Adult acne is on the rise, but despite its prevalence a lot of people are still clueless about how to talk about it.
In a recent Instagram story, singer-songwriter Lorde said she was sick and tired of receiving unsolicited advice from people about the best way to get clear skin. “You know what sucks? When you’ve had acne for years and years and years, done all the drugs, tried all the things, and people are still like: ‘You know what worked for me, moisturising’,” she said.
The 21-year-old isn’t the only one who’s been on the receiving end to these kinds of comments. We spoke to adults affected by acne to find out what they wish other people would stop saying.
‘Have you tried drinking more water?’
“People love to suggest this as if it’s some absolutely groundbreaking miracle cure that no one has ever heard of,” says Sarah Harris, 27, from London.
“Yes, staying properly hydrated is important for healthy skin. But it is so unbelievably patronising to suggest I’m not aware of the health benefits of water (if anything, many acne sufferers probably know far more about skin health than you do - having a chronic condition does that). Drinking more water alone is not going to cure my acne.”
‘Make sure you shower.’
“I had adult acne for 10 years. Over this time the unqualified ‘advice’ I received stretched from being told to cut out dairy to making sure I shower enough,” says Tome Levi Perrin, 28, from London
“While the first stems from plain ignorance and nutritional trends, the latter is just downright offensive. A note to the general public: When someone is struggling with their skin, the personalised advice of a dermatologist is the only one they value.”
‘Wear less make up.’
“I have had a lot of people say this to me, but there is so much more to acne than just cleansing your skin,” says Holly Whiting, 24, from Leicester. “For instance my acne is hormonal and as a result of PCOS, so any amount of make up is unlikely to make a difference.
“Unsolicited advice can make us feel like people think we aren’t taking care of ourselves and our skin, but we’re probably making more of an effort than anyone else.”
‘Just put honey and turmeric on it.’
“Sadly for most chronic acne sufferers, there’s no cure for acne, just methods on how to keep it under control,” says Dinuki Suraweera, 32, from Philadelphia.
“So if you’re fortunate enough to be someone who only gets a pimple once a month, please use wisdom before advising a chronic acne sufferer to ‘just put honey and turmeric on it’.”