important for anyone who’s in the midst of cystic acne right now. Back in the day, I remember looking at my skin in the mirror and thinking it’d never get better. I’d tried everything. Creams, tablets, expensive regimes, diet changes. Nothing seemed to work (at least in the long-term) and it was hard to see a way out of feeling chronically shit about myself.
But guess what? I was once stuck in a pit of self-loathing, but I feel amazing in myself now. Sure, my skin has somewhat cleared up, which has helped. But even when I have a breakout nowadays, I don’t let it bother me. I’m so much more confident in myself, flaws and all. Things improved, inside and out, even though it once felt like they never would.
Having acne taught me that no matter how bad things get, things can and will get better. If you’re experiencing acne right now, I know it might feel like it’ll never end, but I promise it will.
Stick in there, there is a light at the end of the acne tunnel… and it’s packed with self-love, happiness and calmer, happier skin.
Acne taught me the importance of empathy
When I was struggling with my skin and mental health, the tiniest acts of kindness and compassion helped me so much. Whether it was my sister telling me I still looked beautiful with no makeup on, or my friends telling me I looked great with my foundation-caked, bumpy skin, little moments of kindness really helped me get through the bad times.
This experience has taught me to be extra understanding of other people’s ‘flaws’ and struggles, because I know just how much it meant to me. I don’t like to judge anybody on appearances or first impressions. You never know the struggles that could be going on behind the scenes.
Having acne taught me just how important it is to be patient, empathetic and caring to everyone you meet. I know that tiniest acts of kindness, or going out of your way to build someone up, can have such a huge impact on someone’s life.
What positives has acne brought to your life?
In a way, I’m glad I had acne. It’s taught me so many priceless life lessons! If you’re going through it now, know that you’re not defined by your skin, your body or your face. I know you’ve probably heard this a million times before, but it’s what’s on the inside that counts.
There’s always a silver lining to your struggles. Your dark days shape you and leave you a stronger person. So, whether it’s acne or something else that makes you feel insecure, I challenge you to find the positives and leave them in the comments of this post!
I hope you enjoyed reading my rambles! Before you go, why not have a scroll through some of my other acne content? And while you’re at it, make sure to follow me on Instagram.