Remember waking up on prom morning, horrified to see an angry red bump on your forehead? That singular zit hellbent on ruining your night? Oh wait, that wasn’t you. It was every TV teen storyline about acne ever. In real life, you woke up with twenty zits. The same twenty zits you had every day of your adolescence. What adults never tell you is, those zits never really go away. They just relocate to different zip codes on your body.
THAT’S RIGHT, YOUTH OF THE INTERNET. I bet you thought you were gonna age into clear skin. Sorry to pop that ideological pimple, but it’s truth-bomb time. Life is a steady stream of embarrassing blemishes until the day you die.
The zits of your youth are actually gateway zits. As you age, you’re gonna get unseemly spots in the most random places. Your shoulders, your chest, your ear canal. It’s all fair game. Then there’s the Notorious Z.I.T. that’s gonna have a habit of showing up on your inner thigh right before you hook up with Chad from Human Resources. Every. Time.
Eventually your acne will move from one set of cheeks to another. But thankfully you can cover up your assne with a pair of Levi’s. If only they had made skinny jeans for my teenaged forehead!
But that’s the thing. As teens, when our faces looked like a Domino’s pizza that’d been left upside-down in the delivery box, we had to suck it up and still go to Algebra II. When I looked in the mirror every morning, I looked like a long-forgotten sandwich covered in spotty, hairy mold. And I say this as someone who had good self-esteem as a teenager!
But what we didn’t realize as teens was: our zits made us stronger. If we could go to prom looking like our faces were cosplaying as Swamp Thing’s ass, we could do anything.
Adult acne affects 55 percent of men and women in their 20s-40s. Recent studies have shown that less than half of 40-somethings are married. Which means you’re more likely to settle on a new face cream regimen than settle for some rando from temple your mom tried to hook you up with during the High Holidays. Some might call that depressing, but I call it progress.
So let’s Gleek our zits, young and old. Friends come and go, but zits are forever. Which is why I’ve learned to embrace adult acne. It reminds us we don’t always have all the answers and that’s okay. God grant me the serenity to accept the zits I cannot change, the courage to change the ones I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.