Struggles Adult Acne Sufferers Understand

March 13, 2018  |  
1 of 15 washing her face

There are some struggles that we are promised will go away after adolescence. Growing into an awkward and ever-changing body, having uncontrollable mood swings, struggling with terrible fear and insecurity about what others think about us—those are all things that usually go away by our early to mid-twenties. But for some people, one obnoxious, emotionally painful, and irritating issue stubbornly hangs on: acne. And we just can’t embrace acne the way we can small breasts, a quirky laugh, or terrible dance moves (things many of us just don’t feel insecure about anymore once we’re adults). Acne isn’t some cute flaw you learn to love about yourself. It feels like a curse. It feels unfair. And it sits on an area of your body that you can’t cover up (because you’d suffocate). While everyone else blissfully goes out sans makeup, here are struggles only adult acne sufferers understand.

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Traveling without your products

Yes, you need to check a bag because you need to bring a ton of skincare products. No, you can’t just use the hotel soap or stuff you find in a gift shop. Your skin relies on very specific ingredients. You don’t have the luxury of just borrowing a friend’s face wash.

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Spending the night at a new date’s place

First of all, you can’t do impromptu sleepovers. If a guy wants you to sleep over, he needs to give you plenty of notice so you can pack your skincare products—especially if you’ll be going straight from work to his place. Second off, you keep your makeup on until he falls asleep, then wash it off, and reapply it before he wakes up.

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Having tried every product on the market

You have tried everything out there. Yes, everything. You’ve invested in every “miracle” product and revolutionary solution. If your friend recommends something, you’ve already tried it.

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And seen every specialist

You’ve also seen every specialist. You’ve seen the dermatologists who have “Helped people who couldn’t be helped!” as your friends said. But they couldn’t help you.

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Never getting to go out without makeup

You don’t so much as pickup takeout food without putting makeup on. Even if you’re just going to stay in after eating it. But you can’t risk running into somebody with your pimples showing.

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Spending too much on makeup

Thinking about how much money you’ve spent on makeup over the years makes you sad. Sometimes you feel like there should be a government program to help adult acne sufferers out, because you could be saving that money for your retirement.

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Hating public speaking

You hate public speaking. Even giving a toast at a birthday or engagement party makes you insecure. You feel like all anyone is thinking about is your acne.

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Everyone has the solution

Everybody thinks they know the answer to your problems. They insist you need to stop eating this food, or use this type of laundry detergent on your pillowcases. People assume you’re making certain mistakes that you are not making.


Staying home because of it

You’ve stayed home from things you really wanted to do because of a breakout. The next day, you’ve felt silly and sad about that. But at the time, you couldn’t stand the idea of going out with those zits.

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Friends who think they have acne

You find it pretty insensitive when friends with otherwise perfect skin complain to you about a “breakout” they believe they’re having. They really just have two tiny zits under their chin.

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That glimmer of hope over a new product

Even though you’ve been let down time and time again, you still feel a glimmer of hope when some new product comes on the market, claiming to be the solution to your problem.

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People think you’re high maintenance

People think you’re high maintenance because of how much time you spend getting ready. You only wish you were getting to spend that time on perfecting your eyeliner or curling your hair. Yeah right—it all goes to covering your acne.


The terror over meeting face to face

Meeting a guy in real life who you met online is terrifying. You can’t use photo shop or filters to cover your complexion anymore.


On those rare good skin days

On those rare good skin days, you want to go out! You want to hit the bars and go dancing. You really wish your friends would understand that and cancel their other plans and celebrate your good skin day with you.


Genuinely feeling it’s unfair

You often think to yourself, “So that awful, terrible, garbage person has perfect skin and I am cursed with acne? That’s not right.”

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