Today we meet Sophie who has struggled with her acne-prone skin since she was 15. Having reached an all-time low in self-confidence at university, Sophie tells us about how she got her self-esteem back and has learnt to love her skin at 22.
Hi Sophie! How long have you had acne-prone skin for?
I think I’ve had spots since I was about 15… it was definitely when I was in high school that I first started to notice my spots and become bothered by them.
When was your skin at its worst and how did it affect you?
I think my spots were actually at their worst whilst I was at university. I was eating bad food and not taking my makeup off before going to bed; I had loads of bad skincare habits! I wouldn’t want to put myself forward for anything or draw attention to myself because I wouldn’t really want people to be looking at me or my skin. It also meant I left my makeup on a lot of nights because I didn’t want to wake up with no makeup on, just in case someone knocked on my door early in the day or something.
In your day-to-day life did your skin affect how you felt about work or socialising?
My skin used to bother me a lot at work because I couldn’t be as outgoing as I wanted to be; I was constantly worried about people looking at my skin especially if they were too close to my face – I really didn’t like it! Seeing my friends was frustrating as well because as we got older they stopped getting spots and I continued to have them so it made me feel a bit embarrassed. The biggest thing for me was probably going to the gym or working out; there were just so many times I wished I didn’t have to put makeup on, and then feeling embarrassed because I did.
What helps you to feel better on the days you’re unhappy with your skin?
On the days that I’m unhappy with my skin it makes me feel better to put makeup on. The older I’ve got the more I’ve learned about how to properly use concealer and which products to use, so that makes me feel really good. Also treating it, using products that I know work and products that are good for my skin; treating my spots makes me feel psychologically better, like I’m doing something about the problem.
What is one thing about your skin that you really love?
I really like my freckles! My skin is actually really really pale, which is annoying when you’re trying to find a foundation but I actually quite like it, because it’s a little bit different.
What makes you feel good about your skin now?
The support of my long-term boyfriend and family who think I’m beautiful with or without makeup. Makeup also really helps me to love my skin, because I can highlight the bits I like and get rid of the bits I don’t!
I think I feel more okay about my skin now because I’m a little bit older and so I realise that you can still look and feel beautiful, and have spots. It is possible! So that makes me feel better about my skin. The older I get the more I realise you shouldn’t judge people on face value anyway, and from what I have learnt about spots, it’s nothing to do with hygiene or not washing. Spots are not your fault, so you can’t be blamed or punished by anyone else or by yourself for having them.
How has your life improved now that you have learnt to love your skin?
I think my life has improved a lot now that I enjoy my skin; I feel more confident and I feel like I can be myself because I’m not scared to put myself forward in situations where people are looking at me. Of course there are still times that I do get worried about my skin, but they are a lot less frequent now. I am definitely a lot more comfortable in my own skin.