Acne is one of the most common skin concerns that almost every woman has faced at some point in her life. Yet, the term ‘beautiful’ is almost always associated with clear, flawless and acne-free skin. Visit any beauty website or pick a magazine off the stands and you will find several articles on how to get rid of acne or how to conceal it. While there is nothing wrong with getting your acne treated, it isn’t something to be ashamed of. Nor do you always need to conceal it to feel confident and beautiful.
For some women acne does not end with adolescence, they deal with adult acne throughout their lives. The unrealistic beauty standards and negativity surrounding acne can make these women feel insecure and under confident.
This International Women’s Day we approached five women, who shared their journey of dealing with adult acne like a boss. They refused to succumb to the unrealistic standards of perfect skin. These are their stories.
- “I made friends with people who looked beyond the pimples on my face.” - Nicole Ruth Ellis
- “The biggest battle I had to fight was with myself.” - Sana Kurawadwala
- “I decided not to conceal my acne on my wedding day.” - Ami Palan
- “I have learned to be fine with it and to feel beautiful, with or without.” - Shobhana Rai
- “I felt like acne had become a part of my identity.” - Sanya Hamdani
“I made friends with people who looked beyond the pimples on my face.” - Nicole Ruth Ellis
“When I was 8, I started developing acne. And everyone around me (friends, peers, family, even strangers) made an effort to point it out. For the next 12 years, I had to battle people's opinions including my own. But during college, something changed. I made friends with people who looked beyond the pimples on my face. And that helped me get over the insecurity and learn to accept every facet of my skin, the good and the bad. Even today, however, summers mean severe acne flare ups and me accepting that those pimples will stay for a few weeks is a struggle. But I’m slowly learning to not let my acne be my only identity.”
“The biggest battle I had to fight was with myself.” - Sana Kurawadwala
“Like they say, the first ones are the worst ones. Because all you can think of is why me and what do I do about them? I got my first pimples when I was a teenager and just like any other under-confident teenage girl, I was petrified. I didn’t want to deal with all the unwanted questions that I had already anticipated. But the biggest battle I had to fight was with myself. With that urgent need to fix my face and my self-worth, I went to a dozen dermatologists, took various medications both oral and topical. They’d all work temporarily, but no permanent fix. After years of ‘why me’, I’ve realised that all you’ve got to do is fix your lifestyle, and most importantly, your head. Because you’re more than just a pimple and beauty doesn’t lie in the eyes of the beholder, but in the eyes of the HOLDER... which is you!”
“I decided not to conceal my acne on my wedding day.” - Ami Palan
“If they say acne goes away once you are an adult, don’t believe them! Adult acne is a thing and it has never left me alone, not even on my wedding day! During the days leading up to my wedding, people kept telling me to do something about it, because which bride wants to walk down the aisle with acne on her face, right? Wrong! To everyone’s dismay, I decided not to conceal my acne on my wedding day and just opted for a thin layer of foundation. Because if I don’t love the way I look, how is anyone else supposed to love me?”
“I have learned to be fine with it and to feel beautiful, with or without.” - Shobhana Rai
“I have a short love-hate story with my acne. I was diagnosed with PCOS three years ago and that’s when acne started to appear on my face and back. I panicked and started taking medicines, using more skincare products and altered my diet to a great extent. But nothing really helped.
Adult acne is a real and painful thing. People will make you feel terrible for it and remarks such as "So have you tried XYZ for your acne?" will pour in. But over the years, I've learned how to deal with it and not get affected by these comments. I have made my peace with it by not hiding it or covering it. As long as I'm eating well and following my skincare routine, I know I can keep it under control. But even if I have a sudden flare up, I have learned to be fine with it and to feel beautiful, with or without.”
“I felt like acne had become a part of my identity.” - Sanya Hamdani
“As a teenager I panicked when I saw what puberty was doing to my face, but my dermatologist assured me that it would soon go away. While I had accepted it as a phase that will soon be over, unsolicited advice came from everywhere, which constantly reminded me that I was in some way unable to meet the set standard of beauty. With time, I felt like acne became a part of my identity and that’s all that people saw in me. Things got worse when these flare ups accompanied me into adulthood. My confidence took a major hit and I avoided going out as much as possible.
It all changed when I became a beauty writer. This job gave me the confidence to be comfortable in my own skin. It gave me the opportunity to interact with women who use makeup to express themselves and not to hide their flaws. I have made peace with the fact that I have acne. but that doesn’t define who I am as a person because I am so much more than that pimple on my face!”