Having adult acne has been a real struggle for me over the past couple of years. Here’s what I’ve learnt whilst trying to cope with acne and understand my skin.
If you’re following me on Instagram, you might have seen me talk about my adult acne there. I was overwhelmed by the number of you who felt the same, and I’m so grateful for the support. But there were also lots of questions, so I thought I’d start to write more about my experience with adult acne here.
You might be asking, I’ve never seen that you had acne, and that’s maybe because I’m a really good photographer! But seriously what you don’t see behind the scenes is carefully arranged hair over my face, excellent lighting, and lots and LOTS of make-up. The funny thing is wearing a lot of make-up probably made my acne worse and made it go on for longer.
My skin isn’t perfect now, but I feel like I’ve come far enough on this journey to share what I’ve learnt and things that actually worked.
So often I see skin care reviews on blogs where they barely try the product for two weeks and they also have perfect skin to begin with. You know I only recommend things I’ve tried or that I’ve tested and when I think they really work. Believe me, I’ve tried so many things on this journey that I’d hate to count up how much money I’ve spent on my skin. Maybe I’ll go through the whole of painful story, but let’s start today with 9 things I learnt whilst having adult acne.
1. No-one has perfect skin
Seriously, no-one has perfect skin. Okay, maybe Cate Blanchett, but really we’re just chasing an idea that doesn’t exist. Even your friend with perfect skin will get the occasional blemish. You’re never going to look like that snapchat filter in real life. No-one does! So it’s really important to have a reality check and to make sure that your goal at the end of your acne journey is realistic. Trust me, it makes the whole process so much less stressful.
2. No-one looks at your face as much as you do
I definitely became more paranoid about my skin being a blogger. I’ve never taken so many close-up photos of my face and this made me more concerned about things that no-one else is going to notice.
We’re always examining our skin two inches away in the mirror, but think about how close other people are seeing it. Taking a step back really does take the stress out of the situation.
3. Confirmation bias is real
Confirmation bias is selective thinking where you search for evidence to prove your theory. It’s a scientific term, but basically think of it this way: it’s like when you buy a red car and then all the time on the road all you see are red cars.
When my acne started, all I saw around me were people with perfect skin. It made me feel even worse about what was happening on my face. I felt so alone. Luckily my husband Jim really picked up on it and he would help me notice that I was focusing on the wrong thing and not getting the whole picture of what was happening around me.
Acne is linked with depression, so be really aware of your confirmation bias and how it can affect your moods. Acne really knocked my self confidence. While I’m pretty outgoing, my self esteem isn’t always great and having acne really was a struggle. I started saying no to a lot of invitations and I isolated myself. Whenever I would go to work events (full of beauty editors and bloggers) I felt that they were all so perfect and that I had no place in the room. It’s also why I put off shooting videos because it is so much harder to hide in a video.
When I reflect, the thing that I am most disappointed about is how much I felt that my acne held me back. This lack of confidence stopped me doing the things that I wanted to do.
Acne is not your fault – it’s more common than you think and it’s okay to have acne. I realised how much value I was placing on my looks and I really let my acne affect me negatively. Pay attention to your confirmation bias and get the support you need to see the bigger picture.
4. Stress shows up on your face
The worst thing about having your self confidence affected and being more worried about your bad skin is that it makes your skin worse.
So incredibly frustrating!
It’s a similar situation if you’re suffering hair loss, which is also affected by stress. The problem just seems to keep going in circles, and getting bigger and bigger.
Your skin is only one part of who you are and it’s not the most important part by any means. Healing acne can take time, so find a way to manage your stress through the process. I believe in exercise and meditation, but find what works for you.
5. You can’t tell if skin care will work in a week
The frustrating process about healing your skin is that it takes a long time. You can tell straight away if you’ve got an allergic reaction to a product or if it doesn’t agree with you, but to know if it works can take a big investment of time.
This is why I recommend speaking to a professional and researching the ingredients before embarking on a new skin care trial. For a long time I just tried things that said they were for acne when really I needed to get smarter about the ingredients that really worked and what the actual problem was. I would have saved a lot of time and money.
6. Your face is like a map of your body
Where you’re breaking out on your face, it can indicate other problems within your body. In fact getting clear on why you’re breaking out and when it happens is key to helping you heal.
My skin issues were mainly hormonal because they were always around my chin and jaw area. Break-outs on your cheeks could indicate respiratory issues and between your eyes relates to your liver. It’s important to keep a record of when you break out and where it happens to really learn more about why it’s occurring. Keep a skin diary to help identify your patterns.
7. A cream won’t fix it
For so long I was looking for a magic potion or a single cream that would give me perfect air-brushed skin.
But it doesn’t exist.
I repeat, it doesn’t exist.
This was a really hard lesson for me to learn. Your skin is the largest organ in your body and it responds to everything that’s happening around you. Stress, diet and what you put in your body all contribute. You have to take a holistic approach to healing your skin.
8. Your diet is key
I’m not a dietician, so I’m not going to tell you what to eat, but I will say what you eat will show up on your face.
If you are having skin issues, I do recommend speaking to a GP or a naturopath to really work out the why it’s happening and how to fix it. I found my GP just really wanted to put me back on the pill to cure my acne. That may have worked in the short term, but that wasn’t going to be a long-term solution for me. Eating better and taking care of myself is key to a good skin in the long term. One diet I would recommend is the Dr Perricone anti-inflammatory skin diet.
9. It will get better
I know it feels like your adult acne is never going to go away, but trust me it does. The frustrating thing with skin is that it often takes six times longer to heal than it does for the spot to appear, but it will happen.
If you’re going through a similar situation, if I could tell you just one thing, it’s that it gets better and no one is as concerned about it as you are. Everyone is still just thinking about themselves, so you should relax and give yourself a break.
I’d love to know if you’ve experienced adult acne and what worked for you? And if you’d like to read the long post about my full skin journey, let me know and I will start working on it.