Being in the skin industry has made me aware of how little control we have over our skin. Right from when we are young and dealing with pimples, up until we are much older and dealing with ageing.
A saying I live by and often bring into my consultations are,
“You have your skin for the rest of your life. Think well of it in a positive light”.
Of the many conversations, I have had with my clients about their skin, I would say 70% don’t think positively about their appearance. It breaks my heart. The greatest gift you can give yourself is confidence. Confidence with the skin you have, not confidence in the skin you want.
Having a peaceful state of mind enables clear decision-making. This is an important factor when wanting to heal your skin.
Looking after your skin and wanting clear skin are good things. They shouldn’t be sacrificed because of how you see yourself and live your life. It is an unhealthy form of compromise. Good skin starts with how you think about it. This is where psychology and acne meet.
Your mind and your skin
In 2008 Dr Rick Fried addressed a dermatology conference, and released findings on how people’s perception of their skin could reflect what they thought of themselves.
Let’s take a closer look at this. One day you wake up and see one pimple on your nose. You think to yourself, NO way is this staying. You squeeze and squeeze. Then once you see the pimple is gone, and your skin’s inflamed, you then think, there has to be more.
Without washing your hands you continue to feel your face, only to find nothing, with a joyful heart. Next week you wake up with a few more blackheads on your face, thinking it’s your hormones or something you ate. And you have forgotten about your pimple search the week before.
Popping pimples cause a tear in your skin, spread bacteria around and infect your pores.
How you handle your acne can edify the state of your mind
Acne can trigger certain beliefs about yourself. You could have severe acne and find it distressing, but you understand that some people have acne and some don’t. Or you have a few blackheads and feel insecure and don’t want to leave the house without makeup.
Negative thoughts can have an impact on problematic skin by means of bad habits, obsessive-compulsive behaviour, and not knowing the truth.
Having the correct view of your skin can help you find the correct treatment. I see many people jump from product to product or use many regimes at the same time. This will confuse and aggravate your skin.
Having the correct view on what type of acne you have, and a correct assessment of its severity are both important. If you have acne-prone skin, don’t ignore it – you can do something about it. If you have a few pimples now and then, use the correct products, find the trigger and make sure that negative thoughts are not making your acne worse.
Throughout life, you have to make decisions and correctly assess whether the way you think is purely based on our experiences, or based on reality. Dealing with your skin is no different.
After ten years of suffering from acne, I know how it can create or escalate your insecurities. Acknowledge that breakouts will occur, but also know, that’s not all there is to you. Again, I will say it.
You are more than the skin you have.
You are more than what you look like
You are more than what you believe about yourself.
Frustration, insecurities, fear, and fatigue are all feelings our clients experience. You are not alone.
Two likely stressors that aggravate acne: anxiety and depression
Both anxiety and depression can stand in the way of your living the life they most desire. After having acne for six years, I decided I didn’t want my feelings to control me. I couldn’t shake the social anxiety, or stop wondering what other people thought of me, but what I could do, was to make sure it didn’t ruin my life. That means also acknowledging that it was a stumbling block at times. I honestly wanted to know that the future me would be grateful for the bravery I displayed when dealing with acne.
I had to have a clear mind, and acknowledge the type of acne and the stressors I had in my life, but also needed to believe there was more to me than what I looked like.
Ways to overcome the acne-related emotions
- Write in your acne journal what you are feeling and acknowledge your emotions.
- Speak to someone you trust about your emotions, or seek professional help.
- Do not overwhelm your skin with multiple products. Stick to tried and tested products that work worldwide.
- Take your time with exploring acne triggers. You may find it has something to do with your many skincare regimes.
- Gain a better understanding of what type of acne you have
Here at acne.org.za, we believe in taking a holistic look at acne and doing the following:
- Understanding what type of acne you have with and treat it using both natural and scientific products that are known to heal acne.
- Encouraging you to be confident in who you are, and having a clear mind when dealing with acne.
- Finding out what can trigger your acne, and then creating good habits based on your findings.
If you would like to speak to me about your emotional state around acne, take an opportunity and book a free care consultation with me. Sometimes speaking to someone who understands where you have been, can be very helpful.
Dr Rick Fried – Psychology and acne