My name is Hannah and I’m 23. My battle with acne started when I was 13 and ten years later, although it is much less severe than it was in my teens, it is still something which effects my life very single day. Just as I turned 13 I started getting a lot of under the skin spots, mainly on my forehead and t-zone. I went to the GP who simply told me it was all part of being a teenager and that it would calm down eventually. When things only got worse I returned to the GP who put me on a course of antibiotics, as well as some topical creams. These helped slightly but my acne was still really bad and and the mental side effects were taking over my life. I would desperately try and cover my spots with make up but it almost made it look worse! I felt ugly, embarrassed and there were many days where I found it hard to get myself out of bed. I couldn’t bear to look in mirrors or have photos taken and I would often make up excuses to avoid social events because I simply felt too ugly to leave the house.
I am 28 and thought I would have grown out of acne by now - I always used to think it was something that went by the time adolescents reached their 20s. I think a lot of people think this way. A couple of years ago I was refused entry to a night-club because the owner was convinced that I must be under 21 because I had spots.
My acne is a lot better now and I feel more positive about myself. It was awful when I was younger though. I used to be a good swimmer and was in the school team, but I was so embarrassed about the spots on my back that I gave it up. I dreaded sports lessons. I would always get changed in a corner of the changing room. In particular, I hated having to shower with all the other boys after football. It made me so miserable that eventually my mother wrote to the school to explain that she did not want me to be forced to take showers. I still avoid taking my shirt off when other people are around, and I never go on holiday anywhere hot. The dermatologist has told me that it might be possible to improve some of the worst scars, but they will never disappear altogether.