I was one of the lucky ones. Oh, I was definitely part of the one-in-five group–the guy who, I suspect, was referred to as “pizza face” even by my friends behind my back. I consider myself lucky that my parents found a dermatologist who wasn’t a quack, who didn’t treat my acne with liquid nitrogen or scrubbing regimes, but who prescribed antibiotics. I’ve still got a little bit of a Bill Murray* thing going on facially, but my acne cleared up quickly.
For one of my appointments he was unavailable and I had to see another dermatologist instead. The first thing she said to me was, “Why are you seeing a dermatologist?” It was such a huge ego boost I nearly asked her to the prom.
Edit: I freely admit I consider it appalling that this look is considered “rugged” in men and frowned upon in women. It’s a small consolation that “acne affects far more young men than women”.
What I lacked in quantity, I made up for with quality… I didn’t have many zits, but the ones that I got – legend-ary!!! The lack of quantity also seems to be compensated for by extending the teen years into my middle age – just got my semi-annual giant one (of course on the end of my nose).
They used to treat acne with radiation. Super effective, I’m sure, but one of my father’s colleagues developed cancer later in life as a direct result.
I’ll be 27 on Thursday and I still have persistent but probably technically “moderate” acne. It’s actually gotten much worse over the years, and when it’s bad I can look quite disfigured (thankfully, it hasn’t caused appreciable scarring).
Every year I think “well, I’m finally old enough to be free of this, aren’t I?” Nope, F you, my body replies. I’m tempted to go the antibiotics route, but there are myriad side issues related to that.
I enjoyed the article but until there’s an issue-free cure I severely doubt the social effects of acne will go away. That’s what’s so sinister about it - there’s apparently nothing we can do about it without causing other problems, it affects almost everyone at some point, and it’s essentially benign - and yet there’s a huge, probably evolutionarily-wired social stigma about it.
Even though I know better than to judge based on it, I still get a vague negative feeling about people when they have acne or other facial disfigurement. You can’t help it. I’m conditioned to empathize and not judge harshly since often I probably look worse, but it seems clear that most people aren’t like that and that that won’t change anytime soon. Oh well.
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