Question: "I'm struggling with acne - how can I not let it bother me so much?"
Answer: Any physical flaw that we believe dominates our appearance can be humiliating and cause damage to our self-image. Acne, especially in the teen years, is one such flaw that brings embarrassment and can make the sufferer feel as though the acne is all anyone sees. Because of hormonal changes, diet, heredity, and/or lack of diligent cleansing, facial acne can plague both men and women at various stages in their lives. Since acne does not interfere with necessary life activities, we can even feel guilty that it bothers us so much. After all, acne is not as bad as being blind, deaf, or crippled, so is it wrong to let it bother us?
Medical treatments have made great strides in the treatment or cure of acne, so the first step in dealing with it is to visit a doctor. Certain medications that treat acne have proven successful, so there is no need to suffer for years when treatment may be available. Also, many over-the-counter medicated facial washes may also work if used correctly and consistently. So the first step in dealing with a major case of acne is to investigate all possible treatments and experiment with them until you find what works.
Becoming an expert on one’s own skin is a proactive way to manage problems with acne. Sometimes certain hair or skin products can aggravate acne. Long hair hanging close to the face can also clog pores and keep oil trapped under the skin. Habits such as touching the face with dirty hands or picking at the pimples may also impede healing. Learning what makes acne worse is an important step toward fixing the problem.
If attempts to cure the acne don’t work, using a little blemish cover might be an option on some of the larger breakouts. A touch of cover stick in the right shade can make the blemishes seem to disappear, and no one needs to know you’re wearing it. For females, wearing foundation can smooth uneven skin tones and minimize acne’s visibility. Guys might grow facial hair in order to cover a particularly bad outbreak.
Despite all efforts to minimize the effects of acne, some people must eventually come to terms with its presence. Prayer is good, but God does not always grant requests for physical healing, so we must be prepared to view acne from His perspective. God often allows embarrassing things into our lives to help deepen our walk with Him (1 Corinthians 1:4). Life is a series of choices, both external and internal. We have a choice about whether or not to allow a physical flaw to define our worth. A man in a wheelchair must make such a choice. A girl born with deformed facial features must make such a choice. Amputees, burn victims, and those scarred from accidents must come to terms with their appearance and decide whether they will let their bodies determine their value.
Nick Vujicic was born with no arms or legs, and his testimony is riveting. Nick’s attitude of positivity and courage is an inspiration for all of us and can help keep our own infirmities in perspective. Feeding on uplifting stories like Nick’s can help an acne sufferer keep a grateful spirit, and a grateful spirit is a key to happiness.
It also helps to remember that, for most people, acne is a temporary condition. While it may seem like a lifetime while we suffer with it, the most severe outbreaks usually lessen when a person reaches his mid-20s. As humiliating as it feels, acne does not have to define the rest of our lives. As bodies mature and hormones calm down, the acne usually does, too. Endurance is a quality God holds in high regard, and acne sufferers can focus on developing that trait during the time that acne is present (James 1:2–4).
Even during those years when acne seems to have taken over, we can develop inward qualities of compassion for others in the same situation, self-worth independent of appearance, and a reliance on God for validation and purpose. Those are all valuable character qualities that many with perfect faces never develop. God can use anything, even acne, to bring out the character of Christ in us, as we learn to empathize with those who also feel unacceptable to the world.