Back To School With Acne
“BACK TO SCHOOL” WITH ACNE by Joanna at Beautiful by Breakfast
While many parents ask, “is it safe to go back to school in September?” I know for some students, this won’t be their only concern about returning to the classroom…
For the best part of 2020, school, socialising with friends and having fun has been restricted to being online. What would we have done without the internet?! A lot has changed since we first went into lockdown in March and for many of us the most visible change has been in our skin. With regular use of face masks, more people than ever are struggling with acne.
It’s common to start developing spots as a teenager through to your early twenties due to hormonal changes within the body. But no matter how common it is, it doesn’t make living with it any easier. Up until this point, you may have found comfort from staying in and social distancing; preferring to talk to your friends on apps where you can filter your face.
As I approach the end of my pursuit for clear skin, I often wish I could go back in time and tell my younger self what I know now… I could have saved myself a lot of heartache and time feeling miserable. I can’t time-travel but I can share with you how to make REAL changes to your skin that will help you feel more confident about returning to school in September.
The skincare I wish I had growing up with acne…
When my first spots appeared, I didn’t have the first idea about how to look after my skin. I went from using nothing to ten different products overnight; all in a desperate attempt to make it disappear! Like most teenagers I bought my skincare from the local drug store, searching for anything that said ACNE or BLACKHEADS on the label. What I didn’t know then is that a lot of these products targeted at adolescent skin contain drying alcohols that actually do more harm than good. A common misconception when treating acne is to strip the skin of oil but unfortunately this creates a new problem… sensitivity, dry patches and oil glands in overdrive! So instead of seeing an improvement, acne becomes more inflamed than ever! One thing I wish I had understood then, is the difference between skincare marketed AT acne sufferers and skincare formulated FOR acne-prone skin. It should mean the same thing but unfortunately it doesn’t.
Most people using skincare for the first time have a restricted budget. But this year I was introduced to skin:genius, a natural, affordable, effective alternative to drug-store brands that doesn't contain all the usual skin irritants! It left me wondering how different my acne journey could have been if I’d had access to this growing up. There are no confusing routines or complex application methods, just three simple steps: cleanse, treat and hydrate! Click here to see my “back to school” skincare routine. Why isn’t this part of the curriculum?!
Overcoming your “skinsecurities”
With just a few weeks before school starts, this is the perfect time to start physically and mentally preparing yourself. My biggest insecurity has always been the thought of people talking behind my back or worse asking me “what’s happened to your face?”. This constant worry used to make me hide away at home and not want to see my friends. In my experience, the best way to tackle this kind of anxiety is to get in front of it! And by that I mean, start talking about it to your friends now. Wearing a mask, may or may not be the reason for your recent flare up, but you can use it as a conversation starter. By talking openly about your skin to as many people as possible, you will soon realise you’re not alone which will make the idea of going back to school with acne a little less daunting! It’s also worth mentioning, it might not just be students going back to school with acne… there might be teachers too! By talking opening about your “skinsecurities” you will feel better prepared to remove filters from your social media occasionally and start getting your friends used to seeing you without “beauty mode” before September.
Advice to my teenage self:
- Surround yourself with people who love, motivate, inspire and empower you. Detox your social media accounts of anyone who doesn't make you feel happy, grateful, inspired or connected.
- Join a support group to connect with other people who are just like you. You are not alone!
- Say yes! Make a conscious effort to say yes to invitations and live your best life without acne holding you back
- Don't pick, squeeze and obsess over your skin in the mirror
- You don’t need to conceal your acne but if you do use, natural, nourishing cosmetics
- Measure your progress! Listen to your body and dedicate your time and energy into understanding how to reduce flare ups. I find the best way to do this is by writing a skin journal and taking weekly photos