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My Friend: Acne

My story—how I accepted myself, the treatments I've tried, and where I'm at now.

Acne: I've had it half of my life. I'm past hearing the reasons behind my acne from unqualified people with perfect skin; you wear too much makeup, you need to wash your face more, you need to let your skin breathe, you eat too unhealthily. Please, we've heard it all a million times.

Before I got acne, at the lovely young age of 9 years, I never really washed my face—that much was true. A quick wipe with a damp flannel every night was all my skin needed to look pure and perfect. When the acne first appeared, this all changed. I was introduced to the world of makeup—a pasty, dry concealer got me through my days and I began washing my face with a crazy mixture of different lotions and potions.

I went to my GP and got some totally scary creams to put on my face. Totally scary because, as you'd expect from creams that are designed to decrease the oils on your face, many of them made my skin really dry and sore. One of the creams, maybe my third one, I had an allergic reaction to. It burnt all of my face—it was stinging, bright red and very sore. I was still made to participate in the swimming lesson at school the day after, but let's not even get into that...

The creams didn't work, I went through every cream that I was not allergic to. I tried washing my face more, washing my face less, wearing no makeup, using face masks, improving my diet, cutting out dairy, and don't even get me started on the other internet remedies I tried! I even tried putting aspirin on my acne, before discovering it's carcinogenic.

I (kinda) gave up for a while. I mean, I still used all my salicylic acid face washes and my charcoal masks, but I accepted my skin. By this time, the acne had calmed down substantially from the state I'd been in when it first started. I was able to mostly cover it with a bit of makeup, that I'd been perfecting for the last 7 years. 

A few months ago, I got sick of the acne not only on my face, but also all over my chest and my back (the dreaded "bacne"). I started a course of antibiotics—Erythromycin. I've gone through God knows how many boxes and my chest and back have cleared up amazingly... but I still have acne on my face.

Sometimes, you have to settle with what you've got. I'm lucky that my acne is not so bad anymore, but I've also become much more conscious about how others feel. This has been a great learning curve for me, I've learnt that my skin is a combination type, but oily. I've also learnt that no treatment that works for me will definitely work for someone else because everyone has a different acne cause, and we all have different skin types. Beauty brands always use skin types to lure people in: "dry," "normal," "sensitive," "oily," "combination," etc., but your skin will never fit strictly into one category. There are over 7 billion people in the world today, we all have different skin and there is no way we can all be put into one of five boxes.

Here's a final thought: rather than consistently battling with your skin, accept yourself, understand that you are no less than anyone else, and finally—rock that sh**.

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