Acne: Some Bumps on the Road

“Are you looking at me? Or are you looking at the giant pimples inhabiting my face?”

For the past few months, these pimples popping up have lead me to mentally ask this question almost daily. When I talk to my friends, I know they see it. When I meet someone new, I’m scared to look directly at them. When I talk to my mom, she points it out. “You need to drink more water and wash your face properly”… which leads me to the next hypothetical/mental saying I find myself uttering under my breath very frequently.

“Yes, I wash my face. I might have acne right now, but I actually lather, rinse and repeat.”

My entire life, I have never had any breakout this bad. The most I’ve ever had to endure was a few pimples at a time on my forehead. When I look into the mirror today, (and for the past few months) I see acne scarring on my cheeks, hyper pigmentation on my chin, zits on my forehead, and pimples all over my very flawed complexion. A long time ago, I didn’t have to wear any makeup. Today, I have to conceal EVERYTHING. I never thought myself as the self cautious type, but lately I’ve been dreading the thought of people seeing me with a naked face. I’ve been dreading their judgement.

People judge you. They judge you based on the clothes you wear, by the size you fit, by the makeup you apply, and by the acne that  pops up on your face.  People judge you based on your appearance, and it’s a cruel thing. They don’t consider your personality, or your characteristics. They judge you based on your looks. If you have acne, they automatically think:

(1)you don’t wash your face, (2) you don’t moisturize, (3) you don’t want to spend money on serums and creams, (4) you eat junk, or (5) you just neglect yourself.

In reality: you’ve spent hundreds of dollars on treatments, hundreds of hours hating yourself in the mirror, and a lot of time trying to learn to accept yourself. This was me.

The other day on YouTube, I came across a bunch of videos pertaining to acne and acne treatments. One thumbnail in particular stuck out to me, so I clicked on the video.

This is Elaine Mokk, a girl with  cystic acne. She refers to it not as a skin condition, but as a “disease”. Though she’s been struggling her entire life to get rid of it, ignoring the rude judgmental stares along the way, she stays smiling. She has grown to love herself, and her acne is something that doesn’t bother her anymore. Here I am, with some scars and some pimples, and I’m acting like the world has come to an end. I need to stop.

With 10,000,000 views on this one video, the comments section reveal that Elaine has had a great influence on these millions of girls across the world. She is a beacon of hope and source of inspiration. She doesn’t let her appearance ruin her life, and I need to start doing the same.

I feel like this pertains to weight loss. When you weigh a certain amount, people judge you. They automatically think you don’t care about yourself, you let go, you eat junk all the time, and you don’t try to diet or exercise. In reality, however, you’ve done everything in your power to change.

Weight, just like acne, is one proponent of your appearance. It can really affect you, and it can also mess with your confidence. I say we all act like Elaine Mokk, and screw it. We need to love ourselves, before others can love us. By accepting ourselves for the way we are, we can allow others to accept our appearances too.

Acne is just a few bumps on the road. Fat is so, too.  We just got to cruise past it.

-Minh Thu Le P. 6

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