Introduce yourself – your name, where you are from, how old you are, your profession, etc.
I’m Isabella, I’m 22 and from the UK. My profession is a little complicated right now, lots of different things which I’m passionate about and lucky enough to get paid along the way!
At what age did you first develop acne?
I first started developing acne aged 9 so very very young. It means acne has been part of my life for 13 years!
How long have you been suffering from acne and/or acne scars?
After going on accutane I was pretty much acne free other than scarring and the odd cyst for 4 years but my acne has now returned albeit not as bad as it was. I would say I’ve been suffering from acne and scarring for 13 years.
Have you ever been depressed, suffered anxiety, low self-esteem, been bullied, etc. because of the acne you suffered?
I am unbelievably lucky to have never been bullied for my acne by children. However, I have received a completely absurd amount of comments and looks from adults my whole life. I suffer with low moods, anxiety and used to have incredibly low self-esteem, it’s something I’ve worked very hard to get out of.
Have you overcome these challenges or are you still facing them today?
There are definitely still some bad days but where I am now is so so different from where I was even a year ago. I love my life and I have learnt to accept and be okay with the fact my acne may be with me for the rest of my life.
How does social media affect you?
Social media has been amazing for me, I’ve found the most wonderful supportive community and made some genuine kind friends. Quite different to my previous interpretation of social media! Unsolicited advice is frustrating and of course trolls aren’t ideal. I find that any negativity reflects more on the individual than me.
What steps have you taken to try and improve your acne and did they work?
Everything from coating my skin in tea tree oil to antibiotics, creams, and Roaccutane. Roaccutane was the only thing that worked and kept my acne at bay for 4 years.
What are some things you wish people knew about what life is like living with acne/acne scars?
I wish people know how painful it is! On top of the unsolicited advice which is hard to deal with, the pain of acne is so underestimated. I also wish people knew that acne doesn’t define you, you can still do everything you’ve ever wanted to do with your acne.
Does your insurance cover acne/acne scar removal treatments or do you have to pay out of pocket?
I am so grateful that I live in the UK and the majority of my acne treatments took place when I was under the age of 18 and as a result were free. I am not on tablets for my acne at the moment due to other medical reasons so I just pay for skincare.
On average, how much money do/did you spend per month on over-the-counter acne treatments – as well as any prescription medication for acne – and do you believe they worked/are working for you?
I have absolutely no idea I expect hundreds of pounds on over the counter treatments considering how long it’s been. Luckily my prescriptions were covered by the NHS so it wasn’t something I had to deal with. Right now, my skincare products are working for me. My goal is to have healthy happy skin and to reduce the pain of acne.
Did you have a dream career that you did not pursue because of your acne?
No. I have the most incredibly supportive family network and although there have been times I doubted myself I have been determined for my acne to never hold me back. I do believe I can do anything whether I have acne or not. Right now my dream career feels very much in sight and I am excited for my future.
Have you ever faced prejudices in the workplace because of your skin?
I’ve had comments about my skin looking painful and lots of people telling me you can’t tell I have acne when I have make up on. I wouldn’t describe these as prejudices.
Did you avoid social gatherings because of your acne?
I have always been quite determined. Although I was incredibly conscious and aware of my skin I was always determined to not let it have a hold over me. So I would go to social gatherings but be very self conscious.
How has acne/acne scars impacted your self-esteem overall?
Gosh so much so. It’s only now I find beauty in myself and I have a much better self esteem. For years my self esteem has been low and I have always hated pictures of myself.
Are you currently working on your emotional health? How so?
Yes! It’s very important to me. I am spiritual so I manifest, I work on myself internally by working through the things that have affected me and finding positives/lessons. I love lists so I make lists of accomplishments and things I’ve achieved despite having acne. I refer back to these lists whenever I have moments of low mood or doubt.
What are you doing with your life today? Your career, emotional health, new goals, etc? Tell me about your Instagram account and what you hope to achieve with your account, etc.
With coronavirus, it has taught me you can never plan anything. Right now I’m achieving my dreams and not letting anything stop me. I won’t let others opinions or comments limit me and nor will my acne. I’m the happiest and most fulfilled I’ve ever been. I hope for my account to help me to continue to connect with others and to spread positivity and happiness to as many people as possible. You are never alone with a skin condition.
What advice can you give people who are currently struggling with their acne, acne scars or the emotional scars left behind?
It’s all going to be okay. Your worth is not equated to your acne, it doesn’t define you. You can be happy and positive despite having acne. I never thought I would be but I am. You can get through this and you are not alone.
Since joining the acne community online, has your self-esteem improved, stayed the same or worsened? What are your goals within the acne community?
It has skyrocketed! When I joined Instagram in July of 2020 it was more out of a determination to show others that I have acne and I didn’t care about their opinions anymore. I have scars, I have acne, I have textured but it’s okay and sometimes I find it beautiful like little drawings! I hope to one day reach acne neutrality and to keep making friends and connecting to inspiring people.
Follow Isabella’s journey on Instagram.