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A Brief Treatise about Acne

acne

by | Mar 9, 2021

Acne is often relegated as a minor – some even say trivial – condition. It is part of growing up, almost like a rite-of-passage. Problem is, acne is not experienced equally amongst the population, nor is it distributed evenly. Some people might get a pimple here-and-there, while others will be cruelly afflicted for many years.

In an era where appearance seems to be more important than ever, acne has the uncanny ability to affect a person’s wellbeing, both physically and mentally.

Image of Leonardo da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man

Photo by Scott Webb on Unsplash

While teenagers are most often afflicted, they are not the only age group susceptible to the ravages of overactive sebaceous glands (the oil-producing glands that clog pores). According to the Canadian Dermatology Association (CDA), acne affects 20-30% of adults aged 20 to 40. The CDA even suggests that 20 percent of all newborns can be afflicted by acne.

I am 43 years old and first grew my beard when I was 19. The reason why? Acne.

As a teenager I was susceptible to pimples on my chin and was constantly overwhelmed with the urge to pop them, which eventually led to my skin being damaged and discolouring my chin towards a reddish hue. I am very pale skinned to begin with (which is something else I am regularly teased about, but now deflect by saying “No, I’m not pale, I’m skin cancer free”) so the discolouration is something that has gnawed at me for over two decades.

Which is why I decided to grow a beard and hide my chin.

This minor / trivial affliction has literally shaped more than half my life. My beard has literally become my calling card and I do not see that changing anytime soon. There are some people who are not as fortunate as I am. Their acne goes well beyond their chin and needs to be treated by professionals.

I am not entirely sure how to end this entry aside from saying that acne might be a part of growing up, but it is not minor nor is it trivial.

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