Your Bod

Accepting your acne: Real girls open up about their skincare struggles

We've all heard it before: Wash your face twice every day, eat healthy food, take all your makeup off at night, wash your pillowcase regularly and make benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid your new BFFs.

But, odds are, if you're in your teens, your acne is mostly hormonal. Meaning that you can have the best skincare routine in the world complete with *all* the fancy products—and still have acne flare-ups.

Any girl knows that acne can be a serious confidence killer. But here's the thing: Instead of targeting every single spot on your face with expensive serums and treatments (that might not even work), your best bet might just be to get comfy with the skin you're in.

That's why we asked real GL girls about their tips on embracing their acne. Here's what we learned...

First of all, acne is *so* common.


From stubborn cystic acne to whiteheads and blackheads, acne is basically a universal experience for teens. The reason? Fluctuating hormones! As your bod goes through puberty, your hormones can get a little out of whack—leading to oily skin, clogged pores and, eventually, acne.

 "I've had acne alllll throughout middle and high school," shares Megan W., 17. "I've been on every single prescription medication and cleansing product you could think of—Proactiv, Epiduo—and nothing seems to work for my skin."

Heather B., 16, also deals with persistent acne. "I had persistent acne in middle school and tried to fix it by constantly scrubbing my skin. Now, my acne is better because I've learned to be gentler with my complexion. Chemical exfoliation is wayyy better than physical exfoliation!"

And everyone agrees that it's mentally difficult to have acne as a teenager (particularly as girls).


Elaine J., 15, says that the worst part about having acne is the stigma and the fear that people will assume "that you don't wash your face, or that having acne somehow makes you unkempt or less attractive."

Not to mention the endless pore-blurring and skin-clearing filters on TikTok and IG, which can make it feel like you're the only girl in the world with acne. "It's hard to feel confident knowing that you have zits all over your face in a world that prizes glass skin and fresh faces," admits Sara B., 14.

Luckily, there are so many ways to cope with the self-consciousness, and you'll discover even more over time


"I've slowly come to terms with my physical appearance not being the most important thing in my life," shares Millie S., 16, who's coped with her acne by fully embracing other aspects of her identity like hobbies, school and networking for her future career.

Meanwhile, Elaine found confidence once she realized that pointing out other people's pimples wasn't exactly on her radar: "I never notice other girls' zits unless they point them out, which means that other people don't care about how bad my skin is, either."

And Heather hearts when girls open up about their acne struggles online. "Seeing celebs like Millie Bobby Brown and Chloe Lukasiak showing their acne has been so helpful in affirming that I'm still beautiful with acne—and I don't need to hide it."

Finally, some parting thoughts...


The most important thing to remember about acne? It *will* get better eventually.

"I know everyone says that, but it really does. Over time, your body and your skin and your hormones will change...and you'll be able to find what works for you and what makes you feel good," says Millie.

And above all, don't let your acne get in the way of living your best life. "I avoided being in too many public places and trying new things because I was afraid of how people would perceive me, but I regret that. You can get back to having clear skin later in life, but you can't get back lost time and opportunities," Heather shares. We couldn't agree more.

Follow us on IG for more skincare tips @girlslifemag!

Read on for more health and beauty content:
✨ Yes, your skin basically hates winter... but we can help
✨ 5 easy ways to heal damaged hair
✨ How to beat the cold-weather blues

Slider image: @moniqueschreiber
Top image: @moniqueschreiber

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by Ava Slocum | 3/14/2024