What university can’t teach you about acne

What university can’t teach you about acne

by Jackie M, LRP Editor

Going off to university is a milestone in life; a rite of passage. It marks a time of growth, independence, and ultimately learning to care for yourself. When I left for university, acne was the last thing on my mind—I would get an occasional breakout as a teen, but it was never too serious, so I figured ... any potential for acne was far behind me.

I was certainly wrong about that.

My acne developed slowly, with small white bumps developing all over my forehead followed by red pimples around my chin. I couldn’t figure out why I was breaking out. I tried everything from tanning to layering far too many strong over-the-counter treatments on my already inflamed skin, which only made my breakouts worse. Stressing about it seemed to make it worse. It was embarrassing that at 18 years old, when I was trying to make new friends, that I was breaking out—it felt like all anyone could see about me was my skin!

Fast-forward to winter break and heading home for the holidays. My mom couldn’t stand to see me suffering, so she made an appointment with the GP. His diagnosis was quick: after sitting with him for less than 15 minutes, he told me that my skin was a reflection of my health and all the changes brought on by university, such as sleeping less, eating unhealthy, processed foods (the university diet of pizza and chips at 2.00am…), and stress were all leading to breakouts. Then, he prescribed a moisturiser for acne-prone skin and a gentle cleanser. Most importantly, I made the commitment to undo some of the unhealthy habits I had acquired at school. By the end of my first year, my skin had improved significantly.

University is a time of change…and that change can greatly impact your skin. Even though university equates to freedom from you parents, you should still heed their advice: eat your vegetables, get your eight hours of sleep, drink lots of water, and exercise. It could be the best thing you do for your skin, and your self-esteem.