I remember when I was 13, watching a tv show on Nick at Night and the main character, a teen navigating the roller coaster that is high school, got a pimple. It was invisible to the naked eye because, perfect Hollywood skin, but a motherly character in the show offered this nugget of wisdom,
“Oh honey, just rub a bit of toothpaste on it and it will dry up in no time.”
That was the year I started to get breakouts, and believe me, I tried toothpaste. I tried steaming my face with a hot towel. I tried every over the counter spot treatment that my measly allowance could afford.
Having a clear complexion, even at the tender age of 13, was more important to me than buying a new computer game, pair of shoes, or lipgloss. I wanted to get rid of my unsightly pimples more than anything.
At 29, the feeling has not changed.
The difference? There are no sitcoms with cute anecdotes about 29 year olds needing to clear up a breakout. My friends are far from their days of acne riddled frustrations leaving me without the support system I had in my youth.
My meager allowance has turned into a solid paycheck, so at least now I can afford to invest in my complexion, but that’s still the thing I choose to invest in. After all these years, I just want clear skin.
Adult Acne Is On the Rise
Apparently I’m not alone.
In 2012, the American Academy of Dermatology published data on acne sufferers in the U.S. They found that more than 50% of women between the ages of 20 and 29 deal with acne. 25% of women between the ages of 40 and 49 do too!
And the numbers continue to grow.
Dermatologist, Ainah U. Tan, MD, explains that a major factor in adult acne prevalence is fluctuating hormones, which makes sense for teens deep in the throes of puberty. But are those of us in the 29-35 age bracket really having that many fluctuations? Apparently.
Add to that inherent biological factors like increased sebum production and skin cell reproduction and you have the perfect acne-causing storm.
When I was in college, a very cute boy asked me on a date. I. Was. Ecstatic. I donned a stylish outfit, curled my hair, and put on a moderate amount of makeup.
Guys don’t like girls with a cake face.
But from what I’d heard, they don’t like girls with acne either, so I tried to find a midway point.
We went out to dinner and as a broke college kid who wasn’t paying, I splurged and ordered a soda.
The server barely left the table before my date looked at me and said, “You know, if you stop drinking soda, your acne will clear up.”
I was mortified. I tried to keep up appearances throughout dinner but I ended the night crying into my pillow.
I stopped dating for a while after that.
When I was met with the option of cake face versus pizza face, I chose cake face every time. I never left my dorm without a full face of makeup. I didn’t go swimming with my friends, since I couldn’t risk an activity that would force me to get my face wet. Even heading to the gym was cause for completing my beauty routine.
If a group of people were headed to grab breakfast at 1am, as newly independent college freshman like to do, I declined if I had already washed off my makeup for the day.
My social life was ruled by my acne and I was depressed.
Science Says, Acne Causes Depression
One study looked at the effects acne has on a person’s quality of life. It concluded that not only does acne contribute to psychological trauma like depression and anxiety, it also creates other issues like, self esteem problems, social isolation, and body dissatisfaction.
To that I say, DUH.
Obviously I’m going to have body dissatisfaction when I’m embarrassed to leave the house without spending an hour in front of the mirror hiding every little spot and bump.
Add to that the prevalence of overly edited photos and videos thrown in my face on all the media I consume, from the apps on my phone to the movies I watch. Everywhere I look, I’m presented with a standard of beauty that feels impossible for me to achieve.
In her practice, Dr. Tan sees women trying to blame themselves for their acne, whether they attribute it to a bad diet or lack of exercise.
Many women, myself included, want to feel in control of our lives. We’re high functioning with jobs, children, and a slew of responsibilities. When a problem arises, we’re the ones that people to turn to for a solution. Not in the case of acne though, and it’s leaving us defeated.
In fact, some dermatologists have started including emotional resources in their offices to help patients cope with all aspects of their skincare.
Let’s Lose the Stigma
Deciding to accept your acne is easier said than done. Getting society to change their views on acne is even harder. But you don’t have to start a hashtag-free-the-pimple campaign to make a difference, because someone else already did.
Louise Northcote, Britain's Next Top Model finalist started the movement to open up a community of people who could share their acne trials and triumphs while normalizing breakouts.
Other celebrities, like Katy Perry, Zendaya, and Kate Bosworth, have jumped on the bandwagon to tell their acne stories and send the message: ‘It’s normal, we all deal with it, no shame.’
I’m not suggesting you toss out that $40 bottle of Urban Decay full coverage foundation. Maybe just give yourself permission to leave the house without spending an hour putting on your face sometimes, or without an emergency tube of concealer in your purse (note to self).
If You’ve Got It, Treat It (Acne, that is)
As a fully grown adult human, I’ve never stopped looking for ways to clear my skin.
Yeah, I still get depressed about my acne, but I’m not ready to give up hope just yet.
Then I discovered Averr Aglow.
I was amazed; not only to find a product that’s changed the lives of thousands of women, but to find a like-minded woman with similar afflictions who was tired of the garbage marketed to acne-sufferers and took matters into her own hands.
A month into using my Clear Skin Kit from Averr Aglow and my self esteem has already begun to rise. I’m still in the dreaded purging stage, but I can see an overall improvement in the tone and texture of my skin.
I’ve learned so much about why I have acne and what it takes to treat it. I’m starting to understand the importance of natural ingredients, exfoliation, and a healthy lifestyle.
The biggest change? I’ve started leaving the house without makeup on. Don’t get me wrong, I still have red spots and my fair share of breakouts as my skin begins to balance and heal. But I am more confident in myself. I can see past the bumps to the girl underneath and I like her.
Obviously I wish I could’ve skipped the acne aspect of the last 16 years. But maybe my experience can help yours end a little sooner. Have you tried Averr Aglow yet? It’s time, everyone deserves clear skin. Everyone.