While almost all students get acne at some point due to puberty, genetics or environmental triggers, harsh stigma and lack of media representation can make acne-stricken teens feel abnormal and alone in their battle for clear skin.
While shows like “Glee” and “Gossip Girl” relate to the young-adult populus, they often leave out an essential aspect of the life and appearance of the average teen, acne.
For the millions of teens affected by acne, looking into a TV screen is a far cry from looking into a mirror at their own reality.
Acne is the most common skin condition in the United States, as 95 percent of people will experience it at some point in their lives.
Despite the prevalence of acne in reality, teens in entertainment and the media are often depicted with clear, flawless skin, perpetuating acne as a teenage “abnormality.” Ads and commercials blur out spots, scars and pores, advertising various acne treatments without the models or actors having any imperfections to perfect.
The distorted image of teenagers makes a the normal and common skin condition skewed with stigma. Teens are told “Wash your face” and “Don’t eat junk food,” despite following strict, routine efforts to achieve clear skin, while acne is labeled as gross, dirty and unhygienic.
Perceived isolation, constant shame and an ingrained feeling of “ugliness,” acne often leads to depression, anxiety and poor self esteem for sufferers of the skin condition, cutting far deeper than a few spots on the skin, according to the American Academy of Dermatology.
Teaching teens they shouldn’t be ashamed of their skin while emphasizing the normality of acne and ridding of the harsh stigma that goes further than someone’s skin can aid in bringing teens away from a life of constantly comparing, berating and loathing themselves and others based on the appearance of their skin.
When society expects us to have perfectly clear skin, we begin to expect it ourselves.
Our character is not marred by a few bumps and scars, and looking in the mirror shouldn’t be a burden.
By looking past what society labels “ugly,” we can realize that there isn’t really anything ugly about our blemishes at all.