Welcome to The Skinfidence Series! In partnership with Skinscience Africa, our goal is to document the experiences of Nigerian women dealing with self esteem issues caused by acne, bleaching, hyperpigmentation and other skin concerns, because it isn’t irregular. As a woman, it’s natural to experiment with skincare products and sometimes due to usage of too many products or the wrong types of products for your skin type, it leaves you feeling self conscious and insecure. Other times, it simply just has to do with genetics and hormones and isn’t at all self inflicted.
Like we said, it isn’t irregular and our mission is to spread the message that all skin is beautiful, regardless of what skin issue you’re dealing with.
In this article, we sat down with five women who share how having Acne has affected their mental health and personal life.
In What Ways Has Having Acne Affected Your Personal Life?
Robomi: It has made social situations and meeting new people difficult because of the fear of people commenting on my skin.
Adeola: It has really increased my lack of confidence. It has made me feel unworthy of being looked at. Constantly always felt like sitting at home was a better option. I would also see people around me with much better skin complaining of one thing or the other and I would just get so angry within me and really not understand what they are complaining about. I would sometimes even question what my partner sees in me.
Thai: It made me extremely self conscious; I literally used to not leave the house without makeup or even do basic things like grocery shopping without packing on foundation etc. I wouldn’t feel comfortable in my own skin.
Alex: It made me self conscious and it affected my self esteem and confidence.
Sandra: It has made me very informed about skin care, and I’m constantly researching new ways I can improve my skin.
In What Ways Has Having Acne Affected Your Mental Health?
Robomi: It contributed significantly to my depression because it felt like nothing was working and it just kept getting worse.
Adeola: If I looked in the mirror, all I would do is cry and just start to wonder is this life? Like, I turn my back to the mirror to avoid contact. I used to cry in the shower quite often and that just set the mood for my whole day.
Thai: Definitely heightened my anxiety with being outside/around people as I know there’s always at least one person who will make a comment about my skin, although I’m used to it now but still sometimes you just don’t want to hear it. I mean, unless you’re a literal Barbie doll no one really thinks they are perfect in the looks department, but having acne is literally soul crushing to the point that I didn’t want to go places. I hated looking in the mirror, I obsessed to the point I was conflating not having good skin to my life problems; I felt like once I got clear skin my life will start to go the way I want it to.
Alex: You honestly just feel depressed because it’s not getting any better, especially when you’re spending so much money.
Sandra: When I was younger, it made me feel ugly and I felt it was the only thing people saw on my face. I would get insecure when people looked at me for too long. The backhanded compliments didn’t help either (eg: you’re so pretty for someone with so many pimples). This negatively affected my mental health as I struggled with loving my face. However, with the help of family I really started to learn to love myself no matter what (this has had a positive effect on my mental health). Not going to lie though, I still get annoyed when I get the occasional spot, but I don’t feel ugly!
In 3 Words, How Does Having Acne Make You Feel?
Robomi: Self-conscious, frustrated and distressed.
Adeola: Embarrassed, ugly and self-conscious.
Thai: Ugly, stressed, dissatisfied.
Alex: Annoyed, irritated, impatient.
Sandra: Brave, beautiful, angry.
What Message Would You Give To Others Dealing With The Same Skin Concerns As You?
Robomi: I know it sucks, but be patient and get professional help if you can. Professional help can be a dermatologist, an esthetician, a dietitian or having all of them make a unified treatment plan for you. I understand that it can get pricey but it’s a good investment. If you can’t get professional help, you can do some research on your own. Either way you choose, patience is a skill that you will acquire.
Adeola: No matter how bad it is don’t compare it to the next person, everyone is fighting their own battles. Changes also won’t happen overnight, even though we are looking for the quickest things, patience is always key.
Thai: There’s good days & bad days, it’s normal to feel shitty about the way you look. Try not to get used to hiding behind makeup, get used to your natural face, having acne doesn’t actually change your features or anything so anyone who’s attracted to you can actually see past it. If you can afford to, see an esthetician!
Alex: It gets better with patience.
Sandra: You are beautiful no matter what. Invest in skin care and eat a lot of greens. Skin care isn’t just external, it starts from within.
What Kinds Of Things Do You Do To Care For Your Skin?
Robomi: I try to be consistent with my skincare routine, I use sunscreen and I get help from a dermatologist and a dietitian.
Adeola: I make sure I carry out my daily skincare routines and try to never miss a day. What goes into your body matters a lot; eating better and drinking a lot of water is so important. I carry out a lot of research to understand my own skin and what works for me. I am still learning, there’s still so much to work on.
Thai: I have an esthetician. I also do facials/treatments when needed, but overall I just follow my skin routine as that does most of the work.
Alex: I have a skincare routine and I try to keep it simple by just using the products that target what I need treated.
Sandra: Niacinamide, Mandelic Acid, Retinol, Benzoyl Peroxide, Glycolic Acid, Spf, monthly professional facials and weekly home facials, exfoliating (no to harsh exfoliants, I prefer chemical exfoliation) and moisturizing (yes even if you have very oily skin).
What Has Having Acne Taught You About Yourself?
Robomi: Being confident in my skin is easier said than done. However, it’s definitely worth working on.
Adeola: I am way more than what is on my face.
Thai: No weapons (acne) formed against me can prosper, I’m a baddie regardless. Having acne has taught me to be thick skinned & I’ve learnt that I’m strong willed. I always said I’ll eventually clear my skin and even though it’s taken a thousand years, I’m actually acne free at the moment & making a lot of progress to rid my dark spots/marks, so the road to clear skin is not far ahead.
Alex: It has taught me to be more self confident.
Sandra: Having acne has taught me to be conscious of what I eat. It’s also allowed me to learn that I have a lot of food allergies I was unaware of. It has also taught me that I need to be easier on myself and be my own biggest fan (I am now my biggest hype man and my best friend). It has taught me that I am strong and confident.
*This article has been edited and condensed for clarity