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A Dermatologist Opens Up About Having Cystic Acne

Dermatologist Dr. Anjali Mahto knows what it’s like to have bad skin. The London-based dermatologist has grappled with cystic acne for most of her life, and fully understands the frustrations and emotional repercussions that come with troubleshooting medication after medication.

The 39-year-old dermatologist has been trying to figure out ways to tame her acne since she was 11 years old. In a vulnerable and compassionate Instagram post, she discussed how cystic acne has impacted her personal and professional life:

“The hardest thing about having adult cystic acne has been coming to terms with the realization that I am never going to be ‘cured’ but the best I can ever hope for is ‘control’ of my skin… Psychologically accepting that I am never going to ‘grow out of it’ has been a battle through most of my 20s and 30s. Now, closer to 40, I am learning to accept that my skin will be up and down – but when it is down, I need to treat it properly and revert to medication if I need to minimize the risk of further scarring. I am not a perfect dermatologist with perfect skin – and nor do I aspire to be. Acne gets me down in the same way it affects any adult sufferer, but learning to accept treatment when I need it and enjoying the periods my skin is good has become key for good mental health. Acne can be treated and scarring can be prevented but I think we are recognizing more and more it can be a chronic problem for some that may always come and go… It is just the luck of the DNA draw in terms of our unique combination of hormones and genetics. They do not come with the guarantee that after a round of treatment your acne will not return, but there is always something that can be done and no one needs to suffer or just put up with it.”

Ultimately, Mahto believes that skin health shouldn’t determine someone’s self-esteem or personal happiness. “It is important for people to realize that no one is immune to skin disease — not even a dermatologist that is meant to be treating you,” she told Allure.

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