Acne is a true issue for teens: It’s time to treat it as such


Graphic by Maria Krug ’22

Teenage girls suffering from acne struggle to look in the mirror and be confident. Acne ruins their self-esteem and self-confidence making them more fragile.

Maria Krug ’22, Web Opinions Editor

I look down while walking through crowds of classmates hoping the fluorescent school lights won’t reveal the red bumps on my face. I shuffle through the halls praying to go unnoticed, only to be asked, “Why does your skin look like that?”

This is a scenario that many teenagers with acne (including me) have experienced. We try to play it off cool and then hastily change the subject, putting up a mask to hide our insecurity. Acne, as harmless as it may appear, can take a toll on teens’ mental health and immensely reshape self-love as well as self-esteem.

“Wash your face,” they say. “It’s easy.” “Drink more water,” they say. “Take better care of your skin,” they say. These are all misconceptions that those lucky enough to be born with clear skin make about acne. ”

Acne is a skin condition that affects around 50 million Americans every year. It is formed due to blocked pores from the oils created from an imbalance of hormones. With some cases more severe than others, this is an issue I have dealt with for five years and  I am only 16 years old.

The fact that acne is so common, one might expect there wouldn’t be any misconceptions about this condition.  However, this is not at all the case.

“Wash your face,” they say. “It’s easy.” “Drink more water,” they say. “Take better care of your skin,” they say. These are all misconceptions that those lucky enough to be born with clear skin make about acne. 

As someone who has sought help from six different dermatologists, and has spent a large sum of money on countless facial products, it isn’t nearly as simple as washing your face. Anyone grappling with acne knows the amount of money that is wasted on skincare products. From creams to face washes to pills, it all just results in money going down the drain because so many of these products don’t work.  

The shortage of empathy from misinformed people creates a damaging effect on the self-image of those afflicted by acne. Whether we realize it or not, our self-confidence is highly influenced by our appearance. 

I have previously skipped hangouts with my friends because I was having a bad skin day. People tell me that my acne is not as bad as I make it out to be, but when my face is the first thing others see, it is important to me that it not be the subject of discussion. Just knowing others are staring at my skin that is full of red marks and bumps, is really discouraging. 

Living with acne is a burden and it has been a long journey for me to venture out of the shadows and live my life more carefree. And while I am taking numerous steps in the process of getting rid of acne and truly accepting myself, I wish others would stop making hurtful comments and inadequate assumptions regarding acne.

It is hard enough waking up and seeing red spots all over your face, and having friends mention misconceptions surrounding acne regularly is much worse. I can’t change the acne on my skin, so I have no choice but to clear up the misconceptions thrown around by those who don’t struggle with this. 

You never know how much a mere comment regarding someone’s skin can impact their mental health; so before commenting on their acne, be conscious of the fact they cannot always change how it looks.