What not to say to people with acne

Dealing with people's response to acne can be annoying
Image caption Dealing with people's response to acne can be annoying

Dealing with other people's reaction to acne is a big part of coping with a skin condition.

Josh, Jordan, Katy and Chloe have been talking to Newsbeat about their experiences.

"It's the first thing people see when they look at you," says Josh.

"It becomes something that defines you. 'Oh Josh the spotty one'.

"I became an introvert."

Josh now
Image caption Josh now - at school, when he suffered acne, he was called names like 'pizza face'

Dr Anjali Mahto from the British Skin Foundation explains why some of the most common remarks about acne are based on misconceptions.

'Why don't you wash your face? You're obviously really dirty to have skin like that.'

Dr Mahto struggled with acne herself
Image caption Dr Mahto has struggled with acne herself

Katy: "We were never taught what causes acne, like excess bacteria, so people would always say to me, you obviously don't wash your face."

Anjali: Acne is nothing to do with personal hygiene. It's nothing to do with how often you do or don't wash your face.

'Drink more water... Stop eating greasy food… Quit fizzy drinks... Give up chocolate'

Image caption Jordan now - he said that when he had acne, looking in the mirror would him feel sick

Jordan: "They'd say it as if it was easy to get rid of spots... just drink more water. As if I wouldn't try."

Katy: "Mum tells me to stop drinking pop, but I tell her that I gave up the pop and I still had spots, so I'd rather just have the pop to be honest."

Anjali: "The diet and acne link has been controversial. There seems to be a small amount of growing evidence that diets that are high in dairy and processed sugars could aggravate acne.

"But in actual fact I think at the moment, our line is that what you are eating and drinking is not going to have any effect on teenage acne."

'Stop wearing make-up'

Katy uses make-up to cover her spots
Image caption Katy uses make-up to cover her spots

Katy: "People think you want to cover it up because it's a vanity thing but they don't realise you want to cover it up because of how low it makes you feel about yourself. We weren't allowed to wear make-up at school so I had to hide behind my hair."

Anjali: "Personally I tell my patients, if you do feel self conscious about your skin it is important to be able to cover it up.

"Being told that you can't is unhelpful. The key thing is to find make-up that is suitable.

"There are certain types of make-up that aren't suitable that will probably aggravate acne. But if you find non-comedogenic make-up that doesn't block your pores, that is taken off properly at the end of the day, I have no problem with that."

Katy without her make up - she says seeing other YouTubers without their make up gives her confidence
Image caption Katy without her make-up - she says seeing other YouTubers without their make-up gives her confidence but she still thinks wearing it is important

Why don't you squeeze your spots?

Anjali: "It's a really bad idea to squeeze your spots.

"Not only because there is a risk of scarring but you can send the inflammation deeper into the skin and end up with very large pock marks if you're not careful.

An example of scarring
Image caption This is what scarring from acne looks like

People who try to be helpful…

Katy: "I just thought, 'I just don't get why you're commenting on my skin. It doesn't affect you. It's not something you need to comment on - full stop.'"

Anjali: "There's very little you can say to someone. Often people with spots, even when their skin is looking better and they look in the mirror, all they focus on is the spots, rather than the skin that is good itself.

"You're already aware if you have a big spot on your face, you don't need someone to point it out. Unwanted comments drive social isolation further, because you don't want people to look at you or comment on you.

"People don't need to suffer in silence, there are very very good treatments and it's just making sure you get to see someone who can sort it out for you.

"It's important you find a doctor who addresses the psychological impact of it too, because that does need to be addressed."

More on this topic from BBC Three: How to deal with internet trolls from people who really know

For more advice, you can visit the BBC Advice pages on body image.

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