From the age of 14, I suffered with really bad acne. I had gone from having perfectly clear skin (which I now realise I definitely took for granted) to my face, back and shoulders being literally covered in spots, almost overnight.
It was a massive confidence knock for me. I felt like I couldn’t leave the house without caking every inch of my face with the thickest, full coverage foundation I could find. And stopping myself from wearing cute tops because they showed my shoulders.
For a good year or so, I tried EVERYTHING. Creams, lotions, tablets, facials. Everything. Nothing seemed to work, which made me even more conscious because there was no sign of it clearing up.
But then just over a year after it broke out, it started to clear up on its own. I wasn’t doing anything differently, it just decided to go away.
Except, I didn’t see this myself… because I still had spots. I’m a teenager, don’t we all? But whenever I looked in the mirror, that’s all I saw. I still hated my skin. So I still covered it up as much as I could.
For another year, even after the acne cleared up, no one but my family saw my bare face. On multiple occasions, I would sleep in my makeup because even my own boyfriend had never seen me without it and I was scared that he would be put off if he did.
How sad that the thought of a boy seeing me without make up scared me so much that I was willing to make my skin even worse by leaving it on.
Until one night, I’d taken my make up off to go to sleep and he was staying over. For whatever reason we got up and turned the lights on, he literally gasped as he saw my face in the light and initially I was thinking what? and then I remembered I wasn’t wearing make up and ran back into bed and hid under the covers haha. But he honestly didn’t care, in fact he gave me a big cuddle and told me that I looked even more beautiful bare faced.
It didn’t matter how many times my mum told me I was beautiful, it was that moment that I finally believed I wasn’t actually ugly.
However, it didn’t just end there. I didn’t just magically lose every insecurity that I had about my skin, but that was the beginning.
I finally felt comfortable to just chill with no make up on around my boyfriend, or pop to the shops.
And that was as far as it went for a good few months.
Until the sad, sad day that I lost my make up bag, which meant that I had to go to Sixth Form with no make up on and I genuinely thought I was going to have an anxiety attack. None of these people had ever seen me without make up. And this wasn’t just one reaction to handle… it was a hundred. Oh God.
Now, if this had happened just six months before, I wouldn’t have even gone. I would’ve stayed at home until I had at least just some foundation to cover my skin. But that slight bit of confidence that I had gained, allowed me to go.
As it turned out, I had no reason to be scared. Literally not one person made a comment. No one treated me differently. No one looked at me funny. Everything was the same.
After that day, I didn’t bother. Even though I was surrounded by beautifully made up girls, who always looked amazing, I was determined to get my confidence back (and I enjoyed the extra time in bed). It took a few months of not looking at myself in the mirror, while I was out of the house, but eventually I stopped caring. No one else cared so why should I?
So now, here I am, writing this post on a train to a new country, about to make first impressions, with a bare face. In fact, I have a big red spot on my chin and one to the left of my top lip. And I couldn’t care less.
To anyone who suffers from acne or is even just self conscious about anything- you need to live by this -“The people that mind don’t matter and the people that matter don’t mind.” Throw yourself out there, do something that you might feel insecure about, and do it with confidence. It may take a while for you to actually feel confident but eventually you will find that you learn to love your insecurities.
Ignore the people that say horrible things, they only say those things to make themselves feel less insecure. You are beautiful and the more you feel it, the more other people will think it too. Confidence and happiness is the key to beauty, not looks.
PS. Thank you to my wonderful boyfriend. I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for you. ❤