(Audio or text only clips) Becky developed acne at the age of 15 and has become increasingly worried about it over time. She has tried different treatments in her home country. She finds that the climate and foods available to her in the UK tend to make her skin worse.
Becky first developed acne at the age of 15. She was not worried at first because she saw oily skin and spots as a normal thing for teenagers. However, as time went on, her acne continued and she became more concerned. Becky’s acne has become more severe since she moved to England about a year ago. She thinks that the climate and her changed diet are factors behind this. The doctors she has seen in her home country have encouraged her to cut down on fried foods and to eat more vegetables. However, Becky lives in catered accommodation and doesn’t find the salads available at meal times to be as tasty as the cooked vegetables that she was used to. Another factor for Becky’s acne is stress. She also finds that worrying about her skin and trying to keep it healthy, such as by drinking a lot of water, can interrupt her studies. Becky sometimes struggles with finding suitable skincare products because her skin can be both oily and dry and she is cautious after using an exfoliating product last year which made her skin very sensitive.
Becky has seen three doctors in her home country as well as having been to a private clinic. The first doctor she saw about acne was when she was 16. She was given a cream to apply to her face and a liquid medicine to drink. She saw another doctor a year later who recommended steam treatments at the hospital to clear her pores. Becky says that the process of using the steam machine was good because it felt like it was releasing some bad things from the skin but her face would be very red afterwards. About a year and a half ago, Becky had a treatment in a private skin clinic in her home country. A comedone, a tool which is used to squeeze blocked pores, was used on her face. This was very painful and made her skin swell. She has since been very worried that this treatment may have caused scars. She says that she regrets having the treatment done but also that she doesn’t know what other treatments she could have tried at the time. She hopes to see a GP in the UK soon for advice on how to manage her skin with the local climate and weather conditions. She also plans to continue eating healthily, get more sleep, exercise to flush out her skin and hopefully reduce stress levels.
The impact of acne on Becky’s confidence affects her life a lot. She finds it difficult to meet new people and says that acne has changed her personality by making her less out going. She dresses differently and avoids wearing bright colours so that she doesn’t stand out. Becky thinks that males have become less interested in her since she developed acne and that it may affect her chances of marriage in the future. She also worries that acne will affect employment. For example, she finds it difficult to have job interviews face-to-face or over Skype because she worries about employers getting a bad first impression of her. Becky’s parents and friends try to reassure her that her acne does not matter to other people. She thinks this an important message for other young people to hear but she is not sure if she believes it herself because she thinks that others do pass judgement on her for having acne. However, she says that there have been some positives from her experiences with acne. For example, Becky says that her skin condition has broadened her interests and she is considering future careers in designing products, such as make-up, for acne prone skin.