What I’ll Tell My Kids About Having Acne
Almost half of my life has been spent on camera. And of those eleven years, more than half of them have been ridden with acne struggles. When I was 15, I started sharing my fashion journey with the Internet and now at 26 years old, my content has shifted towards self-development, spirituality, and mental health advocacy. Alongside my content evolution lies an evolution in my journey to how I approach my acne and more importantly, how I approach loving myself.
Growing up on camera and for hundreds of thousands to see can only amplify your insecurities and your self-doubt, so learning to love yourself in an ecosystem like that can truly be an arduous task. It has left me with so much wisdom and allowed me to go far deeper than the surface in exploration of the self. Today, I wanted to share with you what I’ll tell my kids about having acne and the lessons I’ve learned.It is not your fault
It is not simply your pillowcase, your gut, your diet, your stress levels, your hormone levels, your genetics, lack of sleep, the makeup brushes you use, the towels you dry your face with, OR the beauty products in your routine. The list goes on… It unfortunately can, in fact, be all of those things, at the same time or a combination of them or none at all. The most frustrating thing about acne is that there may be a trillion (and one) causes for your acne, truly making it one of life’s hardest mysteries to solve.
While the journey to finding a solution can be exhausting and can feel supremely hopeless at times, it is important to understand that having acne is not your fault. Use this time in your life to learn to be gentle yet curious with yourself. Do your best in taking care of yourself and use this journey as a means to start prioritizing the areas in your life that call for optimization. If your sleep schedule is poor or your diet is less than ideal, use your acne as self-care motivation, but remember to never do it out of reprimanding yourself. Doing the latter may only exacerbate your acne. Seek self-care but truly try your best not to internalize the stigma or myths around having acne (being dirty, you don't wash your face, etc). It is not your fault.
However, it is through my own acne journey that I learned so much about nutrition and gut health and finally understood the value of getting a full seven hours of sleep daily. My life holistically benefitted from these areas of optimization. I am a self-care guru now!
Your self-worth is not contingent on the condition of your skin
Despite what the beauty industry and airbrushed images in magazines and billboards may have you believe, having acne is super normal. In a society that profits off our self-doubt, we are constantly programmed with certain beauty ideals and conventions that are neither representative of the diverse species of people we are nor are realistic. Many of my deep-rooted insecurities were intensified through acne, as acne became the medium I would use to self-loathe.
But the truth is, it is a very sad thing to diminish one’s self-worth to something as truly insignificant as the condition of our physical skin. Having acne forces you to look within and to love yourself in other ways than just what lies on the surface. I realized this the day I decided I wanted to be remembered for the lasting contributions I made to this world more so than the skin I had on my face. Remember that your physical vessel goes to wither and die while your soul (and its impact on humanity) does not. You are worth more than your skin.
Your pain can be your power
Along with the physical pain of having acne, there are psychological effects of having acne that can leave you emotionally scarred. However, I consider myself an alchemist, turning my trauma into triumphs and my pain into my power. It was through my journey with acne that I became more resilient in knowing who I was as a person—outside of my physical traits—because it taught me to cultivate qualities that withstand any physical condition or barrier such as integrity, honesty, kindness, and most importantly, empathy. I had a stronger awareness and empathy for others struggling with ANY part of their physical appearance, as it taught me to never judge anyone for what lies externally.
Once you have weathered the hardest days, it is truly hard to create a storm in anyone else’s world. Lastly, for the days my skin is not a major concern, I am ultimately left with gratitude for the ability to move throughout my day without worrying about my physical appearance. Something I easily took for granted long before this journey to acne has become a blessing. You, too, are an alchemist.
Want more acne wisdom? Meet Kali Kushner of @myfacestory