Writer Una Lamarche figured out how to accept her skin for what it is. It only took her about 20 years.
As it does with most of its victims, acne descended on me in my teens. I’ve repressed the exact year (most photos have been ritually burned), but it was the mid ’90s, when every morning I would apply this ghostly paint to my pimples, only to find that by the end of the day it had melted off – leaving me with a two-tone look.
When I got to university and fell in love with someone, I let him see everything but my actual face; I went to great lengths to wake up first, run to the bathroom and fill in my spots. Once, on a group camping trip, I feigned exhaustion, burrowed into my sleeping bag and missed out on hours of fun with my friends because I didn’t have enough light to put on my complexion-perfecting makeup.
It took me a long time to stop that nonsense. My skin eventually calmed down, which helped. But at 36, I still stash benzoyl peroxide in what should be my ‘sexy’ drawer. And yes, of course, I lament the adolescent oil sheen that spreads across my very grown-up T-zone. What I don’t do anymore is wake up first, run to the bathroom and try to conceal my pimples. I will always long for a perfect complexion, but I’m not willing to battle my own reflection forever in pursuit of perfect skin.
Maybe I’m just lazy. Or maybe I’m flaunting my whiteheads in defiance of the patriarchy like the combination-skinned feminist I am! Mainly, though, I’m tired of hiding. I want to greet the day with my shiny forehead and my blemished chin and say, proudly, “You know what? I woke up like this.”