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Student Confessions: What it’s like living with acne

Welcome to Student Confessions.

This is series that will talk about sex, relationships (sexual and the friend kind), fear of failure, self esteem and feelings of social anxiety.

At The Footnotes, we try to have the hard conversations that we believe young people are thinking but might be too afraid to talk about.  That fear is rooted in shame and we’re trying to defeat some of the shame in this series, Student Confessions.

When I was 15 I gradually noticed pimples appearing on my face. My mum bought me face wash, bought me a facial and then started riding me about washing my face every morning and every night. None of it worked. Every few weeks it would clear up and she’d say, “look, see – make a habit of washing your face and things will get better.”

But so started a pattern that would go on for about 2 years: awkward acne.

The on-again-off-again relationship – and as a result, my only relationship.

I’m so sick of the acne, so sick of being made insecure by something so stupid.

Everyone says, “I don’t even notice your skin,” but in saying that sentence, it means they already have, right?

I have spent hours reading acne forums and beauty articles about how to clear your face, or my favourite, “why you shouldn’t worry about bad skin.” The people that write those “how to overcome the stress of bad skin” articles, usually have perfect skin.

I wish I felt like I could leave the house without makeup and still look acceptable.

And I also wish that people would stop judging me for wanting to wear makeup to school, or out with your friends when boys are around. I know people would be saying that I “don’t look like that without make up on.” – no duh. Of course I don’t – you idiots – I have horrible skin.

Is it worth getting upset over? No, because it will pass. It’s just part of being a human and I know that. I also know that we are living in a time where flaws are more readily accepted than ever before. But it is easy to get jealous when you see other people with great skin, and it is easy to feel ashamed about yours.

But what I have learnt is that people like me, who feel embarrassed about my appearance, tend to shame each others.

I hear myself talking about other girls, “I can’t believe she wore that.” – Or I hear someone talking to me, and I ignore them, knowing I’ll make them uncomfortable. Why do I do it? Because I am ashamed of me and my skin – so I feel like I have something to prove. So much of my social life and how I exist around others is a result of my insecurities.

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