Dealing with acne

It is unlikely that your acne will physically prevent you from doing anything you might want to do. It can be painful, but the pain is not likely to get much better or worse whether you're in your bedroom or down the pub! What is more likely is that the psycological effects will prevent you from getting on with your life, and from having the self-respect which you deserve. If are very depressed, don't be afraid to seek help from a friend, teacher, minister or professional counsellor. Here are some things I want you to know and remember.

Whatever you feel like, whatever you think you look like, you're not the only one in this situation - read some other peoples stories if you don't believe me!
People who don't have acne sometimes think they know all about it- the ad on the telly says all you have to do to get rid of acne is use some fancy facewash, so if you've got it, it's your own fault. This is simply not true! I'm sure you know this from experience, but it can be hard to say so.
One of the worst thing about acne is dealing with other people's reactions. Let's face it, acne is a pretty disgusting disease, even your best friend might not be able to help squirming at the sight - which isn't very comforting to you! Hopefully they'll be sensitive enough not to go on about it too much. You may be able to lessen negative reactions by reassuring people that acne isn't contagious. (I know from experience that even if someone touches your acne and gets the bacteria on their skin, although it might give them a spot, they won't get acne unless they already have a tendancy to it.)
You might think that ignorance and disgust is worse than active nastiness or bullying, but being deliberately cruel to someone with acne just isn't on. There is no excuse for bullying! Unfortunately, it does happen, and unless you're still at school and can tell a teacher, there isn't much you can do about it. All I can say is - don't believe anything they say. You know whether you're dirty or not, you know whether you are doing your best to deal with your condition or not, the bully doesn't. Try telling them that.
As for dating, well, I know what it's like being 17, and depressingly single, but believe me, teenage romances aren't everything. If you've never had a boy/girlfriend, you've never been dumped/two-timed/stood up either. Most of my more glamorous friends spent as much time being heart-broken as swept off their feet! I'm not trying to imply that "going out" is no good, just that it isn't the end of the world if you don't.
Please try and avoid the temptation to hide in your room all the time - that's just what "they" want you to do - stay out of sight so you don't pollute their fabulous acne free presence. In fact, people with this kind of pathetic attitude are in the minority. Most people are too wrapped up in themselves to even notice what you look like.
Try to look on the bright side when you see an improvement in your acne. There isn't a "cure" for acne, but most people find something that gives some improvement. Don't say "I still have acne" say "my acne isn't as bad as it was".
The web can be great place to meet people 'cos no-one knows what you look like, but it's no substitute for the real world. Get out of your room today - the world is an interesting place!
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