How does acne affect confidence?
It's estimated that close to 90% of adults will suffer from an acne bout at some stage in their lives. But nothing prepares us for the massive hit that our self-esteem takes in the unfortunate event that blackheads, zits and pits invade our previously-flawless skin. It is almost as if our self-worth and self-confidence hangs in the balance of how other people perceive us. It's only human, anyways. The association between acne and self esteem is hard to overlook, particularly considering that the general state of our faces is the first thing that people subconsciously take note of.
The acne-induced dip in self-esteem and self-worth can take a toll on almost all aspects of a person's life including their productivity at work and how they socialize with their peers, family and friends.
Сonfidence With Acne. Acne is Ruining My Life
One of the major reasons acne is perceived so negatively in our image-driven society can be traced back to the many myths and misconceptions that surround breakouts. False, but still common, misconceptions like acne sufferers have poor facial hygiene or that they don't eat a balanced/healthy diet are some of the reasons behind the soft stigma associated with pimples.
It gets worse to the point that close to 70% of teenagers who are regularly accosted by pimples reported being verbally abused and taunted by peers, colleagues or friends for their acne woes. What's even worse is that acne is most prevalent and harder to get rid of when the need for social appeal and acceptance is at its peak. So, it's uncommon to come across a budding teenager telling themselves that, ' Acne is ruining my life.'
Adolescent acne is caused by overactive sebaceous glands that contribute to the fast build up of dead skin cells, bacteria and oil in the skin pores. This accumulation becomes inflamed with time leading to blackheads and pimples breaking out.
So, why do teenagers get acne? Sometimes even more than adults? The answer to this conundrum lies in the fact that oil (sebaceous) glands become over-stimulated during the growth and hormone spike that teenagers often experience during puberty. The transition from childhood to adulthood is also accompanied by a series of skin and bodily changes that could predispose the young adolescent to bumps and pits. What's more, teenagers are more likely to pop and squeeze their pimples compared to adults (for not knowing better), something that makes their cysts harder to heal and the breakout likely to reoccur.
That being said, acne vulgaris is partly genetic and has a hereditary aspect to it. So that means that teenagers with acne are more likely to have close family members who have had similar skin problems in the past too. Not to worry, though. There's no shortage of acne-care products from dermalogica experts such as AENO.
At this juncture, it's possible that you may be wondering, when does acne stop for teenagers? The truth is that there is no clear and concise answer to that. It mostly depends on a slew of factors that you may or may not have control over. If you are currently battling teenage and puberty acne, the tendency to breakout in the future will depend on the following factors.
- The age at which your hormones will stabilize: Teenagers are more likely to experience breakouts since their androgens are on overdrive as they make the transition into sexual maturation. Fortunately, however, these hormones tend to stabilize as early as your late teens or early 20s. It's not uncommon, though, to still be under the influence of raging androgens as late as your mid 20s. Having said that, you will most likely experience a subsidence in your symptoms as soon as your growth spurt comes to under - 16/17 years for girls and 20/21 years for boys.
- Your skincare routine: Since your skin is at its most sensitive period during adolescence, then it makes the most sense to adopt a healthy skin care regimen as early as now. The sooner you learn your acne triggers and steer clear of them, the earlier the breakouts will stop.
- Your genes: Your genetic makeup could determine how long your skin will remain to be problematic. Teenagers with naturally oily skin could struggle with breakouts as far as their late 20s or beyond.
But, can school stress cause acne? There's no scientific or anecdotal evidence that school stress can lead to breakouts. That being said, you may want to take things easy as emotional turmoil has been linked with worsening acne symptoms.
Acne and College Students
Although they are hardly teenagers or adolescents, college students are also not immune to breakouts. As mentioned earlier, it is not rare for adolescence acne to persist well into adulthood. However, unlike in teenagers, most adulthood acne is often as a result of specific causes which when attended to can immensely contribute to the improvement of one's symptoms.
Still, acne still deals a heavy blow to the self confidence of many-a-college students thanks to the immense pressure to appear attractive at this stage. Besides, most young adults are usually very self-conscious of how other people perceive them and having an acne-riddled face does not really help matters. It can get so bad that some college students dealing with severe breakouts may choose not to attend classes for fear of being ridiculed, taunted or alienated by their peers.
Low self-confidence and lack of self-esteem as a result of a debilitating acne case has been known to greatly hamper the career progression of college students who are struggling with acne. Job interviews, for instance, tend to be more challenging and a daunting prospect for acne-afflicted students who have just graduated. The lack of self-belief in themselves could even be mistaken for incompetence by the interviewing panel, especially in fields where one's external appearance plays a critical role e.g broadcasting or the service industry.
Unfortunately, most college students who still struggle with adolescence acne despite being young adults are often at the receiving end of well-intended criticism of their habits, diet or lifestyle. They, therefore, can be pressured to seek dermatological treatment for a condition that would otherwise not have bothered them as much.
Stress and Acne in Adults
Just like in teenagers, acne has a unique way of impacting one's self esteem negatively. It is no wonder that the cosmetic niche is a billion dollar industry especially in the West. The fact medical treatment of breakouts and pimples take time to get rid of scars and lesions does not help matters either.
Unlike in adolescents, nevertheless, the link between stress and cystic acne in adults is widely researched and studied. You see, adults over 30 hardly have a host of radioactive hormones coursing through their veins. And having a more balanced hormonal profile makes it considerably easier to isolate and pinpoint the exact reason behind the breakouts unlike in adolescence where you have to take several factors into consideration.
That being said, flare ups in adults are more or less a vicious cycle of stress and spiking levels of cortisol hormone rather than androgens in rampage. Cortisol, also known as the stress hormone, is believed to trigger a remarkable increase of the secretion of sebum which could precipitate a severe bout of acne when you are under serious emotional turmoil. Luckily, however, there is no shortage of acne solutions from AENO’s arsenal of pimple-fighting remedies such as Cystic Acne and Scar Removal Treatment and Perfect Skin Pills.
Psychological Effects of Acne
The physiological and psychosocial impact of acne are well-documented. It has been observed, for instance, that those who suffer from severe breakouts often struggle with chronic low self-esteem, poor body image and will, generally, tend to isolate themselves from social gatherings and activities that require them to meet other people. As part and parcel of this nature of emotional impact, heightened levels of anger, depression, anxiety and frustration are not uncommon in acne patients.
Here's a quick primer to that;
i. Anxiety and Acne
Acne depression is not new and neither is breakouts that are as a result of constantly being on your nerves. Long term anxiety, for example, is linked to increased levels of cortisol and adrenal hormones that can easily trigger a bad case of cystic acne. It is also not rare for this type of emotional turmoil to negatively affect one's sleeping patterns which could kickstart a series of repercussions that could ultimately culminate in blemishes, fatigue and bad skin.
ii. Acne and Depression
We already know that breakouts can be triggered by long-term anxiety, but can acne cause depression?
Given the kind of negative impact that acne has on an individual's self-esteem, it is no surprise that acne depression stories are not uncommon. There are reports, for instance, of people losing their jobs, relationships and romantic prospects after a severe acne breakout that dealt a huge blow on their self-confidence.
Living with Acne
Contrary to what you may have heard, there is no guaranteed way of preventing or treating acne. But there are a few invaluable tips that you could use to reduce the severity and number of your acne breakouts. This includes
- Washing and gently exfoliating your skin on a regular and consistent basis. This helps get rid of excess dead skin and surface oils that could clog your pores.
- Using only premium non acnegenic and non comedogenic skin care products. In short, your lotions or make up kit should not clog or block your pores.
- Make it a habit of keeping hair products such as styling gels and hair sprays away from your face as much as possible. Remember that a majority of hair products typically contain ingredients that can worsen acne.
- Use water-based colognes, lotions, perfumes or hair products.
Avoid wearing tightly-fitting clothes if you tend to develop acne on your back, chest or thighs.