Here is a guide on how to tactfully approach people with acne, which also doubles as a list of things that you may or may not already know about them.

  1. People with acne are not dirty

I thought I’d start off my list with this simple rebuttal of an outdated myth that we’ve heard time and time again. Acne is not a reflection on anyone’s hygiene. Other factors such as genetics, hormones and just the simple fact that every single body is different, can definitely wreak havoc on our skin. Yes, there are probably people out there with bad skin as a result of sleeping with full faces of makeup on, or forgetting to wash up after heavy sports and whatnot. But I assure you that there are also people with flawless faces and poreless skin who do all these things and never have any breakouts other than the occasional zit.

With today’s scientific research standards and the simple education that we can get from simply going online and watching a video or reading an article, we should know that not only is this idea outdated, it’s also narrow-minded.

Their skin doesn’t change the fact that they are also normal people with drive and purpose.

  1. People with acne are extremely careful with their skin

If I had a dollar for every single time I’ve heard some ignorant person say to someone with acne, “You should really wash your face more often”, I’d be able to hire my own in-house dermatologist to wash my face for me every day for a year. Again, it’s a highly misconstrued conception. I have friends with acne who have adopted drastic measures into their lifestyle such as going vegetarian from being a full-on carnivore, cutting down on their dairy and their favourite bubble milk teas and strictly eliminating all sorts of vices from their lifestyle, all in the name of clear skin. I, myself, have a six-step bedtime skincare regime that always ends with intensive spot treatment. It’s difficult to believe because people look at problem skin and imagine that they’re doing something wrong, but believe me when I say, people with acne are most likely already trying everything they can and giving it their all.

  1. People with acne know they have acne (and are probably self-conscious enough as it is)

You don’t have to point it out to them, you don’t have to tell them, they know. It’s not the same case as telling someone they have a chili flake stuck in their teeth or that their eyeliner wing is walking off their face and into their hairline. Sure, they’ll burn with embarrassment for a bit but they can always turn around and pick it out with a fingernail or clean it up with an emergency q-tip. When you carelessly say to someone, “Wow, what happened to your face? Why do you have so many pimples?”, they can’t go into a corner and wipe their acne away with a wet tissue. So no, you’re probably not being very caring or tactful by trying to “enlighten” them on the condition of their skin.

But that feeling of satisfaction that empowers us when we first leave the house with our foundations the perfect amount of matte or dewy and our eyeshadows uncreased, for that moment, that feeling makes it all worth it.

  1. But at the same time, people with acne are allowed to be confident

Sometimes it gets tiring being weighed down by something that’s not easily controlled or easily changed. More than once I’ve heard a person talk about someone with acne and say “Wow. She’s so confident to be able to do this and that out in public while having to face so many people. If it were me, I don’t think I would be brave enough”. Try and not to be so surprised to see acne-ridden people out and about and not hiding in caves, while being out there and making things happen for themselves. Their skin doesn’t change the fact that they are also normal people with drive and purpose. Just because to other people it’s a big deal, it doesn’t mean that it should control that person’s life as well.

  1. Sometimes we love wearing make-up too (and you can’t stop us)

Some days, we just want to put a full face of makeup on because we love makeup for what it is. Not because it hides our flaws and blurs out any unwanted details, but just because of how it makes us feel. Yes, it’s probably clogging our pores as we speak and it’s probably going to look oily and slide around our face within hours. But that feeling of satisfaction that empowers us when we first leave the house with our foundations the perfect amount of matte or dewy and our eyeshadows uncreased, for that moment, that feeling makes it all worth it. So don’t rain on our parade.

The point is, people with bad acne know they have bad acne. A tactful question or a caring comment is alright here and there but more often than not, they already know what you’re thinking. Oh and please stop asking us to wash our faces with lemon and oatmeal or papaya seeds or whatever hippie home remedy you’ve got brewing because a) acne doesn’t have an overnight solution and b) we’ve probably already tried it ourselves and no longer relish the thought of sitting on a toilet seat for 45 minutes covered in fruit.

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Jazreel
"I'm the writer your mother warned you about." A modern South East Asian girl who's ahead of her time and currently in the midst of self-rebranding. Plans on being a lazy, entitled, money-driven millennial even when she's seventy. A perfect combination of all four Golden Girls, her fruit equivalent would be a spicy strawberry.