Although many people see acne as an issue that only teenagers deal with, plenty of college students deal with acne as well. It doesn’t matter whether it’s one or two pimples or if acne covers most of your face– those little red bumps can do some serious damage to your confidence.

I used to struggle with relatively severe acne. Because of this, I struggled with self-confidence and thought I could never feel pretty. I would cry and worry for hours before any party or social event because now matter how much work I put into feeling beautiful, I still felt ugly. I could never figure out why, even when I covered my acne, I felt worthless. I still don’t know why I felt this way.

It’s important we think about how we react to and deal with these blemishes in our appearance. Because, in the wise words of J-Law:

Even if no one bullies you or points out your acne, it still hurts to have others notice. It hurts when people ask if you wash your face (I mean, really? You think I haven’t tried that?), or when people tell you it will simply go away when you’re older. It hurts when all you want is to feel confident and comfortable in your skin, and yet this seemingly minor issue keeps tearing you down.

I know this is not the case for everyone, but after eliminating certain foods from my diet and replacing them with new foods (in conjunction with taking antibiotics) my face cleared up almost entirely.

So if I am walking around with a clear face, why am I writing to you about this now?

I want to tell you how my acne made me stronger. It made me realize that even when I feel absolutely incapable of something, such as showing up and having a good time at a party with acne, I have to push myself and do what’s best for me, despite how I feel. You should not have to hide and miss out on all of life’s experiences just because of your acne.

Constantly having marks on your face makes it difficult to step outside of your comfort zone. It’s harder to try new things, or do things that you think might result in judgment from others, because you feel like your acne is holding you back even more.

But you should do those things anyways. When my acne was at its worst, I still went to social events. I still got up the courage to speak in front of a class filled with students, or to go confidently into job interviews. I still went about my daily life, and tried to live it to the fullest, even when I felt hopeless about my face. It seems almost silly to say that blemishes on your face can make it hard to get through the day, but I know that the people out there who have experienced living with acne will understand what I mean. Pushing through the struggle will help you build courage.

Even more importantly, having acne has made me more empathetic. I’ve learned that you should not judge a person without first understanding the full picture. Images and looks are deceiving: you never know what a person is going through on the inside.

In hindsight, I shouldn’t have had to feel so ashamed because of my acne. If you are dealing with acne right now, know that you don’t need to feel embarrassed. No one will think any less of you because of those tiny, insignificant marks on your face. Maybe they will clear up in the near future, or maybe they won’t. But you are still a beautiful, awesome, amazing person who can do anything and everything, acne or not.

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