My story spans over two decades and has influenced much of my life and assisted in shaping the person I am today.
To start, let’s mention how acne isn’t something a child thinks about unless they’ve personally known someone who has dealt with it. And since I didn’t have any friends or family members who suffered from acne, nor was this skin disease represented in any of the television shows or movies I’d watched, or books I’d read as a child, I didn’t even know what acne was, let alone what it looked like.
I was 13 when I had my first of many breakouts. And by the time I entered high school, what had started out as a handful of pimples on my face at 13 became painful, swollen cysts along my jawline, cheeks, and temples. No matter how many times I visited the dermatologist, no matter how many OTC products I used over the years, and no matter how many prescription drugs and creams I’d used, nothing worked to clear up my cystic acne. I had tried changing my diet, my sleep routine, my shampoo and conditioner, my laundry detergent…still, nothing worked. Acne plagued my life until my late 20s and affected every single aspect of my world: how I viewed myself, how I believed others viewed me, how I felt about social settings, how I watched film and television, whether or not I left the house, went to a job interview, or if I got out of bed in the morning.
Here was my dilemma: nobody educated me on the impact that acne has on mental health. And when nobody discusses with a chid the emotional and mental consequences that may arise from a chronic inflammatory disease on their face and body, that child is very likely to bottle up their feelings, only for it to come out in other, unhealthy ways. And that is exactly what happened to me.
My teen years, into my mid-20s, were spent battling cystic acne, chronic migraines, depression, social anxiety, low self-esteem, anorexia, and self-harm. For so long I felt unlovable, unworthy, unattractive, undesirable, depressed, anxious, and hopeless. And for so long, I didn’t believe enough in myself to change the things I could control that would have had a positive impact on my mental health and future self.
But my story is not unique.
According to a global acne market report, “more than 90% of the world population is affected by acne at some point in their life.”
I founded The Acne Effect in 2019 to raise acne awareness and educate the public about the impact that acne has on mental health. With your support, we can help end acne stigma and stereotypes that have a destructive impact on mental health and interfere with the healing process of acne-related traumas. Nobody should suffer from this chronic inflammatory skin disease because they lack the proper education and the tools needed to help aid in their mental health. We can help.