You’ll grow out of it, they said. It’s perfectly natural, they said. Well, here I am with a face full of adult acne vulgaris being extremely natural with no light at the end of the benzoyl peroxide tube.
My face started breaking out when I was around twelve years old, before most of my peers did. To this day, I recall a female classmate telling me I should really do something to treat and cover up my unsightly blemishes. This was before I started applying pounds of makeup to expertly conceal the casualties of enlarged, clogged pores. Those monsters on my chin were there for everyone to see.
That is one of the major misconceptions about acne I think – that the sufferer is unclean and therefore ridden with pimples. I don’t even want to know how many collective hours of my life I have spent scrubbing my face and applying various ointments and creams. Even worse, how many hours have I spent covering and setting with concealer, foundation and powder? If I could take back all the money I’ve spent on products and cosmetics, I could go somewhere really nice for spring break this year.
The acne continued to prevail all throughout middle and high school with slight reprieves here and there, but I was never really clear. For most of my adolescence, I did not have a clear spot on my forehead. I used everything from Clearasil to Proactiv to straight up witch hazel and toothpaste with the little red monsters fighting on.
I finally caught a break last summer when my face completely cleared for the first time in my adolescent/early adult life. It was glorious, and I felt like I could take on the world with my porcelain skin, freckled only slightly from the sun.
It was nice while it lasted, but I came back to Stevens Point and my army of invaders attacked full force, this time with a vengeance. I broke out like I never have before, the redness spreading on every inch of my face and down my neck to my chest and back.
While it has calmed down now, I am left with the aftermath of marks that will take months, possibly even years, to fade. I have since seen a dermatologist and received a prescription. Time will only tell what that will do.
While I know my condition is not as severe as others’, it has been enough to cause hours of obsession and worry throughout the years.
In the meantime, after being self-conscious for so many years, I have finally accepted my face as it is – more colorful than most. If I need to go somewhere without makeup, I do it. If someone at the grocery store is appalled by a few red marks on my face, then they are the one with the problem – not me.
There are bigger things to worry about in life than imperfect skin. Where will I move after college? Who will be the next president? These questions will be upon us before we know it, crystal clear skin or not.
News and Environment Editor