It’s easy to share acne tips, but it’s not so easy to talk about the mental effects that come from battling acne. If you’re going through acne, I want you to know that you’re not alone. Even skincare bloggers experience it too. In this blog post I’ll talk about what I’ve learnt about myself and my skin from having aggressive acne. Keep reading to find out more.
Acne, oh, acne. How can such tiny things affect us so greatly?
If you’re new to my blog, hi! My name is Jazmin and I’m a POC beauty blogger over here on A Beauty-full World, and I run a skincare-based Instagram account. I’m passionate about POC friendly skincare and beauty, and I love when I discover amazing eco-friendly but effective skincare brands.
I’m clearly no newbie to skincare. When I moved to university 5 years ago, I had pimples across my forehead and T-zone, but after working out what skincare worked for me, this largely cleared up. I haven’t had a bumpy forehead for years (thank you salicylic acid), and my cheeks and T-zone are much clearer. My skin tone is pretty even, which means I have never felt the need to wear any foundation or concealer.
Until now. Along my jaw and chin I have started developing deep cystic acne papules. For those of you who aren’t into the acne lingo, these are large (and angry) pimples. For women, acne in this area usually has a hormonal root, and I think this may be the case for me because I have long-suffered from irregular hormones which has led to other health conditions.
Cystic acne is painful, sensitive and kind of scary. Large papules like these are prone to rupturing when touching your skin, and they scar easily (they can even lead to pitted acne scars, the kind that leave little holes in the skin).
I’ve been dealing with this new acne for a few months now. It hasn’t been easy, but I’ve learnt a lot about my skin, my mental health and my general physical health because of this and now I’m ready to share this with you! The first points will be skincare the tips, and the rest will be more general health points.
I hope you find this useful.
Here’s what acne has taught me about skin health and mental health
1) Don’t pop your spots!
I know it can be so, so tempting to pop your spots, especially when they’re so full and sore. Popping them will give you temporary relief from the discomfort, but it always leads to more problems.
When you pop a pimple, you create a wound and leave it open to the introduction of bacteria. This means you’ll irritate the area, cause more redness and always inevitably it’ll produce another head.
With large spots, it’s especially important that you don’t give into temptation because this type of acne is prone to cause deep pitted scarring. This is the kind that leaves visible holes in the skin that can’t be treated except for with laser therapy.
The best treatment for papules that I’ve found are pimple patches. These are hydrocolloid stickers that are placed over the spot on clean, dry skin, and they absorb all the fluid within the pimple. I use these overnight and wake up to a flat spot. Usually, I only need one application, but particularly pesky spots will need a couple of applications. In my opinion, the best thing about these is that they physically stop you from touching your spots, keeping temptation of picking and bacteria at bay.
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2) Keep your skincare routines simple
Now that I’m having this skin flare-up, it’s forcing me to keep my skincare simple. And I’m actually grateful for this! I love trying different skincare products (hello, I’m a beauty blogger!), but simple is really best. Our skin can only handle so much, so I recommend finding what works for you and STICKING to it.
I’ve had the same simple skincare routine for over a year now because it just works for my skin. But because of this hormonal flare up, I’ve had to scale it back even further. Now I just cleanse my skin and follow up by a salicylic acid serum and SPF during the day. At night I just use moisturiser after cleansing, and a couple of times a week I’ll use a retinol cream to try and battle the acne.
So, regardless of whether you’re currently experiencing acne or not, I highly recommend keeping your skincare routines simple!
3) Acne hurts!
Before I developed this flare-up, I had small spots on my cheeks which were due to blocked pores. These were sometimes itchy, and I thought that’s as bad as it gets. But now that I have this new acne along my jaw and chin, I realise that acne can really hurt!
My pimples feel full, sore, sensitive, and the pain can be really deep like a bruise.
4) Be patient with your body
Rome wasn’t built in a day; it’ll take time for you skin to heal. As much as I’d like to get rid of my acne with one wonder product, I know that I need to give it time to adjust to new treatments. It can feel like eternity but it takes at least a month to see improvements when you begin using a new skincare product or begin a new treatment.
I’ve started using a new retinol product which I believe will help with my cystic acne- and I already want to see results! I’m trying to stay positive and remind myself that I need to be patient. Someone give me strength!
5) It’s not your fault!
Everything within the body is linked; nothing in the body works independently. This is the same for the skin! Changes in the skin can be linked to hormonal fluctuation, mental health including stress and anxiety and other underlying conditions (such as gut issues).
You can have the best skincare routine in the world and eat all the right things and suddenly start developing cystic acne because of something completely out of your control. Cystic acne usually has a deeper cause, so be kind to yourself and cut yourself some slack!
I highly recommend seeing a doctor or dermatologist if you develop new, significant acne because it can be a sign of different changes or unbalances within the body. I personally would head straight to my GP were it not for the current Coronavirus situation.
6) Acne can really knock your confidence
As I mentioned before, I was really happy with the state of my skin before this acneic flare-up. My skin was quite balanced and even in tone, and I was becoming more and more confident in my appearance.
Now I notice I’m self-conscious about my skin. Acne can make you feel like you have a target on your face, and that everyone will notice it when looking at you. And it’s worse when people comment on it!
But for the most part, this isn’t really the case. When I look at other people with acne, I see them as just that; someone WITH acne. The acne doesn’t define them. I try to remind myself of this fact to take some of the pressure off myself.
7) Try and be patient with others
For the most part, when people comment on your acne, they’re just trying to be helpful. But this doesn’t stop the comments, looks and unsolicited advice from being annoying or hurtful!
Although people mean well, it can definitely be frustrating when people give you advice that you don’t ask for, especially when most people with acne have almost tried it all!
And it’s certainly not pleasant when your grandma repeatedly says she wants to pop your spot. Anyway, moving on…
I hope that you found these 7 points useful. Acne is so complex, and it can be such a blow to our confidence and self-esteem. Try to stay positive and investigate the potential causes of the changes in your skin if you have the means to.
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Bye for now,
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