Growing up with cystic acne is tough. It started for me at a young age, and it raged on until I finally took Accutane my junior year of high school. Here are 10 things you shouldn’t say to someone with acne, because I’ve heard them – and it hurts!

Read on to learn why these words might be sensitive to those with acne!

what not to say to someone with acne

1. You Should Wash Your Face More

Ahh, it’s such a classic line. People with clear skin, who aren’t genetically inclined to getting terrible breakouts, think that simply washing their face alone keeps acne away. Or, they believe that you aren’t washing your face enough or sleeping with makeup on.

I can guarantee that acne suffers, and cystic acne sufferers at that, are doing all they can to keep their skin clean! In fact, I had and still have a better skincare routine than most of my friends, but have the worst-looking skin.

Starting back in high school, I would wash my face two times a day, take care to not sweat in makeup, and use acne medication. It still was so hard to control.

So please, don’t mention washing your face more as a solution. Chances are, the acne sufferer is already taking great care of their skin.

2. Ouch, Does That Hurt?

Pointing out any major pimple or zit on someone’s face is not cool! In fact, anytime anyone referenced my skin or face I felt like I wanted to melt into the ground.

Acne has basically changed my whole demeanor and given me social anxiety. Since I had acne-ridden skin, I always wanted to be in the background. I never wanted to give anyone the chance to analyze my face and be grossed out/feel pity for my skin condition.

If you have the urge to point out a huge-looking zit on someone’s face, please refrain! I can almost guarantee that the person is on edge, praying someone won’t bring it up.

3. Did You Know Chocolate Causes Acne?

This one is a double-edged sword for me. In the first place, it’s wrong to assume (in most cases) that acne is the fault of the affected individual. I’m talking about those who have acne in their genetics – sometime’s it doesn’t matter what they do, the acne will still persist.

But…now that I am older, I have realized a few different things. In a way, YES, chocolate can influence your skin breakouts. If you are interested in learning why, read this article:

Read More: 5 Startling Reasons Sugar Is Bad For Your Skin

I do wish that I would have known to eat better for acne growing up. I’m not sure if it would have cured my acne or not, but I would have liked to see if avoiding sugar and eating less processed foods that sat in my intestines for days would have improved it.

Long story short, make sure you don’t assume that the reason a person has cystic acne is that they are eating chocolate all day.

4. You Should Use ProActiv!

I have tried ProActiv! And it didn’t do much for me. In fact, my acne was so bad I needed to go on Accutane which is a last resort medication. I started with drugstore products, tried ProActiv, saw the dermatologist for topicals, and then finally was put on Accutane.

Trust me, the person who has acne has probably tried ALL THE THINGS!

5. You Have On Too Much Makeup

I put on an insane amount of foundation growing up. I even had it on at sleepovers, at the pool, at the gym, etc… because if I went around barefaced with my acne I would be mortified! It really hurts when people will comment on how bad your acne is, but then also comment on your “cake face” when you try to cover it up.

Bottom line, we shouldn’t care about how much makeup other people choose to wear.

6. Drink More Water!

This goes back to assuming about an acne sufferer’s diet. I drank water like a fish and still do. Of course, it is great for you and does help flush out your body. It also keeps your skin hydrated. But, it alone would not help me.

This dermatologist’s office echos that sentiment by saying, “while water can help to deal with acne, it should not be expected to be a prime solution for the skin condition.”

7. No One Even Notices Your Acne!

This one is always hard to hear. My mom and husband would tell me this. And I know that it comes from a place of them wanting to help me feel better, and not worry about what other’s think. But in reality, I know that people do notice acne. If people notice ONE single zit on someone’s face, I totally believe they will notice a whole face full of pimples.

While it seems nice to say to someone to pick them up, I honestly believe if you say this to someone with cystic acne they won’t believe you.

8. You’re Pretty Even With Acne!

But I don’t want acne!!!!

9. Wow, Your Skin Looks So Much Better!

Going back to #2, I just hated when someone would bring up my skin! One time, someone I knew told me my skin looked so much better after Accutane. They had never mentioned my skin to me before. While I should have been happy that my skin looked clear, all I could think of was “great, I knew it! Everyone noticed my cystic, terrible acne. Even me trying to blend in and stay in the background couldn’t hide it!”

While it was a well meaning comment (I think..?) I still felt really embarrassed that someone once thought my skin was really bad.

And this was over 10 years ago too, so these comments can stick with you!

10. Ugh, Look At This (One) Zit I Got!

I can’t be too mad at people who haven’t experienced cystic acne, because they just don’t understand. But I always got annoyed when people would freak out about one zit on their otherwise clear face! This happened in teen movies all the time too… and it made me feel like sh*t since I had a whole face-full of pimples!

Maybe don’t mention how you want to die because you got one pimple around a cystic acne sufferer. Haha!

Maybe don’t bring up acne at all to someone unless they want to talk about it first!

I hope this post helps you understand my point of view as an acne sufferer! Cystic acne already damages most people’s mental health, so please just be compassionate.

If you are an acne sufferer, I have lots of other informative blog posts on how to get rid of acne! Be sure to check out my best tips and tricks, as well as product reviews.

Best, Mia

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