I took the above picture when I was having a pretty bad skin day. But I was actually feeling…pretty pretty? I was wearing my fave new earrings (the bigger the better) and my fave outfit (dark blue skinny jeans, white button down, brown belt), and had freshly painted toes from the night before. Having zits was just a footnote for my morning.
I’ve dealt with acne for most of my adult life (all, what, 23 years of it?), and like, it doesn’t ever not suck. There are days I’d rather stay inside and not present my face to literally everyone I will encounter. Finding a good concealer helps (I like this one), and sticking to a consistent (read: regimental!!) skincare routine has also helped, but ultimately: I’m gonna break out.
But thanks to a few friends getting #real about their acne, it’s easier to accept mine, and I hope it’s easier for you to accept it, too. Your life shouldn’t stop because you have a zit, and yes, while you’re allowed to wallow and be all “zomg this thing is going to actually grow so large it will have its own pores,” you should also continue living.
Here’s how I deal with fun fancy lil spots when they crop up:
- Get to the root of the problem. I hate not knowing why I’m breaking out – usually it’s a combination of irritation, hormones, and dry skin for me that does it. It’s the Magic Cocktail of Zits. But once I know what’s causing the zits, I can set about fixing it with some super strength moisturizer and lots of patience.
- Periods spots are period spots. I’m just always going to get these. Birth control has really helped, but ultimately, I will have a zit friend during this rad monthly time, and accepting that truth has helped me immensely. Not saying I miss that lil spot when he forgets to show up, but…it’s easier to deal if you’re expecting it.
- You get FIVE MINUTES. I give myself five minutes of “ugh, I look so gross.” Then you have to back away from the mirror and focus on something else. Fixating on your zit is not going to magically make it shrink back into your face (if only).
- You’re allowed to feel hot. Can I share a secret? I have amazing hair days with zits. I have phenomenal body days with zits, where I do double takes in mirrors and snap one too many selfies. One zit does not negate your holistic hotness, and I don’t think I realized this until I started really confronting my insecurity about my skin.
- Stop using concealer. Seriously, this is my go-to trick now. Sometimes, I just want to let my skin breathe, for goodness sake, and caking on more concealer onto a place that is pretty obviously irritated is not the most attractive option. So I forgo it. Chances are, once you stop poking and prodding and brushing that spot, it’ll stop being so inflamed and, this leads me to my next point…
- You probably notice it more than other people do. Seriously. You look at your face all the time now, with selfies and mirrors and all this ish. You’re also like me and probably way more critical with yourself than you are with others.
- You are a human made of pores and sometimes those pores get clogged. Repeat this to yourself. Put it on your mirror. It means you’re really freakin’ alive, and yeah, you could do without this bit, but being alive is pretty great. Pros/cons.
- Find a great derm. I have a phenomenal dermatologist here in D.C. who is patient with me, especially when I am insecure about my skin and my breakouts. It’s still easy to feel like you have “less than great” hygiene when you have acne, but the reality is that you’re dealing with a very specific set of variables that, when out of whack, can cause some massive damage. Having a professional in your life, if possible, who can do most of the worrying and analyzing for you, is wonderful.
I hope this helps you deal with your not-so-great skin days – we all get them, and often we “forget” to Instagram them. But they exist.