How Overcoming Acne Gave Me The Confidence To Stop Wearing Makeup
Overcoming Acne Gave Me the Confidence To Wear No Makeup. (Photo: iStock).

For a while after my acne was basically gone, I was still applying all the makeup that I had been previously in my everyday routine.

As far back as the history books go, women in many different cultures have relied on cosmetics and other beauty products to make them look and feel more beautiful. Whether it’s an everyday routine or something that is just applied for special occasions, beauty products have the magical power of instantly making us feel, well, beautiful.

In today’s world, it seems that makeup is almost required. If you decide to take a break from your foundation or mascara for a day, you’re probably getting the silent slap-in-the-face comment, “Oh, you look tired today.” Especially with the growth of YouTube and beauty bloggers, makeup seems to be more popular now than it has ever been.

Most of the gals in my generation had parents that wouldn’t let you even touch eyeliner until you were in high school. Now, some parents are purchasing full coverage foundations for their ten-year-olds (true story that I witnessed, you guys). As sad as it sounds, skincare is being put on the back burner while the focus is becoming the actual cosmetics.

For me, my mom wasn’t much of a makeup person, so I really never had an interest in covering my face in the product. That is until I reached puberty, and teenage acne pretty much began to consume my life. Confused, I headed to the drug store and purchased pretty much anything that said “clears skin” or “gets rid of pimples” in hopes that I could clear up this acne and then continue my regular routine of washing my face with the nearest bar soap and water.

(Related: 8 Mistakes You’ve Definitely Made When You’ve Had A Zit)

I’m sure I don’t have to tell you guys that none of that worked for me. I tried every system under the sun to cure acne, from Proactiv to Neutrogena, but nothing seemed to completely get my skin back to normal.

I started to break out around my freshman year of high school and did until graduation. I never had super cystic acne, just a bunch of pimples at any given time, but me, being my own worst critic, considered those blemishes the end of the world. Every time someone looked at me, I could tell they were looking at my acne, not ME. I can remember multiple times when kids would make fun of me for getting a pimple on my nose or in the center of my forehead (Sidenote: Why are kids in high school so mean?).

It was so frustrating to me because I never could figure out how to heal it. I tried everything, and nothing was working. Looking back now, I know it was hormones and genetics and probably the fact that I was using crappy products, but at the time, there were many moments when I wanted to just give up and get homeschooled. Whether it was the fact that I started to educate myself on skincare or the fact that I am just getting older, my acne eventually started to go away in my sophomore year of college.

Before this point, I was used to applying a full face of makeup (full coverage foundation, concealer, powder, setting spray, you name it) to cover up my acne. There was no way I would leave the house—even to grab milk from the corner store—without my face fully covered and looking as flawless as it possibly could.

For a while, after my acne was basically gone, I was still applying all the makeup that I had been previously in my everyday routine. It still seemed like the regimen to follow because I wasn’t yet confident about my skin, thanks to the leftover acne scarring (don’t pick your pimples, kids). But, one day, I sat down, looked in the mirror, and realized that my skin was actually pretty great compared to what it had been for the past six years, and I should be embracing it, not hiding it behind the literal mask of products I had been using.

After the realization that my skin wasn’t as bad as my conscience sometimes told me it was, I made the decision to cool it with makeup. I figured I was doing more damage covering up my nice, new skin with comedogenic foundations that would probably make me start to break out again. I began a job at LUSH and figured it would make sense to look as natural as possible to go along with what I was selling to clients.

One of the first times I stepped out without foundation, baring my skin for the world to see, I was a nervous wreck. I tried really hard to keep my head held up high, but I found myself still half-covering my skin or not making direct eye contact with people.

As I’m sure you know, most habits are difficult to break, and many times it doesn’t just happen overnight. In my case, I tried to wean slowly off my addiction to full coverage. I started with just medium coverage for events or nights out and BB creams during the day and slowly made my way to more of a tinted moisturizer during the day and a BB at night type deal.

After not wearing foundation out in public multiple times, I finally feel like I can hold my head high and be confident in my skin. Sure, it’s not flawless—no one is—but it’s a lot better than it was before, and that alone makes me confident enough to not care what other people think about or see on my face because I know that just having more beautiful skin makes me less of an outcast.

When I had bad acne, I always thought that all people saw was my imperfections and not the person I really was. This acne was defining me, and, honestly, it was taking over my life. I went from being a social butterfly to not wanting to have sleepovers, go to the pool or beach or do any type of activity where I might sweat off my foundation. After getting rid of my acne for good, I finally have the confidence to walk out the door with a smile on my face and a complexion free of foundation.

Now, rather than a security blanket, my foundation is more of something I use for fun or when I really want to get dolled up. I remember the moment when I said to my co-worker, “The day I can wear just a BB Cream and not feel like a troll.. That’ll be the day”. And luckily, that day has finally come.


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