“I was born and raised in Braila, Romania. It is a city in the South-East of Romania, which is a very traditional area. The church is still very powerful here, and it has a lot of influence on Romanians.
For that reason, I believe that some parts of Romania are very traditional, and this greatly affects how women are viewed. Actually, before I go into my experiences with acne, I want to speak on the privilege that I have. First of all, people just expect women to be beautiful at any given moment in my country. I don’t deal with that. They’re always supposed to have clear skin and be fit. This is so unfair. No one can look their best at any given moment. I’ve seen how the pressure put on Romanian women has actually made them depressed. It’s so wrong. Men have no excuse because we don’t even have to live up to the same expectations. Of course, there are some minor standards to fulfill, but in no way do they compare to things women have to go through.”
“As for me, having acne has taught me how to be patient with myself. It has taught me to learn about myself. I tried to make it an opportunity to practice discipline and self-love in order to fight against the anxiety and the sadness. Before, I wasn’t aware of how acne could affect your mental health, until I went through it myself. I didn’t understand how wrong it was to underestimate the experience of having ance until I had acne myself. In short, choose to be kind because you really don’t know how the other person is feeling and what their mind is going through. You really don’t. It’s true that there will always be a situation that is worse than the one at hand, but a person’s suffering or anguish is always valid.”
Vlad discusses how pivotal it can be when you go through the experiences of others. “My perspective on acne changed when I saw my lifestyle changing around it. I used to cancel events because of my acne. Although I consider myself to be a social person, I suddenly felt insecure whenever I went out, and I always had this feeling of wanting to get out, to go home, and to be alone. I would panic. This was so different for me because I love being surrounded with people, especially those who make me happy. Before the pandemic, I even stopped going to the gym as well because of acne. When I completely changed, I suddenly realized how harmful acne can be to a person. It can prohibit you from being yourself.”
After seeing a dermatologist, Vlad’s skin began to heal, but he still faced problems with his self-image. “Mostly, I just have indented scars now, but there are days where I don’t feel good because of it. I wish I could always be okay, but I’m not. I know it’s weird for a person who supports skin positivity to feel like this, but in the end, we are human too, and we all have fluctuating emotions. My community helps me a lot. The support from the acne positivity movement makes the issues not live in my mind constantly. The support helps me live and work towards how I used to be. I don’t want to just survive.”
“My journey is far from over, and reaching self-acceptance is so hard. I wish it would be easy, but all I can say is focus on the little things that give you joy, please don’t distance yourself from your loved ones, and don’t give up the things you love to do, or your future goals.”