To people who’ve never suffered with acne, it’s no big deal.
A minor inconvenience that can be covered with makeup/fixed by drinking more water.
But if you have battled severe acne, you will know that it is a deeply upsetting and personal battle… one that makes you feel ashamed, ugly, frustrated. Not to mention the pain when you smile/talk/laugh.
I have suffered with acne for over sixteen years. And I’m not talking one or two pimples, although it has improved a lot in the last couple of years. I’m talking severe, cystic acne that was treated with two bouts of Roaccutane (known to cause anxiety and depression), expensive laser treatments in London and every lotion and potion you can imagine.
It never. laid. off.
One of the most frustrating things as an acne sufferer is the confusion between a breakout and acne. Spots are hormonal and can happen to anyone. Acne is a condition.
Which is why I completely related to what Lorde said a while back about the condition.
In an Instagram story, she lamented:
“You know what also sucks? “When you’ve had acne for years and years and years, done all the drugs, tried all the things, and people are still like, ‘You know what worked for me, is moisturizing!’”
“‘Make a mask out of honey, greek yogurt and avocado. All you need to do is buy an apricot scrub! Coconut oil – the secret is coconut oil!”
“Do you wash your face?” she joked. “It’s like, yes, I wash my face, I’m just genetically cursed.”
So what are the three words every acne sufferer HATES???
“Have. You. Tried.”
You can then insert some incredibly insulting and patronising comment – “eating less crisps, drinking more water, changing your pillow case, wearing no makeup”.
While these suggestions definitely come from a good place, and people are just trying to help, it perpetuates the idea that you are to blame for your acne. That your diet isn’t good enough, your bedroom not clean enough, your habits not healthy enough.
Changing your pillowcase will probably help if you have a couple of spots on your right cheek this week. It will not EVER cure acne, which is a hormonal problem that has no known cure.
So I implore you, if you know someone close to you battling acne, please PLEASE don’t start a loving sentence with ‘Have you tried…’