I basically called my mom for help. Except when I say mom, I mean an esthetician.
I've never quite understood why some things get "awareness" days, weeks, or months. For example, March is Sleep Awareness Month. Who isn't aware of sleep? I mean, I get it — it's a time to remind people to try ways to improve their sleep habits and address their sleep disorders, but then shouldn't it be called Sleep Improvement Month? There's even the incredibly ironic Brain Awareness Week, in which you should apparently be aware of the very thing that makes you capable of being aware. Actually, it spotlights brain research, but then why not call it Brain Research Week?
In other words, I think "awareness" is often a strange choice of words for periods of time set aside to put a focus on something that, in many cases, people are very much aware of already.
June, the very month that started just a couple days ago, is Acne Awareness Month. And believe me when I say that we at xoVain are REALLY FREAKIN' AWARE of our acne. We have mirrors, thanks.
Asking me to be more aware of my acne is like when, in late 2001, John Ashcroft issued a post-9/11 terrorism warning asking Americans to be on high alert, and Tina Fey was like...
Anyone who isn't aware of acne is either a single-digit-age child or... nope, that's pretty much it.
Personally, I don't have an active breakout on my face at the moment, but I do have plenty of red spots on my chin. Everyone says watching those Dr. Pimple Popper videos can ease the viewer's urge to poke at their own skin, but it just got me looking for practically invisible blackheads and trying to squeeze them out. The result? Maybe four clearer pores and a whole lotta inflammation.
But just in case you've ever felt like the only person obsessing over their zits, the xoVain crew and I wanted to make you AWARE that you're not the only one. So instead of Acne Awareness Month, we're celebrating the first unofficial... I mean, I guess it's official if I say so, so scratch that — the first official Acne Solidarity Open Thread.
Brenna: "My acne: stress, hormonal, just-for-the-hell-of-it acne. I believe I am about to start shedding my uterine lining any day now, so my hands are clasped in prayer that this is hormonal, but it's been getting worse over the past couple of weeks, so it's probably also stress. The ironic thing is, the more I'm stressed, the more acne I get, and then I get even more stressed about how bad my acne is, which just makes it worse! A vicious cycle. I don't like to wear makeup, and when these red volcanos pop up, I cake on the concealer, which is not fun in the sweaty, humid south. It just drips off, and the acne becomes a shade of bright red you never thought achievable. I'm uncomfortable with my acne not only because of how it looks, but also it makes me feel dirty — like I didn't wash my face well enough or it's a reflection of what my life is like at the moment. Also, to the touch, it always feel WAY bigger than it actually is so in public, so with no mirrors around, I'm sure it's all anyone can look at when they are talking to me."
Dan: "Here I am, at the derm the other morning, after my glycolic peel, which, by the way, does nothing for acne scars — but you can see that huge pimple on my face, and yes, I'm about to be 31 and am very aware of my (occasional) acne popping up."
Hannah: "My skin is bumpiest on my lower cheeks and jawline because I get all my hormonal acne there. Right now I have a few levels of faded spots but thankfully they're clearing up thanks to Skinceuticals CE Ferulic."
Hannah L.: "I'm not going to claim to struggle with acne because that's just not true, but I do tend to pick at spots and bumps, which has left some scarring on my chin and around my mouth. I get some hormonal spots, but breakouts happen most often for me when my skin is dehydrated or irritated. I've been lucky to find a regimen that works to keep dehydration at bay which has really reduced the number of spots I get, and I'm starting to work on the scarring with the help of Missha Time Revolution Night Repair."
Kara: "Spiro basically saved my skin, but I have scars that show under makeup AND period monsters that lurk under the skin and hurt."
Kim: "My face likes to get these tiny bumps around the perimeter: my forehead, where I get sweaty and greasy (yum!) and my jawline, which is mostly hormonal. Basically, even when I'm taking the best possible care of my skin, these little guys are prone to pop through. I've just accepted it. To be honest, I never really notice anyone else's blemishes, so I'm sure no one notices mine. Extra added blemish bonus: I currently have a pimple on my calf. I only know it's a pimple because it popped the other day. I scratched it for three days straight (thinking it was a bug bite) which resulted in the surrounding bruises. Glorious."
Maricar: "I get hormonal acne on my chin every month. The cysts are large, painful and difficult to cover up. Since I'm so used to getting hormonal acne, it's not a big deal when I get them anymore. However, I've been using a product with AHA, and it's making a big difference. Now when I get cysts, they don't grow to their usual size."
Maura: "I was about to humblebrag that I never really get any zits, but now this little family popped up and I don't know what to do."
Morgan: "This is from an xoVain story about a year ago — my skin without makeup is basically a vast tundra of acne scarring, and there is never not at least one pimple between my brows and another around my nose."
By all means, you don't have to post your acne closeups in the comments, but you're more than welcome to. You're also more than welcome to complain about your acne, ask for or dole our product recommendations, or talk about anything else that you're AWARE of right now.