You Want to Know How I Got These Acne Scars?

Hey there. You. Yeah, you, with the no-pores. What’s that you’re looking at? Well, you’re probably wondering where I got these tiny round scars on my face. Well lean in, soldier, and I’ll tell you.


Pitted scar from “chicken pox,” 1996

This one, here on my forehead, this is where the battles began. I asked my mom to take me to CVS for some Clearasil because I knew a zit was a comin’, but she just said, “Oh, I think you’re finally getting the chicken pox. I’ll call Dr. Stephens.” But then, there were no other dots to connect. Just me. And the zit. Alone. Together. I spent hours looking in my Polly Pocket hand mirror, staring at that zit…wondering if that was all there’d be – or if it was just the beginning. Unfortunately, that zit portended more than my young mind could imagine…


Pitted scar from nose blackhead, 2007

This one, the big one over here on my left nostril, takes me back. My college days. Damn, I was so young. So full of promise. And pimples. In hindsight, I thought that was real war, but I just didn’t know how good my skin had it at the time. Back then, my biggest problem was an insurgency of nose blackheads, but I was able to keep them pretty confined to that area. The trick was to go in hard and fast. Bioré strips, Clearasil pads, rubbing alcohol, everything in my oil-fighting toolbox. But there was one… one I just couldn’t get out. That blackhead was my white whale. One night after hours of fighting it, I turned to my roommate Charlene as she was heading out to a frat party and I cried, “Charlene! Charlene, you gotta get help me! Don’t leave! You gotta get this thing outta me!” And she ran to get the tweezers. Charlene was a real trooper—she was going at that thing for what felt like days…maybe weeks, even. And then finally, just when it seemed like there was no hope…she pulled it out of me. I wish she was still here to see how it healed.


Surface scarring from bacne, 2010

You ever try to storm the beaches of Spring Break with a shoulder blade dusted with whiteheads? It’s horrifying. If there’s one thing I am dead certain of in this world, it’s that I love my mother, I love my country, and oil production glands don’t give a shit about Senior Week. You know what, even after all these years, it’s still hard to talk about this one. I did some things that I’m…not proud of. I let the sun’s rays wreak havoc on my epidermis for the promise of a dryer, healthier skin. I made mistakes.



Raised scar from upper lip whitehead, 2011

It’s not herpes, goddammit! You don’t know what I’ve been through! You have no clue! Look, I’ve had some terrible choices I’ve had to make, and this was one of them! It was either pop it, and risk the scar, or go through that job interview with a whitehead on my lip so big I could’ve made out with it! Trying times will force us to do ugly, ugly things. It wasn’t the first time I’ve questioned my humanity in this brutal skincare war.


Surface scarring from hormonal breakouts, 2012-present

After college was when the shit really hit the fan, acne-wise. I thought I’d been through hell and back already, but no, the stress of entering the “real world” combined with a change to my birth control prescription meant I was only just beginning the greatest zit battle of my life. And it’s far from over. The pain is still there. Sure, there have been moments of triumph – a day or two here and there where I hardly see any action at all – but then that time of the month rolls around, and my chin and jawline flare up with those old aching old wounds. The last time I went to the dermatologist, all he could say was, “You just go back out there and you give ‘em hell. You just give ‘em hell.”


The war is life-long. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go see a man about a Clarisonic Mia II.