Disclaimer: All the names used are not real. Any resemblance is highly coincidental.
“When I was in college, I asked Tasha, my roommate, to rate me on how beautiful I was from 1 to 10,” Sonia said. “You know, she gave me a 5 because my skin had an acne condition.”
My best friend Sonia has had acne ever since she was ten. At first, it was presumed to be a normal thing, but eventually, it got worse. Her acne began to spread all over her body.
“I recall having so many pimples on my neck. They were full-blown, pus-filled pimples too,” she recounted to me over a meal.
She has pimples on her neck, her chest, her arms, and her back. The worst part of it all, was not only did it affect her facial complexion, but it also caused her constant pain.
Soon she realized that she couldn’t eat a normal diet like everyone else. Sonia is a foodie. She loves food, loves going on food hunts and loves trying anything new.
On our occasional meetups, she’d always pick food on the menu that she’s never tried before, simply because she wanted to know what it tasted like.
Now, imagine someone like that, being told that they couldn’t enjoy food. In fact, it wasn’t just any particular category of food. She couldn’t enjoy what most people loved to eat. Within hours of eating, her face would react.
“I can’t eat chocolates, dairy products, oily food…”
“Seafood?” I interrupted her with my question.
“No, I can’t even eat white bread, or white rice!”
She told me that the only way she could eat, and not kick-start any sort of reaction was if she consumed organic products only. She told me, that sometimes, when it got really bad, she wouldn’t care about the consequence and enjoyed whatever food she wanted.
“Of course la, I have to deal with the break-outs later on, but I can’t allow this to stop me from enjoying what I love,” she expressed.
She told me about how she got desperate and began hunting for anything and everything that could help cure her condition. She started going for facials, applying all sorts of creams, and taking pills that could improve her skin condition.
“I couldn’t find a single solution to my problem, not even from very well-known skin specialist centres,” she mentioned. She explained how most of them would show progress in the beginning, but then the problem would come back again later.
“I admit, sometimes, I am jealous of those girls with the flawless skin. They eat everything they want and they don’t have any problems. I’m happy for them, but sometimes when I look in the mirror, I wonder to myself, Why me?”
It wasn’t until recently that she discovered that she apparently had this condition due to the impurities in her blood. “My blood is not pure la, what can I do?” she paused before continuing, “I sometimes wish I could go for one of those dialysis things that kidney patients go for.”
Sonia told me how everyone always had some sort of advice to give her. She commented on how every time she had to attend a function, the first thing people would comment on was her pimples.
“I understand la they are concerned but sometimes it’s like ouch,” Sonia elaborated.
People also advise her on using make up to conceal her acne. “I have sensitive skin, I do wear makeup but it’s only restricted to paraben free products which contain natural minerals and they’re very costly”
Sonia believes that wearing too much makeup to cover up her flaws will not define her true self. “It’s okay to wear makeup to feel pretty, we have the right to, but making it a practice to hide our flaws, that’s not right. That’s an act of a cowardice.”
Every once in a while, a certain medication would work, and the breakouts recede for a while, giving her a break. She admits that she is still constantly trying out different forms of medication, but she understands that this is the card life has dealt her with.
“I don’t come up with any new remedies. Whatever I do, I must pro cleanse it from within. It will take a very long time. Sometimes you have to be really hardworking.”
When I asked her how things are now and how she’s managed to cope, she told me how beauty is not always defined by the physical. That one can still be beautiful even with flaws.
“Society has its double standard ideologies. In their eyes, someone with pimples is ugly or pitiful. Even I feel the same sometimes when I see fellow mates in such a situation.”
“We tend to compare some more,” she laughed. “It’s not right, we should stop it. Why can’t we support each other instead?”
Sonia then shared her piece of advice for those facing acne problems.
“To those who have been, or still are in my shoes. SELF CONFIDENCE and GOOD VIBES is all you need. It’s hard, but eventually you will learn.”
Sonia’s dream is to be a source of encouragement to many others out there who are fighting acne battles. She constantly posts about her journey with acne on social media tagging #acnelove and #acnenotugly in her posts.
Whatever it is you’re facing, remember, you look beautiful/handsome no matter the condition that you’re in. Self-love is a journey, and the journey itself is home.
For more articles on Motivation & Self-help, read 4 Practical Tips for Getting Yourself out of a Rut, and 6 Tips Shared by Everyday Malaysians on How to Avoid Procrastination.