5 Things A Mashion Staffer Wishes She Knew As A Teenager With Acne

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When I entered my teenage years, I started noticing a multitude of tiny bumps on my forehead and blackheads on my nose. As I entered puberty, those small pimples became huge cysts that appeared on several parts of my face.

I felt absolutely devastated because I never imagined my skin could ever look this way, I was ashamed to look at myself in the mirror. Everybody around me told me to take a deep breath, that the bumps and scars both would eventually go away. There was a plethora of desi totkas and while most of them didn’t do anything at all, some of them just reduced the redness for a day or so. My mum never allowed me to take accutane, which seemed like the only possible long-term solution for me. I was exhausted by trying out new topical treatments that weren’t quite effective either. 

This cycle continued for several years until the COVID-19 pandemic hit, and I spent the entire day exploring skincare and understanding acne. It’s safe to say that this was the moment my cystic acne took a turn and finally started clearing up because my perspective toward my skin completely transformed.

Here are 5 things that I’ve rounded up from my experience I wish I knew as a teenager with severe acne:

It Doesn’t Get Better With Time – You Need To Take Action

If you don’t treat your acne because you think that it will eventually get better with time, please stop because it won’t. I wasted a lot of time holding on to this belief, and it just made matters worse. Even though at this point my active acne is much better, the scars are still taking a lot of time because they don’t go away easily. Start working on your skin today, or the teenage acne will soon become adult acne, which is way more chronic.

Educate Yourself About The Skin’s Anatomy And About Skincare

Learning about my skin and then taking targeted action is the most significant step that transformed it. I spent time understanding how the skin works, the factors that might be contributing to my acne, and the ingredients that would help curing it. This education was easily accessible to me through Youtubers such as Cassandra Bankson, Hyram, and Susan Yara, who properly explain how various ingredients (eg. AHAs, BHAs, benzoyl peroxide) work and improve the skin’s texture.

Diet And Stress Do Play A Key Role

I never thought that my eating habits and mental health could contribute toward my skin’s health. In fact, each time something came up regarding this in an article or video, I would skip those parts and would roll my eyes every time my mum told me to drink more water. Our skin is the body’s largest organ, so what we take inside shows on the outside. However, don’t expect your acne to clear up by simply drinking more water or eating healthy. You need to follow a good skincare regimen, drink more water, eat healthy, and take care of your mental health to see a significant difference rather than just doing one of these things.

Be Careful With DIYs – They’re Not Safe All The Time

Once I applied a milk and turmeric mask on my face after watching an internet video, hoping that it would show the results promised in the video. A few hours later, my face was full of huge cysts and pustules, giving me an emotional breakdown. Please, please, please patch-test before applying any new ingredient, whether it’s organic or not. I learnt this lesson after this incident and found out that I’m allergic to turmeric. Also, natural does not mean safe so please be mindful before applying any organic ingredient on your face.

Breathe – It’s Okay

Last but not the least, repeat after me: It’s natural to break out. I want healthy skin, not perfect skin. Your skin does not define your worth. Acne is a skin condition and taking care of your skin shouldn’t just be just cosmetic, it’s also about looking after your overall health. Please stop feeling bad about yourself by looking at the “flawless” skin of influencers – it’s often a filtered, distorted reality. Start taking informed action and be persistent, and you will certainly achieve healthier skin.

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