Chrissy: “Don’t Shy Away from Who You Are.”

I started getting acne when I was 10. And obviously, not very many people of that age have acne. I got a lot of comments, and that made me feel like I was different. It was definitely a struggle to get it so young. Having skin like that didn’t feel normal, and I would get fringe or bangs to cover it up. I was always very shy going out, and if my friends would invite me out, I would always find excuses.

I was very much the friend that was on the outside looking in. As I said before, I was very shy. And even though they invited me places, once I was with them, they actively excluded me. It was almost like I was the friend that they bullied, but I didn’t realize it at the time. They would tell me, “It’s just a joke!” I tried to believe it was a joke, but in the back of my mind, I was thinking - “Is this really a joke? Is there something wrong with me?” When I was younger, one of my friends drew a cartoon picture of us together. She drew herself, and then me, but she drew me with all of these spots. That really affected me. I laughed it off because I didn’t want her to know how much it had.  When I was around them, I always felt very emotional, tense, and down. I’m not friends with the people that I used to be friends with, and when I separated myself from them, I felt more relaxed overall.

I suffer with anxiety and depression, but back then, I didn’t realize it. I didn’t get diagnosed until I was 18. Because of my anxiety, I’ve passed up opportunities, and now, I try and tell myself - “you can’t let the anxiety rule and ruin opportunities.”

Sometimes, you’ve just got to go for it. It helps to take small steps.

When I went on to further education, I separated from them and made new friends, but I still battled with some of the same things. When I was taking a beauty course, a teacher said, “You all are adults. You shouldn’t be getting acne, but there I was with a full face of acne.” Again, I was stuck feeling like - “Is there something wrong with me? Why do I have acne when she’s saying that I shouldn’t have acne?” But now, I understand that acne isn’t just for teenagers.

I also care a lot less. I used to cover up with foundation, but now I tell myself - “You look how look, and you don’t need to cover up. If someone doesn’t like it, that’s their problem, not yours.” In the UK, the beauty standards are very difficult, but you have to remember not to compare your skin to what you see online. A lot of the skin you see in pictures and even in videos is very edited. They often have smoothing filters applied that look nothing like real life! Always remember perfection doesn’t exist, no matter what social media tells you. Don’t compare yourself to the people online because a lot of the time, the people online don’t even look like the people online.

Also, acne is a journey so keep it simple.

That’s why my main goal is to grow my page further and to be a bigger voice and a positive influence on others with acne. I want to create a space where others can share their journeys without the judgement or fear of being judged. I also aim to help break the stereotype that only teenagers get acne.

People of all ages can live with acne without there being something wrong with them.