My skin hasn’t been particularly well behaved since my teenaged years. I still get spots and I do that unforgiveable thing of messing with my skin which only makes it worse. Having ‘bad’ skin is something that many (perhaps even most) of us can relate to, but it’s very rarely talked about in the world of beauty/ body positivity. For those of you who struggle with this, here are five everyday challenges that only you will truly understand. For those of you who don’t struggle with your skin, read this and for the love of god please have some sympathy with us- doing a daily battle with your skin is a nightmare.
· Rain is not your friend
Rain is not a friend to those dealing with ‘bad’ skin, whether it be spots or dry patches or something else entirely. If you opt for the make-up route, you can be pretty sure that the rain will at least partially smudge your face at some point, meaning that no matter how well you blended in the morning, you will be left with streaks by the end of the day. Some of us give up on the whole make- up affair and brave the rain clear faced, possibly better for our skin in the long term but potentially leading to a rather self- consciously spent day. None of us should have to care about our looks, but worrying about these things only makes us human and all I can say is: You have my full sympathy, I’m right there with you.
· Hooking up becomes something you need to plan
Hooking up with someone becomes a whole new challenge when you’re self-conscious about your skin. Firstly, there’s the issue of kissing- something as simple as leaning in close stops being romantic when all you’re thinking is ‘dear god they can see every imperfection.’ I’m sure we’d all love to switch off that inner voice but it’s hard when all we see in the media are perfect kisses with beautiful women who have clear skinned smiles.
Then, when you have actually kissed, you suddenly become all too aware that your make up will inevitably be smudged- at best you’ll look a little messy, and at worst you’ll have started to look like a clown, with red lips smudged and foundation gone awry.
This only gets worse if you decide to spend the night- you will not wake up looking as you did when you fell asleep. Do you ask to take your make up off? Do you leave it and accept smudges and spots? Do you leave early? Do you wake up early to re- apply your make up? None of these are things you want to be thinking; you just want to enjoy the moment- but sometimes it feels like having bad skin is starting to take over a little. It certainly limits your ability to be spontaneous and get lost in the moment.
· Colds are a nightmare
It is challenging enough to look as you would like to with a cold; add in the extra problem of difficult skin and it can be the last straw. Anything involving liquid near your face and lots of rubbing is just not for you. If you have a cold you just want to mope, or at least I do, not be wondering about whether you’re smudging your make up every time you blow your nose.
· You smile less and look away more
Call it vanity if you will (if you do, you’re wrong) but feeling self- conscious about your skin can have a major impact on your confidence and affect how you connect with others on the day to day. I know that personally I come across as rude because I’m less willing to make eye contact, I smile less and look away more. It’s not that I don’t want to talk to the other person, but I don’t want to draw any attention to my face; although inevitably I probably end up drawing more attention. I’m almost constantly worrying about if the other person is judging me, or if I look as bad as I think I do.
· It’s always in the back of your mind
Worrying about you skin is hard to switch off; you find yourself dreading pictures and planning bathroom breaks just so you double check everything is still ok. In high school, I used to double check my make up almost every break (worryingly, so did most of my friends- we’re all made to feel self-conscious in different ways.) One of my biggest bugbears at the moment is not feeling confident enough to go out without make up, even to the gym. If I go to the gym with make-up though, then I still have to shower and re-apply it all afterwards. It takes me longer to do all of this and so it’s less easy to be flexible or run around when I can. These may sound like small things, but they get irritating when a part of your everyday life.
If you’re dealing with skin that you struggle with- you are not alone, and these everyday struggles are something many people are tackling. If you don’t, then have some sympathy on the rest of us and please don’t trivialise the impact it can have on people.