11 Struggles People With Adult Acne Understand

Adult acne is one of life's cruelest jokes. They promised us we would grow out of it in our teens, but these 11 struggles anyone with adult acne understands prove "they" lied. Unfortunately, acne is not just for puberty. Instead, it's like that office coworker you felt obligated to invite to your Christmas party. “I know I invited you and all, but did you have to come early and did you have to be the last to go?”

As a 20-something with adult acne, I can attest it is the actual worst. For me, those red and white spots of death actually got worse when in my 20s. I lived on well water growing up, and when I moved to a city for college and post-grad life, my skin did not take to the hard water I showered in daily.

It’s a nightly struggle to fight the desire to pop the white spots or to pick at the red spots. And my Internet history would reveal endless searches of various ways to try to remedy my adult acne — which by the way, is not just on my face. Let this list of things only people with adult acne understand provide comfort for other adults struggling with the unwanted oil-filled spots that you are not alone.

1. All The Unsolicited Advice

I'm sure your intentions were good on offering advice for what worked for you. But if you honestly think, in my 20something years of living with acne I haven't tried every possible solution, then you don't know me as a person and should not be offering any type of advice on any aspect of my life. But, thank you.

2. The Occasional Hesitation To Leave Your Bedroom

Some nights, the acne just seems worse than others. And therefore, you are more dramatic. You don't feel like putting in the effort to cover your acne up and find an outfit that covers both your chest and your back. I try not to let my acne control my life, but sometimes Netflix is just better than all that.

3. Your Love-Hate Relationship With Mirrors

There's suspense every morning to see if the zit cream worked this time, or if there's a new breakout to explore. However, the mirror should never actually determine if you're going to have a good day or a bad day. Because your looks, or acne, do not determine who you are. But sometimes that initial glance can feel like a struggle.

4. Trying Every Foundation & Concealer On The Market

Seriously, you have about a million of each. And if you're anything like me, it takes you a bit longer to leave the house to just run out for an errand, because you probably at least want to at least go over your face with powder.

5. But Not Just For Your Face

It's not just your face you have to worry about getting acne, but your back, chest and shoulders too. And then there's that occasional random spot in your ear that makes you question your cotton swab brand choice.

6. Doing The Double-Wash


Even if you've already washed your face and gone through your normal skincare routine, knowing the acne is still there sometimes just makes you feel like you need to go through the entire regimen a second time. Or maybe a fifth.

7. The Annoying Pain

You know those zits. The one inside the skin that hurt like a bruise every time you touch near the affected area. It's downright uncomfortable. Not to mention when you pop them, despite the catharsis, it physically hurts.

8. Trying Every Remedy Out There

I once went a whole month without eating sweets to see if my acne cleared up. Sure, it helped the tiniest amount, but not enough to give up jelly beans for good. And then I spent the next month applying toothpaste to my zits. Besides toothpaste, acne treatments are serious business. Many medications warn about the possibility of depression, dry skin, and birth defects. When you try a new acne treatment — whether medical or organic — it could result in a lifestyle change.

9. And The Cash You Spent On Said Remedies

And not only are acne treatments serious, they're hella expensive. And when you think about it too hard, you realize you're shelling out $200+ a month for clear skin — and it doesn't feel great. Then you have to have that awkward conversation of telling your friend you can't go to the concert because you have to stock up on zit cream this month.

10. The Annoyance You Feel When Someone Talks about a Small Breakout

Oh I'm sorry? Last night you got your first zit since high school? Shoot. You should step out of arm swinging distance.

11. Letting Someone See You Without Makeup Is The Ultimate Trust Exercise

We hardly ever go out for a quick pint of Ben & Jerry's without makeup, so it's a big deal if we let others see us without makeup. It's the moment in our lives when we know we can really trust someone and be, well, real with him or her. If you find yourself on the receiving end of this situation, do not take it lightly, but do not overreact. We will go running toward concealer if you say one thing about our fresh face.

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