(Ack!)ne

Will Drury, opinions writer

For many people it brings to mind images of teens covered in a labyrinth of red zits, pimples oozing white pus and adults left with scars from their adolescent battle with acne. It is a condition that affects millions of people around the world every day, so why do we feel self-conscious when it comes to our own skin?

I know the feeling of waking up in the morning and washing my face with soap and water, desperately trying to get rid of those annoying red dots before school. I used to hate getting my pictures taken because all I saw were the spots on my forehead. Even after school, the first thing I did when I got home was check to see if I had any embarrassing pimples.

The main cause behind acne is overactive oil glands that clog skin pores and causes bacteria to accumulate, irritating the skin, forming bumps. During puberty these glands produce more oil which is the reason so many teens develop it.

Acne isn’t something we should be ashamed of, but it is. Some people obsess over their acne, thinking it makes them dirty or ugly. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Consumer Reports say teens suffering from acne develop bad self image and sometimes depression because they feel out of place among others with clearer skin. But acne is a natural part of growing up and according to the same report, almost 85 percent of the United States population deals with it.

Even as a person who has dealt with acne, I used to feel uncomfortable around others who had it. It is awkward trying to talk to someone with a huge pimple on their face on the edge of bursting. Seeing those uncomfortable bumps on their forehead somehow makes people think that they must be unhygienic.

This is one of the most common misconceptions about acne; that it’s caused by being dirty, and that it is easily preventable and curable. Studies done by the FDA and American Academy of Dermatology show that acne is not directly caused by poor hygiene, sweat or diet, and sometimes washing your face constantly can actually add to the problem. Applying makeup everyday to cover it up also makes acne worse. There is no way to prevent it, and once you have it, it’s not easily cured.

Teens should not feel uncomfortable even when their acne is at it’s worst. When someone else sees someone having a particularly bad day dealing with their acne, believe me, they see it too. They don’t need it to be pointed out or stared obsessively, it is often the first thing they check when they get up in the morning and the first thing they try to do is get rid of it.

Why should we be so obsessed with hiding our skin? Since kindergarten we’ve been taught to be comfortable with ourselves are and not worry so much about others opinions. Acne is not a reason to feel bad about self-image. It shouldn’t be seen as such a negative trait, but rather a difficult phase so many of us go through.