Acne can be debilitating and life-changing. It is a highly complex and misunderstood condition, which can lead to frustration and social stigma. The psychological effect of living with acne should not be underestimated. Unless you have personally been affected, it is very difficult to understand.
Research conducted by the British Journal of Dermatology (1999) has shown, "62% of adults with acne reported experiencing anxiety and/or depression, including clinical levels and long-term psychological damage".
It is challenging to express the suffering I have experienced during long periods of my life when living with acne has been unbearable. It has affected my behaviours, isolated me and damaged my confidence, making me very self-conscious. It had suppressed my personality, prevented me from being myself and dictated how I lived my life with acne on my face.
As a teenager I was deeply embarrassed and I begged my parents not to make me go to school. I ended up shutting myself away in my bedroom for the next two years, with no interaction with friends and family members. My life became solely focussed on the appearance of my skin. Throughout the day I would be in and out of the shower and move from mirror to mirror, like a type of 'ritual' in hope it would make my acne improve. I would constantly feel my face to check if new lesions were developing underneath the skin and for every one I found, I would hit a new sense of lowness inside.
In my early twenties my experience of University life was tarnished as I ended up once again locking myself away in my room, not socialising and avoiding lectures. In my late twenties with adult acne I became so ashamed it affected my working life and I isolated myself once more. This frustration, confusion and upset led to a permanent state of anxiety.
In all periods of my life I have had bouts of suicidal thoughts. The frustration of waking up each day with new acne lesions became too much to take. It felt like I was caught in a cycle where acne triggered my anxiety and depression, which consequently made my acne worse, making me more anxious and depressed. Finding the root cause of my acne became an obsession and formed another part of my 'ritual'. This fuelled my research into natural dermatology and fortunately through this process of self-education I have managed to break this cycle and take control of my acne and psychological well-being.