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Acne Angst
Writer, Age 18

Pimples. Everybody has them...EVERYBODY. But unfortunately, some people have way more than others do. I'm one of those people.

Aside from bad skin, I'd say I was an attractive girl. I have blue eyes and blond hair. I'm 5'6" and I've never struggled with my weight. I made As easily in high school and I never lacked friends. I had dates to the prom. I received scholarships for academic and musical talent, and I was accepted into all six colleges that I applied for, including three highly prestigious private schools. I live in an upper-middle class suburban neighborhood and I wear name-brand clothes. People think I'm funny. I have a strong Christian background. I eat dinner with my family almost every day, and my grandparents live two blocks away. From such a description, you could assume that I am a well-adjusted, happy, and successful 18 year old.

You assumed wrong. For the past six years, I woke up every morning, stumbled into the bathroom, looked in the mirror, and then looked away. They were always still there. Those awful, ugly, splotchy, red bumps that covered my ivory skin and made others glance away. I hated my face. I hated the way pictures turned out when I was in them. I hated all of the creams and face-washes and toners and antibiotics. I hated the way that my mom told me that it was a phase, and that she had to go through it too. I hated when teachers or TV characters or anyone mentioned the z-word or ACNE like it was some disease. I just wanted to crawl under my desk and disappear. I was embarrassed, unhappy, self-conscious, and I felt totally helpless. I became obsessed with my looks and I was constantly talking badly to myself about my appearance. I thought that if only I could change this one thing about myself, then I would be happy. If only my skin was clear...if only...

Things changed this summer. In March, I went to a new dermatologist, the billionth one that I'd visited, and she prescribed a new medicine. After five months of taking this dumb yellow pill every night, wearing sunscreen all the time, enduring a few bloody noses, and swiping chap stick on my lips every five seconds (the medicine dries up everything moist in your body), my skin is clear. CLEAR! Slowly but surely, the acne disappeared. I still have some minor scarring, but the doctor said that it should disappear in the next few months.

Now, I'm not here to sell the "magical" medicine that cleared up my skin. I'm here to tell those that have struggled with the same affliction one simple thing: nothing's changed. I'm still that blue-eyed, blonde, 5'6", straight-A earning, name brand-wearing girl, who eats dinner every night with her family. Applesauce and cottage cheese mixed together is still my favorite afternoon snack. I still jog around the block with my dog every evening around 10 p.m., and I'm still nervous about starting college. My friends are still my friends, and I'm still not in the popular crowd.

No matter who you are, how popular, smart, funny, or wealthy you are, you will still be the same person after your skin has cleared up. Something is going to work for you. Whether it's a medicine, a topical solution, or whatever else, your skin will clear up. But that's not the important thing you should focus on. Realize that people (the ones who matter, anyway) are not basing their opinions about you solely on your appearance. Granted, people notice your complexion. Don't you notice the girl with the huge butt? Or the guy with the gap between his teeth? Don't deny that you see the blemishes, the flaws, and the weaknesses of your friends. But you love them anyway, right? That's because we are all more critical of ourselves than those around us. Recognize that the people who love you see past your imperfections.

Though I was overjoyed that I finally found what worked for my skin, I was disappointed to realize that it wasn't the acne that had hindered my social status or prevented me from making the team. I have to be happy with who I am. I have to be confident. I have to smile and reach out to others. I have to be willing to make myself vulnerable in order to be strengthened. Those are the qualities I need to be successful and happy. I hope my story has altered the perspective for some beautiful girl out there, and I hope she realizes that acne is not who she is. SHE is who she is. Believe in yourself, girls, and refuse to let yourself miss out on life because of some dumb blemish...'cause everybody has them, you know.

Last Modified Date: 4/4/2001
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