“What’s happened to your face?”
A question, so simple, often has the power to impact the mind in unanticipated ways. Though it stems from pure concern, we all know what is up. It’s breakout season on Face Town. But such a minor query can send the person asked into a debilitating state of misery, questioning their self-worth and questioning how others perceive them.
Acne, or acne vulgaris, is yet again a vague term for all the nuisance on the face. There are actually a number of types classed under inflammatory (papules, pustules, cysts and nodules) and non-inflammatory (white heads and black heads). We all have had a fair share of encounters with the latter.
The incidence of a pink bump is uncannily in sync with the party/hangout/date you got coming up. That, my friend, is known as papules among dermatologists. It has got no “white center”. Just red, annoying and painful. Often times this evolves into something even more hideous – the pustule. Yucky, white pus filling it in. Cysts and nodules are the severe forms of acne originating deeper within the skin and need immediate medical attention. Nodules are similar to papules where they lack a visible head. But they are otherwise hard, aching lumps spiking out of your face. Cysts are fully blown pustules resembling abscesses. Both of these have high chances of scarring or blemish.
About 85% of the population between ages 12-25 must have experienced acne, however minor. It is not uncommon for it to progress beyond 30s. Once it onsets at puberty, it never really bids adieu for some. Acne sufferers tend to rely on over-the-counter medications and products for treatment. A portion of sufferers choose not to treat at all, failing to realize that, in most cases, people do not grow out of it. It is a popular myth. Negligence only works to worsen the skin.
Acne scars are not just skin deep. The psychological ramifications are not necessarily linked to the severity of the condition. Even mild cases cause individuals to be socially withdrawn such as avoiding parties or taking/posting pictures of self. 3 in 4 people feel uncomfortable going out without makeup when they have breakouts. How is beauty defined within this group of people? 64% said, it is clear skin. Appearance is deemed highly important in our society, so much so that the pockmarks, the dark spots, and the zits themselves negatively affect personal relationships. Simply because they are not looking their best, they choose to hide away. Worse, they get bullied. 1 in 2 people reported that they were ashamed about their bad skin.
It is not the same for everyone. Though some maybe be bold enough to step outside and not look back, others have significant trouble coping with anxiety and depression induced by acne. It is not always easy to not think about what others think, especially when it’s your face.
Occasional breakouts and acne are not the exact thing. Many a times, people with occasional breakouts fail to understand the situation. The unsolicited advice can be definitely triggering at times, although it does not come from an unkind place. It is high time we give acne the attention it deserves. There is no prevalence of acne-faces in the media ubiquitous around us. What impression does this leave on the mind? Albeit, people are coming out and sharing their stories and journeys to clearer, healthier skin on the Internet.
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