When embarrassment prevents you from seeking acne treatment

When you suffer from acne, you already have to deal with what you see in the mirror. You already feel self-conscious. You already have a hard time looking people in the eye. Add to that the embarrassment of talking about it with others – doctors or otherwise – and you’re ready to crawl into a hole and only come out if you can secure a bag over your head.

Believe me, I know the feeling. I’ve been through it, too.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a teenager who is already struggling to build up a sense of self-confidence or a woman in her 40’s who thought this stage of life was o-v-e-r.  You may choose not to seek treatment because you’re just too embarrassed and you hope it’ll go away on its own. Or you may have already sought help, perhaps multiple times, and are still struggling. The last thing you want it to rehash this issue or travel down the same disappointing roads.

What can you do when humiliation – not just acne – is making your face red?

{1} Accept your feelings. Always start here. Let’s get real: skin problems suck. And they are embarrassing. Most of the time, you can hide gassy bellies, bad hair days, toe fungus, diarrhea and other embarrassing maladies. But your skin is the first thing people see and there’s no hiding that.

Give yourself a break. Have some compassion for YOU. This is a very real, very challenging health problem that can leave emotional and physical scars. Whether you are embarrassed, angry, depressed or frustrated, accept your feelings with compassion.

{2} Try to loosen your grip on your feelings of embarrassment. Once you have accepted your feelings and allowed yourself to experience them, see if you can let go a little. Do you think you should be ashamed of the way you look? Is it your fault that you are experiencing skin problems? Would you want others to experience shame or humiliation if they were troubled with skin problems? Ask yourself: Is this sense of embarrassment serving me?

{3} Confide in trusted friends. This may be difficult if you don’t have any friends who have struggled with their skin, and even more difficult if all your friends have perfect complexions. But give it a try – opening up about our shame is the only way torelease it.

If indeed, you have no friends who have struggled with their skin, open a conversation by asking if they would be willing to share their experiences with shame. Everyone has got something they’re embarrassed about – a troubled marriage, feelings of unworthiness, weight issues, etc. Opening up will be good for both of you and best of all, your friend(s) may have wisdom to share with you about your skin and talking about it will help you build the courage to seek help.

{4} Always remember this: It’s not as bad as you think it is. One of the most profound experiences I have had since writing Glowing: Soulful Skincare has been the feedback I’ve gotten from friends and family. Not, “Hey, great book there!” or “Congratulations” – instead, I got something I didn’t expect, at all. I’ve received emails and phone calls from many who said they were shocked that I had endured such a long struggle with my skin and that I’d been so embarrassed about it. Every single one of them said: “I never really noticed your acne. You always just looked like a beautiful young woman to me.”

Your loved ones will always see your inner beauty, your heart, your soul. And what else really matters?

How have you overcome the shame of skin problems (or something else)?