What It's Really Like to Have Teen Acne

Teen boy with acne
Photo: Imagesbybarbara / Getty Images

Acne is super common, especially during the teen years. Even so, it can be tough to deal with and can negatively affect the life of a teen with acne, irregardless of how severe (or mild) those breakouts are.

This a a fictional account of what a typical teenager goes through when they are dealing with acne.

If you're a teen with acne, this story may sound similar to your own. And if you're a parent, relative, or friend, this may give you an idea of what your teen is going through on a daily basis.

I wake up every morning hoping that my skin looks better than it did the day before. A quick glance in the mirror shows it doesn't. I usually try to avoid the mirror, because seeing the redness and breakouts is depressing.

I head to school, although deep down I'd rather not face the world today. I'm feeling extra self-conscious about my skin.

I'd be so much more confident without acne.

Like today, in class, I didn't raise my hand even though I knew the answer. I don't want to draw attention to myself.

People say to me "try some Proactiv." Even my friends say this to me sometimes, just trying to joke around. I either pretend I don't hear or I laugh along with them, but inside I burn up with shame.

Gym is the worst. Undressing in front of everyone, when they can see the breakouts on my body, is uncomfortable.

After school, I watch my former teammates get on the bus to head to a competition. They look like they're having so much fun.

I used to be on the swim team, and I was good at it.

I stopped swimming last year. I told my parents that it just isn't interesting to me anymore, and I'm too busy with schoolwork. But that's a lie. I'm just too embarrassed to have anyone see the acne on my back.

The school dance is coming up; I probably won't go.

I don't think anyone would want to go with me anyway.

I'm super embarrassed about my skin.

I go home right after school. My friends are all meeting up at the park and ask me to go. I tell them I can't. I used to be so social, but lately I just want to hide.

My friends complain when they get one zit. Just one zit? I'd actually be happy if I had skin like that. Don't they realize my skin is so much worse?

My older sister makes fun of me. She never had acne, so she doesn't get it.

I even hate going to see my grandparents. We used to be pretty close. But the last time we were together for a big family dinner, Grandpa asked me what happened to my face, in front of everyone! I could have died. I haven't been to a family get-together since. I don't want to be humiliated again like that.

My parents say it's just a phase and that I'll grow out of it. I probably will, but that doesn't really make me feel any better right now.

No one seems to understand.

Not my parents or my friends. I cry myself to sleep a lot of nights.

I feel disgusting. I feel like no one will ever want to hold my hand or kiss me. Who will ever want to be with me, or think I'm attractive?

No one else at school, and no one else in my family, has acne as bad as I do.

I just want to give up.

I do take care of my skin!

Sometimes get so angry. Why am I the one with acne? I wash my face so many times a day, I've tried every acne treatment product from the store, even all of the super expensive products. I take great care of my skin. But I still break out all the time. Nothing works.

It's not fair! I'm supposed to be out having fun, hanging out with friends, not hiding from the world and feeling bad about who I am. Acne has stolen my life!

I'm tired of not feeling good about myself. I'm tired looking in the mirror and not liking what I see. I'm tired of feeling insecure.

There must be treatments out there that work.

There's got to be a better way to treat acne.  Maybe I'll talk to my parents about seeing a dermatologist. The doctor has got to have something stronger that will help.

Just thinking about seeing a doctor gives me a tiny little bit a hope. My acne might actually clear up, or at least improve a lot.

I think I'll talk to my parents tonight. I'm not really looking forward to the conversation, because it's kind of embarrassing, but I think in the long run it will be worth it.

I'm ready to take that next step and see a dermatologist for help. I know it won't happen overnight, but I know there is a treatment out there that will clear my skin. I'm so ready for it.

Next Steps

The Best Teen Acne Treatment Options

My Parents Won't Let Me See a Dermatologist for My Acne!

Teen Acne Treatment Tips

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