Dear Strangers, Please Stop Advising Me On How To Treat My Acne
"Wow, your face looks like it hurts!"
"I've noticed your face and..."
"Have you tried Proactive?"
If you are an adult with acne, you've heard all of this before. Strangers on the street, acquaintances, or annoying coworkers coming up to you to talk about your acne, not realizing how freaking uncomfortable and uncalled for that is, thinking that they have the solution to your acne. As though you don't even realize that you have it or that you haven't tried everything in the book to try and get rid of it.
Personally, it takes everything in me not to sarcastically reply back, "Wow, I have been waiting for years for you to give me this brand new information. Thanks so much!"
I'm not saying this to make you feel bad for me, because you shouldn't. Adult acne is normal, and it's something I have been dealing with for years, and I am used to this. I am saying this in the hopes that someone who routinely tries to solve the world's acne problems at inappropriate times (aka, when you aren't my dermatologist) will stop doing this to poor acne sufferers.
I know that your intentions are most likely innocent. You feel bad for me and want to tell me about this amazing product your 16-year-old niece used, not realizing that this could be insulting to a 25-year-old, or for some reason you are trying to make a conversation and that is the first thing that pops into your mind about me. I get it. But it's hurtful, and rude, and you are most likely not telling me anything that I haven't already read about, tried, or spoken to my dermatologist about. Even if you think you have the life-saving miracle product from the jungles of the Amazon that no one has heard about, don't tell me. All you're doing is making me and anyone in earshot feel uncomfortable, and making yourself look bad. (Pro tip: Don't whisper it either. Your unsanctioned advice isn't any more respectful when you whisper it to me.)
Not sure what to do instead? It's simple. Don't talk about my acne to me. Just don't bring it up, ever. There are plenty of other things that we can talk about, like my curly hair or the upcoming *NSYNC reunion or what will happen on season two of The Crown, or better yet, nothing! I'd rather you just not speak to me if you can't think of anything else to say to me besides "wow, you have acne and here is the solution."
I'm not saying this to be mean. I'm saying this because there is more to me than my acne, and it's insulting to know that people judge me for it or associate me just with acne. I don't need to tell you my backstory about why I have it, I don't need to tell you about what products I use, and I don't need to tell you about what foods I eat or anything else that you think is related to acne. I don't need to defend my health or cleanliness to you. Because I am still going through the struggle of seeing myself as more than my acne, and part of doing that is not talking about it with people I don't really know whose opinions I don't need.
I say this with the up-most respect. Next time you think about talking to someone about their acne, just don't do it. Talk about the weather or something.
More Than Acne