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Man do I feel your pain. Everything you said is identical to the feelings that I have. I am 18 and just starting college. Before I had acne, I was a stud. Girls liked me, guys liked me, teachers liked me; it seemed like everyone liked me. People can say all they want about being yourself in spite of your acne, but it is extremely hard. And yes, people do notice your red marks and zits. I know, because pre-acne, I had numerous dates and a lot of interaction with the opposite sex. Over the past 3-4 years, I haven't talked to one girl. That's right; one. No, I haven't become a recluse and stopped talking; I have tried numerous times to strike up a conversation, only to be blown off by virtually everyone. Also, I used to get those looks from girls; you know, those ones that convey an attraction, the ones that say "you're good looking." I haven't gotten one of those for a long time, and it really hurts. I think the thing that has helped me most is my religion. Knowing that everything happens for a reason and that God has a plan has helped me to relax and just sort of accept the way things are. I now go about my days less self-conscious than I used to be and try to just live life to the fullest. I smile a lot, try to have fun, and try to avoid mirrors as much as possible. This really helps (avoiding mirrors). If you don't look at yourself for a while, you start to forget about your face and the world doesn't seem so terrible. I really do believe in that old saying that "time heals all wounds" and I truly hope that you and everyone will eventually find peace. I think that acne will make you, I, and the millions of other acne sufferers out there stronger, better people. Maybe it will teach us to have compassion and look at people in a new light. I myself used to be somewhat of a jackass, making fun of the fat, the ugly, the deformed, and all sorts of other people. I now smile at those people and my heart goes out to them; I am sort of in their shoes now. I am a better person now. Maybe not a better looking person, but a better person nonetheless. Life is short, enjoy it. Looks are only that; having a good heart is more important than having a good complexion.

[This message has been edited by nateholman (edited 09-06-2002).]

Amen. This is excatly how I feel. I have had acne for 5 1/2 years and I am still in high school. Thanks to Accutane I am free of current acne, but my face still isnt even close to looking good. My forehead and chin are clear, with just some enlarged pores on my foreheard and discoloration, but you can hardly tell. My cheeks are a diaster. I had my acne for about 1 1/2 before I finally went to a dr. The damage shows. My cheeks are full of redmarks and enlarged pores and unevenness. If you were to look at me in the sun my cheeks would not be smooth, they would look like tiny dots. My nose is basically the same. In the past my acne has moved around from area to area, but my nose has always has it. My pores are enlarged there or blackheads or something but they have always been there and probably always will. Needless to say I do not have much confidene. I will try to artificially pump myself up with confidence, but it only lasts for a couple of days and then I fall back down harder. I have friend but like you guys I rarely do things with them. Sometimes they will call and I will just let the phone ring, wishing I could go with them. But then I remember that my face is a golfball so I dont go out. I can't even remember what it is like to have clear skin. I have wished for the past 5 1/2 years to have just one day where I could have clear skin. To see what those people who dont have to worry about it, but it hasnt happened and probably never will. Both of my parents have bad skin, especially my mom. This makes my outlook on life even better when you know that unless a cure is found, this may be the best it gets.

If there is any slight benefit to this hella good on earth we have to go through I guess it would be that we become more sensitive to other people. I have also found out that the cool people are fun and all, but the other people have just as much fun if not more. Try to give everyone a chance, even if they arent the best at something!
I understand what you all are going thru COMPLETELY! It's late so I have to make this quick, but I wanted to give you guys a girl's opinion on a few matters. First of all, if a certain girl is giving you a look that seems to mean that she thinks you're ugly just because you have acne, than she's not right for you anyway. I think I can safely say that even though I don't know any of you personally, right? Also, girls in general aren't as critical about a guy's looks as you might think. I mean, sure that's the first thing we see, but if you strike up a conversation with us we can look past all that and instead see a funny, smart guy for instance. Now, you are probably thinking that I can say all this because I have acne myself.....well, I haven't had acne forever and I know plenty of good-looking girls who would go out with a guy w/ acne if he had a personality she was attracted to. And, yes, I know it is sooooooooooo hard to act oneself around others when you have acne. I too tend to shy away from people and stay home. I hate looking people in the eye and talking with them, but I know if I don't I will forevermore be known as 'the girl w/ acne' instead of who I really am. To me that's even worse. Everyday I have to make a resolution to put a smile on my face, look people in the eye and be myself. And by the end of the day you better believe I'm exhausted with my efforts. It seems to work, though, because I have a big group of friends who like me for me.

Remember, there's always cover-up to give you a self-confidence a boost too.

BTW, a lot of you have been talking about scars and red marks, and how they won't go away. Well, I have been applying Vitamin E oil on my face twice a day for a week now and am already seeing visible results. My skin is softer and my old scars are fading. Although, it doesn't help my acne problem, it does seem to keep the really big zits from scarring too. I highly recommend trying it.

Well, I'm really tired so off I go!

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