What It’s Honestly Like Having Severe Acne In Your 20s


This article isn’t anecdotes of me being bullied because, truly and thankfully, those anecdotes just don’t exist. I was lucky to never have been bullied about it. This is my story of low self-esteem and what it’s like to deal with severe acne.

I was 13 when I first started breaking out. It was very mild, one here, two there but nothing I couldn’t handle. It wasn’t until the end of my sophomore year that it started progressively getting worse. Every morning I would find myself waking up and going straight to the mirror to see how many new pimples had appeared overnight. I would pick and prod, nothing could stop me. It was a habit.

I was becoming more insecure with every second that I stared in the mirror. I hated my acne, I hated myself and I took that war within me and let it affect the way I treated people. I was so angry and so defensive.

Some days I would wake up and there were so many cysts on my face that it hurt to emote. Of course, makeup couldn’t cover any of them, my face was drying out, I was losing control of it. I remember piling makeup and going to the mirror and looking closely and not being able to breathe. The make-up looked absolutely horrible. It was dry and cracked, if anything, it only emphasized my acne even more!

One time I woke my mom up crying, I told her there was no way I could ever go to school that I was so ugly and it wasn’t fair. All I could think about was how unfair it was that out of everyone, I had to deal with this. It had become my reality and I was alone.

It got to the point that I would ask God what I had done to deserve it. Why he had punished me with this fate. And I blamed him for it every single day because I just didn’t understand it. Why me? I wanted to be pretty so bad.

There would be times that it was very mild and other times, very severe but no matter what, I felt ugly. Hideous.

When senior year came around, I had never felt so self-conscious. I would wear makeup every single day. All the girls around me had stopped breaking out, they were “glowing up” and I was there with a million breakouts trying not to come off as insecure, trying so hard not to let it affect my life at school.

Somewhere in between, I was lucky to find my current boyfriend. To this day, I still don’t understand what he saw that made him want me but he did and I wanted him back. He didn’t care about my breakouts or my scaring and I was so grateful, but I still hated myself and the way I looked.

Not even his love could change that.

About 6 months ago, my parents were in The Keys for a few days and I remember waking up to go to work and completely breaking down. My face had completely broken out and I could barely move my mouth because of how much pain there was. I called my mom panicked and crying saying that it was so bad and how ugly I was and once again, how I didn’t deserve any of it! The pain, the scars, everything. It completely shattered the little confidence I had left. My mom convinced me to go to work so I put makeup on, took it off and reapplied it to try to make it look a little better. I got in the car, cried the entire way there and in the parking lot, I convinced myself to stop. I walked in and the second I sat down my coworker had asked me a question and I broke down once again. I ended up being told to leave for the day and so I did. I went home and cried and cried and cried.

At this point, I had stopped blaming only god and I started blaming the entire universe. I blamed every second leading up to that day, that moment.

It’s been a long journey. My acne hasn’t gone away but I stopped blaming everyone and everything. I stopped thinking this was a negative thing. I’m truly convinced that this has happened to me for a reason. I hate acne and it annoys me and I still take my self-esteem issues out on the people close to me sometimes but I’m much more understanding that this is out of my hands. I do everything I can to prevent it and I’m doing my best and that has to be enough.

I’m not alone in this journey. I’m not the only one with acne and I will never be the only one. I’m working on not being a victim to it every day that I wake up.