Don’t hide who you are because of acne!. Photo: Harpazo_Hope / Getty Images
Updated August 26, 2014.
Nearly everybody has had to deal with acne at some point in their lives. Whether your acne is mild or more severe, it can change the way you feel about yourself, and the way you relate to the world. Living with acne doesn’t have to define you. Learn how to build yourself up while waiting for your acne to clear up.
Know That You’re Not Alone
Acne is the most common skin disease in the United States. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, over 17 million people suffer from acne. It affects:
- 80% of teens
- 25% of all adult men
- over 50% of all adult women
Although it is easy to feel isolated when you’re suffering from acne, you are not alone. Most teens, and many adults, also suffer from acne.
Don’t Wait to Begin Treatment
Probably the best advice you can take regarding acne is to begin treatment as soon as possible. Do not take the wait and see approach. The earlier you begin treating acne the better, not only for your skin but also for your self-esteem. This holds especially true for teens.
- Start treatment early. Don’t wait to see if it will resolve on its own, and don’t wait for your child to grow out of it. By starting treatment early, often acne can be controlled before it has the chance to progress to a more serious form. Treating acne early will help minimize breakouts and reduce the chances of scarring.
- Resolve to see a dermatologist. If your acne has already worsened, there is still hope. See a dermatologist right away. He or she can develop a treatment plan to help improve your skin.
- Give acne treatments and medications time to work. Improvement will take time. Try to be patient and give your skin a chance to heal. Wait at least three months before deciding a treatment isn’t working.
- Be consistent with your treatments. Use your acne treatments or medications every day, as directed. Consistency is key. And although it’s tempting, don’t hastily jump from treatment to treatment in your quest for clear skin. Consistent use of treatment medications will control your acne given time.
- Stick with proven treatments. Try not to be sucked in by products claiming to “cure acne” or those that promise clear skin “in one week.” Most of these products have not been tested for efficacy. Your best course is to stick with proven treatments.
Care for Your Skin Daily
In order to get the best possible results from your acne treatment medications, you should be caring for your skin on a daily basis. A good daily skin care regimen will ensure you get the most from your acne treatments, and help improve the health of your skin.
- Use a gentle cleanser daily. Cleanse your face just twice daily with a gentle cleanser. Resist the urge to wash more often or scrub at the skin.
- Choose hair care products carefully. Oily or greasy hair care products may exacerbate acne. Try to avoid them. Also, shampoo hair daily, especially if hair is oily. Do your best to keep your hair pulled back or off your face.
- Conceal your breakouts, if it helps you. Concealing breakouts is important to most acne sufferers, especially teens. If you must wear makeup choose one labeled oil-free and noncomedogenic. Your dermatologist can also recommend tinted acne medication creams that help conceal breakouts as they heal. Boys in particular may want to try some of these tinted creams.
- Shave with care. Men should avoid shaving over acne breakouts as much as possible, as it will further irritate the follicles. Try using an electric razor and shaving as infrequently as you can get away with.
- Don’t pick at your “pop” pimples. Resist the urge to pick at the skin. Doing so not only increases your chances of scarring, but also raises the possibility of infection. It also lengthens healing time and can worsen acne.
Take Time to Nurture Your Self-Esteem
It isn’t unusual for those with acne to feel self-conscious about their skin. Teens especially have the tendency to feel embarrassed, ashamed, or even angry about having acne. Sometimes these feelings can progress to anxiety or depression, and ultimately hurt your self-esteem. Try your best to focus on treating yourself well while waiting for your acne to heal.
- Take care of yourself. Eat well, get enough sleep, exercise. Taking care of yourself gives you another focus and a reason to feel good about your body.
- Focus on matters other than acne. Make time for things you enjoy. Get your child involved in activities where they can excel. Taking the focus off of acne and onto something positive helps boost self-confidence and self-esteem.
- Take your feelings, or those of your child’s, seriously. Acknowledge your or your child’s feelings of embarrassment or sadness. These feelings are common to those who have acne. Teens particularly find dealing with acne difficult. Just having someone listen without judgment can be helpful.
- Be alert to the warning signs. Avoiding social situations, extreme discomfort or anxiety about the appearance, depression, isolation, and thoughts of suicide are all warning signs that should be taken seriously. If you or your child displays any of these signs, please talk to your doctor right away.
Don’t Give Up Hope
Rest assured, acne is a temporary problem. Hold on to the knowledge that nearly 100% of acne cases can be successfully controlled with time and the right treatment. Focus on caring for yourself and your skin, and feel good about seeking treatment.
Remember, acne does not define who you are.