You're trying to be sympathetic and helpful to a friend or relative who has acne. Or, you're just making conversation and drop a simple remark. But people with acne can be ultra-sensitive about their skin. Glib comments, innocuous as they may seem, can hurt them deeply, even if you don't realize it. Here are a few things that you should never say to someone who has acne.
Learn from these!
"What Happened to Your Face?" - This remark cuts to the quick. Acne is extremely distressing. Drawing attention to it in such a way is humiliating.
“Oh Wow, That’s Huge.” - That’s my skin condition you’re talking about, not a building or a mountain.
“You Don’t Need To Cover It Up, You’re Beautiful.” - People with acne are prone to receiving comments that basically translate to “your physical appearance still has my seal of approval”.
When you tell someone with acne that they’re “still beautiful”, you haven’t permanently restored their self-esteem to 110 per cent. Don’t assume people with acne need your seal of approval or your opinion about whether they should wear makeup.
“You Shouldn’t Wear Makeup Because It Actually Gives You Acne.” - Fair enough, I’ll make sure that I only conceal my acne with more appropriate measures, such as balaclavas, paper bags and Ned Kelly helmets.
“Things Will Get Better.” - Sometimes it’s beneficial to not talk to people with acne like they’re going through a breakup or their dog has di.ed.
Acne is not a situation where it really helps to use phrases such as, “it’ll get better” or, “I can’t imagine how you’re feeling right now” or even, “you poor thing.” It’s easy to feel the need to try and give advice or positive comments, but 99 per cent of the time, such good intentions don’t do anything to really help their confidence.
"Have You Ever Thought About Seeing a Dermatologist?" - The person with acne might actually welcome this suggestion, but it depends on how well she knows you. Close friends and relative can broach the subject, but it is touchy for casual acquaintances.
“Can I Pop It?” - No.
"Stop Eating Junk Food" - Eating junk food isn't good nutritionally, and most people know that. But it really doesn't have much (if anything) to do with acne breakouts. There is no scientific proof that eating junk food causes acne.
Remarks like this make the person with acne feel like she is being judged and acne is her fault. Don't make someone feel guilty. Let her just enjoy her milk tea.
Bring up the subject in a sensitive and compassionate way.
Bring up the subject in a sensitive and compassionate way. Then she'll know that you care about her well-being, that you're not judging her, and that you're supportive.
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