When all of my friends started getting acne in the 6th grade, my face stayed blissfully clear. And I bragged about this miracle like a psychopath, idiotically announcing to everyone that I was never going to get zits, ever! If you’ve ever studied Greek mythology, you know that hubris is a thing that will always take you down in the end, and that one would be well-advised to never let their self-confidence grow larger than life. And so, with great dramatic justice, by 10th grade, my once boastfully clear face was a blotchy mess. I had combination skin (which is face wash ad speak for ALL THE PROBLEMS) so everything I tried seemed to make it worse. During my peak acne years, I took my driver’s test and had my photo taken for my ID; my driver’s license has immortalized my acne, reminding me that I could run, but I sure as hell couldn't hide. The skin struggle, for me, was realer than real.
By my senior year of high school, my skin chilled out a bit when I started taking birth control. I could actually see my freckles, so that was pretty awesome while it lasted. My hormones must have mutated or something, because the pill stopped working in that particularly magical way by the time I graduated college. I switched pills a few times, probably pissing off my body more than I should have, but I had no luck either way. For the longest time, I believed in the myth of clear skin: that once you hit your 20s, you were good. You didn’t have to worry anymore. Obviously, that’s a flat-out lie told to adolescents to make them feel better, like a glorious light at the end of the tunnel. But that light? Really, it's just a giant whitehead on the face of your grown-up life, and you are, indeed, heading right for it. Adult acne is a thing, and apparently for some of us, it’s here to stay indefinitely. If you’re a grown-up with this terrible curse, then you’ll know these things to be true:
1. You still spend quality time in the face wash aisle at Target
Neutrogena, Clearasil, Clean & Clear, and Noxzema are your homegirls for life. You know these products so well, that you have their ingredients memorized and feel slightly, inexplicably betrayed whenever they change their logo. Like, it's bad enough that I have such a dependency on these products, please do not also make me confront my fear of change. I have enough to deal with right now.
2. You’ve spent $50 on a face mask
And you’ve also spent $3. And they're all the same, I'm telling you.
3. You’re warned not try Accutane just in case you get pregnant
Apparently Accutane is actually pretty dangerous. Like, it could potentially kill your unborn baby and cause kidney damage. What’s a little organ failure, though? JK, but seriously, don't mess with Accutane.
4. Chugging 5 gallons of water a day in hopes of clearing your face
A friend of a friend tells you that the latest studies say water is the new Fountain of Youth and miracle drug, so you commit to borderline impossible amount of water intake. After peeing non-stop for three weeks, you realize nothing has changed.
5. Then cutting out all animal proteins out
But some magazine then tells you that the reason you have zits is because you’re eating meat and cheese, you monster, you. So you stop eating meat and cheese, even though it’s very hard and you wonder if life will ever be worth living again. Another three weeks go by, and although have lost two pounds, your skin is still as crappy as ever.
6. Half your paycheck goes towards fancy acne soaps and medications
You guys, it’s unbelievable how many acne products exist. It’s scandalous. Someone needs to stop this madness.
7. Getting as much mileage out of a good skin day as you can by taking infinite selfies
If you’re finally, finally having a good skin day, you need to get on that selfie game quickly, before it’s too late and a zit decides to rent out property in between your eyebrows. You relish these days, refusing to even use filters because you don’t need them. IN. YOUR. FACE, ANCE. But literally, in your face.
8. Snorting when celebs like Jennifer Lawrence complain about acne
I mean, come on girl. No disrespect, but you probably get like one blackhead on that perfect nose of yours.
9. Being forced to buy expensive makeup so it “won’t clog your pores”
I bet it’s all lies. There is no difference between that MAC pressed powder and the Cover Girl one. But you’re a sucker anyway, because what if???
10. You’re unhealthily jealous of all your clear-faced friends
You bitterly wonder why they lucked out with all the good skin genes. Why couldn’t your parents have been clear skinned? Why is life so putrid and unfair?
11. One word: cysts
Zits are one thing. Cysts are tragic. The thing about cysts, is that there is absolutely nothing you can do about them. Sure, I’ve Googled “how to deal with cysts.” You can press a hot washcloth against them. You can apply crushed ibuprofen on the affected, swollen area that becomes more and more painful by the hour. You could try salicylic acid. All worthless remedies. You are stuck with your baby skin-volcano, and until that sucker erupts on its own (in like three weeks), you will dread looking at your face in the mirror.
12. The week before your period is devastating on your face
Not only do you get to bleed out for a week, you also get to deal with the aftermath of a massive breakout. It's kind of like cleaning up your apartment by yourself after your roommates decide to throw a rager for no reason. (God, that is the greatest and most tragically real simile I've ever come up with.)
13. Deciding whether or not to pop a pimple is serious business
You could potentially leave a scar on your face, plus squeezing zits is disgusting and makes you sad. But the thought of getting rid of it is also quite pleasing and eternally tempting. Ugh, decisions.
14. Wanting to throw a tantrum whenever someone tells you, “It’s just stress!”
No. It’s not just stress, okay? I mean, okay, maybe it is stress. But it’s also so much more than stress.
15. BB cream doesn’t even come close to evening out your skin
BB cream offers light coverage and promises to even out your skin tone, and that would probably work if your skin wasn’t such a failure. BB cream is ironically for people with already perfect skin. You need the big guns: concealer and cover-up.
16. Feeling forever 15
There’s nothing quite like showing up to work with a bundle of zits generously sprinkled all over your face. You may be wearing heels and a blazer, but your face isn’t fooling anyone.
17. When people older than you say, “Oh yeah, those never go away.”
And you can’t help but feel hopeless and dismayed and lied to. But the truth is that your skin doesn’t owe you a thing, does it?
Images: Fotolia; JEM/Flickr; Giphy(6)