Change the Way You See the World
In their own words, patients
tell what it's like living with acne
People often say that having acne is no
big deal, but thatís far from true. Several studies have shown that
acne can diminish a personís quality of life. Having acne can lead
to depression and anxiety. Acne can make people feel ugly. It can
destroy a personís self-confidence. People can feel so badly that
they stop hanging out with friends. Acne can even cause adults to
call in sick rather than face a day at work. The following lists
some of the problems that research shows acne can cause:
To find out just how acne makes his
patients feel, one dermatologist asked his patients. This is what
they told him.
In their Own Words
I feel like a vampire. . .
"I don't look in mirrors.... I am like a vampire--I shy away
from mirrors. I comb my hair using my silhouette on the wall to show
the outline of my head. I have not looked myself in the eyes in
years. Itís painful not to be able to do that, and that is a direct
result of acne, the acne scarring."
I feel so insecure . . ."I
think that if I had more self-esteem about the way I looked, I think
I would have been more outgoing. I would have gone to more parties.
I probably would have been more outspoken in class and would not
have felt so insecure about going up and speaking in front of a
group of classmates."
I feel humiliated . . ."It is
really humiliating to feel like I have no control over my acne. I
hold my head down, and I am ashamed to look at people; I feel so
embarrassed. I am 25 years old and to be acting this way is very
I hate that the first thing people
see is my bad skin . . .
"It's associated with being dirty, and I hate that, because
it's not at all like that. I inherited it from my mother, and she's
always telling me that she had the exact same thing and that it will
go away. I am mad that I inherited it from her. My dad makes me feel
bad because he never had bad skin when he was younger, so he doesn't
understand.... I hate that the first thing people see when they look
at me is bad skin. I really. really hate that."
Not a day goes by that I donít think
about it . . .
"I feel like I don't look right no matter how hard I try to
dress up and look niceóthere is always that area of pimples there,
and it is very unsettling. There really hasn't been a day gone by
that I don't think about it, or look at my face.... Should I spend
that much energy on it? I could be doing other things...instead of
wasting 5 to 10 minutes every day looking at my face in the mirror,
or playing with it, picking at my acne."
What this Dermatologist Tells His
Clearing up the acne can relieve the source of these disturbances,
but many people don't realize that something can be done.
Many myths about acne, especially
regarding diet and hygiene, are still considered true. And many
parents and older siblings are stuck in the attitude of past
generations that nothing can really be done but wait it out. Thatís
just not true.
Making matters worse, there is
confusion among people with acne and their families about what works
and what doesn't. They are often frustrated by products that promise
to clear skin but that don't work for them.
Some non-prescription products may be
more effective than others, but dermatologists have treatments that
work just about 100% of the time. Most cases of acne can be cleared
up with the right treatment.
*Patient testimonials courtesy of John
Koo, MD. Dr. Koo is a dermatologist who practices in San Francisco.
1 Koo J. ďThe psychosocial impact of acne: patients'
perceptions.Ē Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology
May 1995; 32: S26-30.
content solely developed by the American Academy of Dermatology