Do you struggle with persistent acne? If so, it's time for a Good Will Hunting moment. Let me paint the scene.
You've been dealing with your skin for a long time. It's causing you a lot of stress, anxiety and worry, probably on levels you don't even realize. You've tried everything and yet, nothing seems to work. It almost feels like having acne is just part of who you are this point. But in one final effort, you come to me, your skin therapist, for help.
Me: It's not your fault that you have acne.
You: Yeah, I know that.
Me: [locks eyes] Look at me now. It's not your fault.
You: [shrugging] I know.
Me: It's not your fault.
You: I. Know.
Me: It's not your fault… It's not your fault… It's not your fault…
You may not fall crying into my arms like Matt Damon, but underneath it all, I'm willing to bet that you still think you're doing something wrong, that you're somehow to blame. I want to make it crystal clear to you: acne isn't because you're dirty. It's not because you aren't healthy. It's not because you're eating wrong or you putting too many "toxins" into your body or that you use the wrong product or pill.
It's not your fault.
If you really want to know what's to blame for your acne, it's partially genetics. Folks like us who deal with acne well past those awkward teenage years have skin that just functions differently than those who don't break out. Our pores are larger, we produce more oil, we have faster skin cell growth, our skin is more sensitive to acne bacteria and hormonal fluctuations.
It's in our DNA. It's not your fault that you have acne any more than it's your fault that you have green eyes. But before you hang your head in despair and think, "oh great, it's genetic. I'm stuck with this!" know that genes are only part of the picture here.
We're prone to breaking out, but that doesn't mean we're doomed. We've been dealt the acne card, but learning how to play your hand can make all the difference.
A few adjustments can go a long way in helping your skin stop the acne before it starts. Be kind to your skin, and to yourself.
Treat your skin gently.
Our skin is particularly sensitive, and harsh products or aggressive technique can often cause inflammation. This can either exacerbate or cause acne. So make sure your skin care products and routine are gentle.
Don't strip your skin or constantly use products that make your skin peel, flake or become very dry. Don't scrub your skin or over exfoliate. Your skin doesn't need to be whipped into shape. It needs some good ol' fashioned TLC.
Don't mentally attack your skin.
If you find yourself thinking, "I hate my skin," tell yourself out loud, "stop, this isn't helping." Then distract yourself.
Go do something — sitting there thinking about it won't help. You'll just get stuck in that spiral of thoughts that starts with, "I hate my skin" and somehow ends up leading to "I hate myself." Stop that pattern before it takes hold.
Be good to your mind, body and soul
Feed yourself nourishing food, but don't obsess. Get some exercise. Respect your need for sleep. Find a relaxation technique that works for you. You can try yoga, meditation or breathing exercises. Try journaling to get your thoughts out.
Make these things daily practices. Trust me, this will do more for your skin than any product can. All this will help regulate hormones, reduce inflammation and increase circulation. Not only does this benefit your skin, it helps with practically every other aspect of your life. Try to find a zit cream that does that!
Repeat after me. "It's not my fault that I have acne." Let that sink in. Repeat it until you know it. Understand you have done and are doing nothing wrong.