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Acne is enough to ruin anyone's confidence and take a toll on your self-esteem, but for one sufferer, it has even ruined her dating life.
Abigail Collins, 19, from Glasgow, has told how she refuses to date because of her cystic acne as she doesn't want men to feel 'catfished' when they meet her due to the amount of makeup she wears.
The criminology student and sales adviser says she spends up to two hours every morning painstakingly applying concealer and foundation to cover her skin, since she began suffering from acne at the age of 10.
"I've struggled to get into relationships as I was so self-conscious about my skin and how it looked, especially to someone romantically, so I tried, and still do, to avoid this," she explained.
"I don't date purely because I don't want anyone to think I'm a catfish or that I'm not being honest about the way I look. It's so difficult to understand and see how another person interprets you."
Abigail explained that her acne got really bad when she turned 14, explaining: "About five years ago it really peaked, and my skin was the worst it's ever been.
"I had constant breakouts and a new spot every day, leaving me with bad scarring now."
Due to her acne, Abigail says she struggled to make friends in school and found herself at the brunt-end of bullying.
"In school I felt as if nobody wanted to associate themselves with me because of the way I looked, which meant I had very few friends and a poor social life at this point in my life.
"I tried to avoid school sometimes as I felt ugly and like the elephant in the room, which took its toll on me socially as I struggled to make friends since I wasn't always there. Even now I struggle to make friends as I'm self-conscious over the way they see me.
"I was bullied for years about my skin and the way I looked,' she said.
"My friends sometimes had negative things to say and would use my skin against me, which has left me with major trust issues when it comes to meeting new people.
"I have a few close friends from school who support me unconditionally and help me in any way they can, but I still often feel alone as I don't know anybody first hand who has similar experiences to me or who looks like me. This made my self-acceptance difficult."
Now, at 19, Abigail is a student at the University of West of Scotland, and explains that it's only now that she has found the confidence to not plaster her face with makeup, and even go bare-faced.
"I realised that none of the people around me noticed my skin to a great extent. Also, being a student doesn't leave you with a huge amount of time to get ready in the mornings either, so I made myself skip make-up some mornings and then it became more frequent," she said.
"Now, it's rare I wear any to university. If I'm going out somewhere nice with friends or family, then I will wear make-up, but if it's just to do something casual like going to the supermarket, then I will skip it."
Speaking about her goal, Abigail says: "I hope to show others that acne doesn't define you and that you're never as alone as you feel.
"There are always people out there who can relate and understand what you are going through and can support you."
Good for you, Abigail!
Featured Image Credit: Media Drum World/ Abigail Collins
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