Many people deal with acne. Acne is a cruel beast. When you are a Christian struggling with ongoing acne can feel like God Himself has closed his eyes to your pain.
Dealing with acne as a Christian was not only emotionally crippling for me, but also spiritually confusing.confusing.
My Acne Story
I sailed through high school without nary a zit. My skin was flawless. People told me so.
For the most part, acne is considered something teens get. So, when I passed those years by without many problems I figured I was in the clear.
My acne set in at 19 years old…right after I became a Christian.
After miraculously being set from drugs, alcohol and bulimia, I began working out and eating right. Suddenly, I got few blemishes. At first, I thought maybe my body was detoxing and it would go away. I prayed the Lord would heal me like he had before.
When it didn’t disappear, I prayed harder. I fasted. That’s what any good new Christian does. I had faith to move mountains…just not zit mountains apparently. Those pesky mounds of yuck just didn’t respond to my calls to Jesus.
I don’t consider myself a vain person, but having giant cystic acne started to do something deep inside my soul. I felt gross inside and out.
Jesus not answering my calls for healing made me question His love for me. Being a young Christian with acne, I allowed my own faulty thinking to dominate my mind, confuse my faith and discourage my soul.
When People Say Stuff About Your Acne
One day, my grandma walked straight up to me, looking up and down my face, and said, “You know, they say that ProActiv stuff really works.”
Thanks, Grandma. Thanks.
My acne had gotten so bad that once mom was talking to someone while I slept nearby. When I woke up she said she could see my face erupting with new zits as I was sleeping.
Most of my friends just ignored it or empathized because they had their own acne to deal with. When I mentioned it they would say things like, “It’s not THAT bad.”, “At least you don’t have to deal with XYZ.” or “Have you tried…?”
I went up to prayer lines to pray for my acne. I didn’t go up for advice…but that’s usually what I got after lengthy prayers that seemed to assume I wasn’t washing correctly or eating right.
“Thank you, Lord, that you will help her know how to eat correctly. Show her the right face wash to use. Reveal any hidden areas that she needs to deal with…”
When they looked up after prayer, they could see my tears. And yes, they were tears from the pain of dealing with acne…but also tears because I felt like yet ANOTHER person assumed my acne was my fault.
Some people would add a random comment about skin care. It might be a sales associate or an aquaintance.
I know people were usually just trying to help with their advice, but their comments reinforced the fact that my face looked really bad.
Christians can be well-meaning, but also can lack wisdom when they say things like, “You just need more faith!” or “There’s a reason for everything.” or “Maybe the Lord is trying to teach you about vanity.”
These things aren’t necessarily untrue but aren’t really helpful.
What I Tried to Get Rid of My Acne
People recommended that I drink more water….ate this way…or that way.
I cut out different foods, tried different creams…etcertera…etcertera…etcertera…ad nauseam.
I took tons of vitamins and supplements.
But it didn’t make it all go away like I wanted.
The Lies I Believe as a Christian with Acne
I had horrible acne for 2 years. I’d wanted to get on Accutane after 6 months of dealing with it, but I felt somehow that would be usurping my faith.
I think the biggest lie I believed was that if God wanted to heal my acne, He’d do it miraculously without my having to resort to modern medicine.
I think this is a lie that many people believe…especially as we become more and more health conscious in our society. We are constantly bombarded with this idea that if we are gluten-free or cut out dairy or WHATEVER, that all our health issues will cease.
There is wisdom in eating healthy, taking natural steps to cure the body and using products without chemicals…but the truth is WE LIVE IN A FALLEN WORLD and WE HAVE BROKEN BODIES!
Even if you eat perfectly…it’s never perfect enough.
Even if you never use anything man-made…it’s never “organic” enough.
Going the non-natural route isn’t evil. It’s just one path to healing. Unlike Heaven and our solution to sin where there is ONLY ONE WAY…the rest of the life doesn’t have one-size fits all solution to our brokenness.
Other lies I believed as a Christian dealing with acne were:
- God gave me acne to teach me a lesson. (He used my acne to teach me many things, but I don’t believe that he administered my acne)
- God gave me acne to punish me. (Jesus is our example of God…and he NEVER gave anyone a sickness…only healed them).
- God didn’t care about my acne (God cares about the sparrow and the hairs on my head, of course, he cares about every single zit I had!)
- God didn’t want me to take Accutane.
- God wanted me to heal myself ONLY with diet/vitamins/topical creams
It took me two years to finally get the courage to do what I wanted the entire time…
What Eventually Worked to Get Rid of My Acne
Eventually, I went on Accutane (TM). There are some really harsh side effects and you definitely don’t want to be sexually active if you are taking it, so please please please read up on those side effects.
After 3 months of Accutane, my acne was gone. Because I hadn’t dealt with acne for years and years (only 2 years or so) I didn’t have significant scarring like a lot of young girls do. Praise the Lord.
My sister also got on Accutane, but her results weren’t as positive. When we got on it, the max time they would prescribe it was 3 months (at least that’s what I was told), but now I think they have some people on it up to 8 months. Maybe if she’d been on it longer the results would have been better, I dunno.
Accutane is NOT the go-to for moderate or short-term acne. It’s a serious drug. It’s NOT AT ALL for those who want to be holistic in their approach to health. It’s really a last-ditch effort to rescue yourself from acne.
I had many people tell me that Accutane was just a “cover-up” for some deeper issue with my body…but I haven’t had ANY acne since then. Like almost zilch. Of course, a pimple here and there…maybe a cluster during my monthly cycle (or during my first month of pregnancy when my hormones are adjusting), but NOTHING close to what it was.
You Aren’t Alone in Your Struggle with Acne as a Christian
Whatever you decide to do when it comes to acne, I just want people to know that you aren’t alone.
And that God DOES hear your prayers.
He DOES care about your tears and he DOES know the pain it causes you.
I can’t pretend to know why God allows us to suffer sometimes while other times he answers our prayers right away.
God isn’t cruel, don’t believe the lies that God caused your acne or rejoices in it…acne is the result of the fall.
God, your doctor and you can find a solution for your acne. It doesn’t have to be the same solution as anyone else.
Continue to press on and don’t give up finding a solution.
And most of all, allow your acne to cause you to seek God MORE and trust God MORE…not less. He’s the Creator…even of your skin.
Head covering Christian woman who loves good wine, coffee, stinky cheese and missionary books. My favorite dessert is Peanut Butter Chocolate Cheesecake. I am a Christian author, blogger, and speaker. I fell in love with my husband because he had rain drops on his glasses (true story). In my spare time I homeschool my six children (5 girls, 2 boys).