Shout-out to break-outs

After semi-consciously shutting off my alarm for the fourth time this morning, I managed to muster enough strength to drag myself out of bed and down the hall, bathroom-bound.

My eyelids are still heavy with sleep or lack thereof as light radiates from the ceiling on a scale of painfully bright to blinding. I avert my eyes from the mirror for as long as possible until eventually, I’m forced to catch a glimpse of my reflection.

At this point, I don’t even notice the messy hair and dark circles. Instead my eyes go straight to the familiar red bumps, colonizing my face in a vicious, cystic conquest.

Lately, I seem to have gotten myself caught in a chronic break-out. Just when I begin to feel the slightest relief that my infinite abscesses are receding, lo and behold some sort of witchcraft occurs overnight and voilà!

I have one, two, even three new blemishes budding by the next morning. Even if they are not yet visible to the privileged naked eye, I can feel the inflammations rising, regions of my face sore and agitated.

This is not simply a profession of my biggest insecurity. In fact, while my skin was never crystal clear, I have noticed that since the late fall of this past year, my face’s clogged-pore count has crept up significantly. I know this not only by my own observation of the fact that I can play connect-the-dots on my cheeks, but by my mom’s occasional “What happened to your face? It was looking so clear this weekend!” or my sister’s birthday gift to me: A set of three facial appointments, the gift certificate for which advertises specialization in “teen acne.”

Having tried a slew of facial scrubs and foaming cleansers, gentle moisturizers and spot treatments, I’ve realized that the true cause of my facial flaws is simple.

The reason my skin “was looking so clear this weekend” or is near-perfect in the summertime is because it is during those times that I am sleeping for more than six hours per night and I’m under less stress.

With less pressure and more beauty rest, I am also motivated to eat better and exercise. In a sense, all of these factors act as a sort of indirect facial. Thus, I am trying a new remedy that I would encourage any fellow acne-ridden blemish-brooders to participate in.

Treatments and ointments and dermatologist appointments aside, the first steps to healthy skin and an overall healthy lifestyle are a good night’s sleep, a well-balanced diet, and low levels of stress. This is easy to say, and we’ve all heard the preaching before. But actively making gradual adjustments towards this seemingly-impossible-to-achieve trifecta, whether it be spending a half hour less on the Internet or opting for an apple instead of a muffin, may yield multi-faceted improvements.

That being said, it is important to remember that we often magnify our own apparent flaws and forget to see past the pimples as others do. Pimples are a predicament that almost all young people tend to experience, regardless of quantity, at some point in their pubescent lives. In most cases, it’s a phase and it won’t last forever.

Ultimately, the acne scars will fade and the pustules will cease to proliferate.

But let’s say they do stick around. Say you are eternally pimpled. It shouldn’t make a difference, because it is what lies beneath your epidermis that matters.

You are alive and you are an individual. You have unique interests and talents and values. No matter your insecurities, whether it be your weight, your hair, your skin, it is crucial to remember that these insecurities do not define you.

Despite my initial denial, I have come to accept my complexion.

I know that the redness on my face does not go unnoticed, but I also know that if I express myself to my fullest extent, people will also notice my personality and my ideas, and will probably forget about the zit on my chin.


Jane Gerstner is a junior at the Convent of the Sacred Heart.

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