What not to say to people with acne | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022

Art courtesy of Kaye Blegvad
Art courtesy of Kaye Blegvad
Art courtesy of Kaye Blegvad


I don’t know about you, but I’m happier when people I talk to keep mum about my aggressively swelling zit than when they tell me my skin’s looking amazing. Self-control and respect are limited nowadays, and unless it’s a dermatologist talking, pointing out others’ acne isn’t a polite thing.


Acne is a common skin condition that plagues teenagers and adults. It comes in many forms, as we should know, based on our multiple trips to the mirror where we sometimes are horrified by the sight of a newfound blemish or four.

Acne not only affects our appearance; it could damage the soul. A Canadian study has found that even mild acne can trigger feelings of low self-esteem and even thoughts of suicide.


To never push anyone down that rabbit hole, don’t say these:

  1. “Don’t you clean your face?”

Never assume that an acne sufferer isn’t hygienic. As somebody who’s been battling these little things since I was 13—no thanks, polycystic ovarian syndrome—I know that washing my face has always been a top priority. Sadly, no amount of water and crushed walnut shells can scrub away all the zits sitting on my skin.


Acne is caused by a blockage in the hair follicles. Sometimes, it’s when hormones screw us up. We don’t know when a pimple happens, but we prepare for them anyway. Paranoia over a breakout is real; not washing our face is a nightmare we avoid daily.

Comedo party

  1. “Why do you have so many products when you can keep your routine minimal?”

Our skin differs in many ways. A minimalist routine built on Cetaphil cleanser and Pond’s cream may keep someone glowing for days, but for others, that’s a formula for a comedo party.

Since not everyone has access to a dermatologist, there are those with acne who often have to suffer the painful process of skincare and lifestyle trial-and-error.

It’s a must to have faith in the products we invest in. If they don’t work as promised, it’s a dent in our wallets. But it’s also a chance to try something new that hopefully will work.


  1. “You’d be pretty if it weren’t for the pimples.”

Well, yeah, thanks for the reminder, which, by the way, we usually tell ourselves after a session of pimple-Photoshopping. Not only is this a jab at the existence of our zits, it points out the limits of our beauty.


Imperfection has always been looked down upon and edited out. It’s a reality we cover up with a fantasy that not many can afford. My biggest qualm about how we deal with it is, treating it as something we should cover up rather than embrace.

To be told you’re attractive despite the pimples is a better compliment. Imagine our zits having the effect of a Marilyn Monroe’s beauty mole. We’d be bombshells!


  1. “In love ka siguro, ’no?”

Yes, we’re totally in love. In love with the notion of skin that is as smooth as honey, of skin that doesn’t rebel when the hormones are a-comin’, of skin left alone by sad looks and judgmental stares.


Yes, truly, that’s a love story we hope to be in. It’s not always the one with princes. —CONTRIBUTED

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