My name is Crystal, and I run a program for teens called Honestacne. I am 31 years old, and I first developed acne when I was 13. It wasn’t until one year ago that I found a skincare line that actually helped my skin. I had tried everything outside Accutane. I have spent more of my life living with acne than without it.
In High School, I was bullied by this one guy who picked on me every year. He called me butter face, and cake face. He would yell out loud mean things at social gatherings about my skin. He was really awful but I would say I was probably my biggest bully. I would wake up each day and count my new breakouts, I would call myself ugly in the mirror. I felt so ashamed and alone. I had seen many dermatologists and tried many things to help my skin. The anxiety of having acne led me to avoid sunlight, photos, mirrors, swimming, relationships, friendships, jobs & even learning opportunities.
I wish more people knew the deep mental pain and physical pain that acne can cause, maybe then they would be more understanding and kind. The impact acne had on my self-esteem is still something I work on. I am unlearning the negative dialogue I fed my brain the last 17 years. I am no longer my biggest bully. I am falling head over heels in love with myself, acne or not.
I didn’t learn to cope with my acne until I learned to understand that it didn’t define me. I had lost a loved one and suddenly I was faced with my own mortality and the idea that life isn’t promised. That was the pushing factor in creating this account. I had to release this heaviness. Making my Instagram account was essentially stepping into the light for me. Revealing my bare skin to the public internet was so scary but worth taking that step. It freed me of this mask I was wearing. Only my spouse and family had seen my bare skin up until then. The acne community helped liberate me. It was for the first time in my life I was surrounded by others who understood the struggle of having acne. I had never seen so many faces that looked similar to mine. The social media I was used to was filled with filters and highlight reels. I was grounded by the honesty of this community and still am.
If you’re experiencing anxiety, sadness, or withdrawal from social gatherings because of your acne. I want to remind you that tomorrow isn’t promised today is a present. You are the gift to this world. Don’t let acne keep you caged. You deserve to live every moment to its fullest. This world deserves to experience you not your acne.
Follow Crystal’s journey on Instagram.