top of page

Acne – More than Skin Deep?

The challenges of handling acne and blemish-prone skin

A spot of bother!

Splat! …There goes the sound of another spot being squeezed and the pus hitting the bathroom mirror. The man in the reflection is me; a younger me; a me trying not to make too much of a mess of his face as he scrapes and squeezes, carefully examining his handiwork through the splattered glass. A tear slowly rolls down his cheek as he… OK, that’s all getting a bit melodramatic. But it’s true that dealing with acne is not at all pleasant.

If you’ve ever been unfortunate enough to suffer from it then you’ll know that the splat sound I opened with is no mere comic exaggeration – spots often do make a sound when they’re squeezed. And while these inflamed, puss-laden pockets seem to make for wildly popular content on YouTube, the whole thing’s not nearly so funny when the spots are on your own face.

I should know, having had acne throughout my university years and into my mid-twenties. I was lucky enough not to have the sort of extreme case that caused me physical pain or left with me deep scarring. Nor did it go on and on for decades as it does for some men. But it was certainly sufficient to floor the ol’ confidence and get in my head.

Acne undermines you. You know very well that it’s not a life-threatening condition and that it’s not some addiction that drags you into an abyss. You know that taking into account the great spectrum of medical conditions, it’s not so bad. And you’re certainly grateful for that. But… it still f*cks with you.

Physically, you obviously feel less attractive. Make-up is certainly an option. But even with the changes in attitude towards gender norms and identities, I’d say that the majority of men still aren’t up for slapping on a full face of make-up. And sometimes, make-up can bring more unwanted attention than you would have received without it anyway. I remember a boy at school being hassled for having spots and another one being equally hassled for wearing make-up to cover his spots up. You can’t win. Then, throw facial hair into the mix as well and you’ve got one hell of a challenging situation....

Read the complete article at Menswear Style, an online men’s fashion and lifestyle magazine and one of the leading digital publications in the UK.


bottom of page