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10 ways to make a bad skin day better (or, acne psychology 101)


acne tipsBy Siobhan O’Connor for No More Dirty Looks

Breakouts suck.

There’s no two ways about it. If you get pimples, you’ve probably at some point felt ugly, shy, embarrassed, dirty, or like you want to put a paper bag over your head and cry.

So you read acne advice from “experts” and it makes you want to scream because it’s always the same, none of it works, the products are expensive, and they’re loaded with toxic chemicals.

But this list isn’t about how to banish breakouts. (You can read that one here.) Instead, it’s about acne psychology, which is way, way worse than pimples—trust.

Here are my 10 tips for getting over a bad skin day. I can’t wait to read yours, in the comments.

1. Know that the good ones don’t notice. And if they notice, they don’t care. If you’ve ever had a very nice boyfriend or girlfriend, you know this one is true: Literally no one cares about your pimples except you…and really mean people. One time, I was writing a profile of a famous musician who looks in person, and without makeup, like an airbrushed photograph. We were driving around in her car and she saw a friend of hers on the street so she pulled over and rolled down the window. Her friend, smiling, said, “Hi! Welcome back. It’s so nice to see you!” or something to that effect. So what did the famous lady say? Did she say “Thanks, hon, it’s great to see you too! Wanna get a slice of pizza and catch up?”? No. The famous person said “Your face is a mess! What have you been doing?!” Her friend’s face fell. And so did mine. You maybe think I’m making this up because no one would ever speak to another person like that, right? Especially not a rich and famous and genetically blessed person, right? Right! Except I didn’t make it up. Moral of the story: That person is really  mean and the reason you think I’m making up the story is that most people are not like this! Most people, and you’ll just have to take my word for it, do not notice your pimples, and if they do notice them, they don’t care.

2. Wear red lipstick. You know when someone says “Look over there!” and then steals one of your fries? This is like that, but on your face. By drawing attention to your mouth with a bright color, you are drawing attention away from whatever it is you wish wasn’t there. Also, red lipstick is a mood booster and it makes you feel bold—which is a great way to counter the “I want to cancel my dinner plans and hide” feeling.

3. Do your hair. This morning I woke up with an unfortunately placed spot and even though it’s raining—I usually skip doing my ‘do on rainy days—I made sure to get my hair extra smooth. The logic? When you’re broken out, it’s hard to feel pulled together even though, remember: you still probably LOOK pulled together because no one can tell by looking at you that inside you feel like a teenager. But when your hair is done nicely, you all of a sudden don’t care about the constellation on your chin. This is a time-tested coping strategy. Work it. Read on for more tips…