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I’ve had acne for the last seven years. I’ve found that as well as impacting how I see myself in the mirror, it has considerably affected my self-confidence. This isn’t an uncommon story; it seems for many of us, there is some truth in the stereotype of the spotty teenager (who doesn’t wake up before lunch). When skin’s going through a rough patch (eczema or otherwise), teens got two options: pour their life savings into Clean and Clear or learn to live with the fact their skin won’t always be spotless. This is easier said than done. I remember my first breakout in year four – after frantically searching the Internet for at-home remedies, I ended up with baking soda and egg whites slathered on my face, losing hope in Wikihow.
During puberty, everyone develops at different rates and whether you’re an early bird or late bloomer, it can still feel like you’re the odd one out. Just like the first time I needed a tampon, I felt very embarrassed about needing to ask my mum for an acne-specific face wash. Most people do experience these feelings and you know what, it’s not something to be ashamed of! To let on a secret, people don’t judge someone on their skin. Although it may feel like people are looking at the massive spot on the face during a conversation, they probably aren’t. When I look in the mirror, my imperfections jump out at me, but everyone need to realize that when friends look at you, they see your best bits instead.
Acne and spots don’t go away overnight and that’s not something to worry about. There isn’t a need to fall into the trap of thinking that Kim Kardashian’s 11-step routine is “must have” to have clear skin – sometimes less is more. When researching skincare products, bear in mind that everyone online wants to sell you something and not every product lives up to its advertising, so ask your friends and read reviews for honest recommendations. Everyone’s skin is different so you may need to experiment a bit to find what works for you.
Unfortunately, spots don’t just crop up on our faces, but in other areas like back, chest, neck and shoulders. It can be a real buzzkill in swimwear season. Something many of us forget to do is to wash these areas of the body as soon as possible after exercising – or at least change your top.
One of the most important things to remember about skincare is staying protected from the sun: that golden tan everyone has been longing for is skin damage. I am sure we have all heard some sunburn horror stories but it can’t be emphasised enough how damaging just a small sunburn can be for skin, increasing the risk of cancer, speeding up ageing and worsening acne. Have no shame in liberally applying the factor 50 – doctors recommend wearing a daily SPF on the face, even when it’s cloudy. This summer, I had a skin cancer scare. Luckily, what my dermatologist thought was a melanoma turned out not to be life-threatening, but the two weeks when I was uncertain opened my eyes to how something like this could affect my life. Putting sun cream on is such a simple action with no negative consequences.
In conclusion, our skin is often a reflection of how healthy we are overall. Diet, hydration and sleep all play a part in helping our skin to look and feel its best.
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