Mentally, acne is a very challenging experience, and that is nothing to be ashamed of. If you read the skin stories of people in our community, many of them described feeling less than and personally responsible for their acne at one point. However, like most things, the majority of what we've been taught about skin comes from society. And as many of us are aware, these societal lessons can feel very unforgiving and invalidating. But, in reality, they’re often untrue. That’s why we’re sharing 3 comforting thoughts that can help reframe damaging beliefs about acne.
Acne is not a character flaw.
When it comes to physical features, people often assign meaning, worth, and value to them. Psychology researchers describe how our interactions with beauty standards and the media inform how we understand beauty. Furthermore, what we believe to be beautiful leads us to form beliefs about what is morally good. Through our experiences with media and social interactions, we not only form beliefs about what is attractive but also what is morally good. And when it comes to acne, people who have acne are not commonly portrayed in the media, and this conveys being unseen.
Without inclusion in the media, social interactions become the primary resource for how underrepresented people understand beauty. And when these experiences are not positive, we can start to form more intense negative self-beliefs because of our acne. However, acne is simply something that’s a part of our bodies. It’s unfair to assign moral value to bodies because oftentimes, the features we have are not a choice. A body alone cannot bring about moral good or bad. It’s our choices, behaviors, and thoughts that impact the world. So, acne is not a character flaw. It’s not something that makes you good or bad. The quality of your character belongs in your hands.
Acne is not your fault.
Furthermore, acne is not your fault. Many people who experience acne are made to believe that they’ve done something like uncleanliness or diet to put themselves in a situation. But, the truth is acne is rarely caused by uncleanliness or even diet. Yes, you can have a breakout because of not completing your skincare routine or a certain ingredient, but chronic or ongoing acne is inflammation of the skin, it’s clinical, and you may have to seek treatment. Of course, chronic acne can feel disheartening because it brings about feelings like loss of control. But, you can ground yourself in the knowledge that chronic acne is not a reflection of your intelligence, capabilities, or hygiene.
A breakout is not a failure.
We previously mentioned treatment. When you experience a treatment plan that works, it’s completely valid to feel a wave of relief. Keep in mind though, our bodies and skin change, and as a result of these changes, sometimes breakouts might happen. But, this is not because of something you did wrong or because you’re not enough. It’s because you’re human, and you don’t have to be perfect for the sake of clear skin. You don’t have to be perfect at all. It’s the good we bring to the world with our behavior that matters. Also, there’s no shame in seeking treatment for behavior or mental health either, especially when we’ve had damaging experiences.
Overall, it’s important to help your body in any way you can, and that includes your mental space as well.