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Sal,

Here is my story. It closely parallels yours in many ways....

I had my first whitehead at age 10; my acne got worse at 12 and continued until I was around 19-20; I enjoyed a pretty clear face until age 22, when I, too, got cystic acne. It left scars on my upper forehead, chin and both cheeks, though the left cheek has the most scarring.

When I had a "good-looking" face at 21, my confidence grew. Suddenly, I became aware of lots of guys who were interested in me. (I never knew before because I'd avoided looking them in the eyes.)

When I got 14 cysts on my face/neck at once, I was living in an apartment. (College was over, thank goodness!) I hid inside my place for seven weeks straight! I basically starved myself because I wouldn't go to the grocery store.

To this day, I sometimes doll myself up for the fun of it and notice that men do look at me. Obviously, that's not my supreme goal in life, as I just married a wonderful man. And, like you, I have a hard time telling him why I feel so low about my face. I always feel that talking about it will make him want to study my face more closely. Then, he might see that he settled for "damaged" goods. Of course, this is what I tell myself on breakout days. When my skin is relatively clear (minus the red marks and indented scars all over), I still feel better--to an extent.

I refer to myself in two ways: the "old me" was from age 19-22; the "new me" (with scars) feels like it will go from age 22 to infinity! I just turned 25 this month, and I'm sad to think that I didn't step inside of a dance club for the last three years. I'm letting my youthful joys pass me by, yet I feel as if acne doesn't give me much choice. In fact, I feel as though it has removed nearly all of my choices.

You are not alone.

JenK





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