“I’ve struggled with severe, cystic acne since I hit puberty. When I turned 14 years old, I began wearing makeup to hide my acne and scars.
Everyone around me during high school, and really any facet of my life, had amazing skin. It was as if I was the only cursed one among a sea of friends and relatives. I felt really ugly compared to everyone else around me and pressured to look a certain way. I wanted the skin I saw on TV and in magazines. I became obsessed with how my face looked. I so badly wanted my acne and blemishes gone.
So, I thought up an idea. I was going to cover everything with makeup until my skin cleared up. Makeup became my clutch. But no matter how much foundation I applied, I still couldn’t hide the huge bumps that were on my face. They were always prominent and peeked through. I drove myself crazy constantly trying to cover them up. It was an impossible task. When I took my makeup off at night, I felt hideous. I couldn’t even look at myself in the mirror. I genuinely hated what I saw.
I got to the point where wearing makeup became tiring. My breakouts continued and so did my bumpy and uneven looking skin. I started refusing to hangout with friends and family. Every time they saw me, they had something to say about my skin. ‘Why is your skin like that?’ ‘Have you tried to clear it up?’ ‘Do you wash your face at all?’ They didn’t say it with ill intent, but it still hurt to hear. Every time. Little did they know that I had tried it all and nothing seemed to work for me. All I could do was deal with it.
Another friend told me, ‘You must not be trying hard enough. You’ve had acne for way too long.’ Human interaction became annoying and frustrating. Isolation was my only escape. For years, I avoided people in general. When I turned 24, I was finished with school and my husband often worked. I stayed home all of the time without having a reason to leave the house. When he had free time, he would offer to take me on dates. My answer was always the same. ‘No. I don’t want to leave the house.’ It was bad enough that I felt unattractive, but I felt even worse looking at my husband’s perfect, clear skin.
I was sure these negative emotions would go on forever. To my surprise, staying locked up in my house and not wearing makeup was exactly what I needed to help me gain my confidence. Without makeup, my skin was able to breathe. I got used to the woman I was without makeup. Slowly but surely, my skin began to clear up.
I began leaving the house without makeup, despite my MANY acne scars. I fought long and hard. I’d tell myself, ‘I’m beautiful and my face will get better.’ Truly believing in that is what helped more than anything. I took my confidence into my own hands and stopped letting the negative thoughts take over. Leaving the house bare-faced became more than a regular activity; it felt powerful. That power overtook me and I stopped caring about what others would think of me.
My self-confidence became something in need of protecting and I avoided anything that would cause it harm. When someone said something hurtful, I told them it bothered me and they should be more considerate of their words. It was that simple. If they didn’t listen, then I cut them out of my life. I got rid of negative people and thoughts and continued to remind myself that NO ONE is perfect. I might not have great skin, but I am blessed in different ways.
If I could go back in time, I’d tell myself to not use so much foundation. I’d realize that it was one of the triggers that broke out my skin even more. But I didn’t know any better.
I am 25 years old now and happier than I’ve ever been. I have my positivity and courage to not wear makeup to thank. I have scars and indentations on my face, but I do not care. Somewhere along my journey I got to know myself and learn what my skin needed. I learned how to be good to myself in a day and age where everyone looks flawless, both in real life and on social media.
I am now able to enjoy time with my husband and not worry about my skin.
Today, I film YouTube videos without wearing makeup to help motivate others struggling with acne. My heart is filled with happiness when I’m able to talk to my viewers and make them feel better about themselves. I know what beauty is now and its not perfect skin. It’s happiness. Give yourself time to love yourself. Things will get better. I promise.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Dianna Silas-Qiu of Queens, New York. You can follow her journey on YouTube here and Instagram here. Submit your own story here, and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter.
Read more about strong women overcoming beauty standards:
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‘A boy tapped me. ‘Why do you have a mustache? What’s that mark between your eyebrows?’ I was shocked. My face flushed with embarrassment.’
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