Acne breakouts are pretty much a part of adolescent life. Some people have it worse than others but for most people, it starts to fade away towards one’s late teens. Unfortunately, there are people whose acne problems persist way longer and it can affect their self-esteem.
That happens to be the case for Abigail Collins, a 19-year-old sales adviser and criminology student from Glasgow Scotland. Her acne started breaking out when she was 10 years old but it only got worse over time until, by 2014, Abigail was suffering from severe cystic acne.
She said: “About five years ago it really peaked and my skin was the worst it’s ever been. I had constant breakouts and a new spot every day, leaving me with bad scarring now.”
“I’ve even struggled to get into relationships as I was so self-conscious about my skin and how it looked, especially to someone romantically, so I tried, and still do, to avoid this.”
“I don’t date purely because I don’t want anyone to think I’m a catfish or that I’m not being honest about the way I look. It’s so difficult to understand and see how another person interprets you.”
She became the “elephant in the room” at school because of her condition and was constantly picked on because of how different she looked.
To hide her condition, she would spend as much as two hours applying makeup.
Abigail continued: “I was bullied for years about my skin and the way I looked, mainly because nobody else looked the same as me which meant I was the elephant in the room every time.”
“My friends sometimes had negative things to say and would use my skin against me, which has left me with major trust issues when it comes to meeting new people.”
“I felt like I had to wear makeup every day for school and I was often late because I had to make sure everything was covered so it would take me one or two hours to get ready.”
She added: “I have a few close friends from school who support me unconditionally and help me in any way they can, but I still often feel alone as I don’t know anybody first hand who has similar experiences to me or who looks like me. This made my self-acceptance difficult.”
As time passed, she realized that people didn’t really care about her looks so she dialed back on the makeup when going to lectures and reserves them for nights out instead.
She explained: “I struggled with the concept of having to move away for the university as I was scared I would get a bad reaction from people I would be living with.”
“I was very self-conscious at first and skipped lectures when my skin was bad, but when I went into the second year, I realized nobody cared.”
Abigail has taken her story to Instagram hoping that more people like her get inspired to accept their looks and embrace them.
She said: “Instagram has helped me so much as I’ve seen so many other people who look like me and made me feel less alone. It’s nice to be able to chat to people about how I’m feeling or how our skin is doing that day, which is something you can’t discuss with most people.”
“I hope to show others that acne doesn’t define you and that you’re never as alone as you feel. There are always people out there who can relate and understand what you are going through and can support you.”