Work life and acne

Most people we spoke to had some experience of work. This includes as an intern, volunteer, part-time employee or working in the holidays, and a few had started full-time work. People had different views and experiences about the impact of having acne on working life. Some were able to give examples of times when having acne had made it difficult at work or they felt less confident about getting a job. However, most felt it was not something that affected their work or future prospects at all.
Acne affecting work

People talked about what it was like to have acne at work and how having acne affected their approach to working and looking for jobs. Some felt that having acne would make them seem less mature or professional to others. This included when they were interviewing for a job. Marga worried that when she was presenting her doctoral research at conferences her acne made her seem younger than she was and affected her credibility.

The symptoms and treatments of acne can have practical as well as emotional impacts. Deborah found that sore spots could be a problem at work. She would sometimes knock them which could be painful and cause them to bleed. Acne treatments and side effects could also affect performance at work. Abbie found taking isotretinoin (e.g. Roaccutane) made her muscles ache and she had to stop her part-time job as a gymnastics coach. Will did some gardening and found cold weather upset his skin.
Career choices 

Having acne could affect people’s career choices. Sarah said she felt if she wanted to go into certain competitive professions, like medicine and law, she would have to get her acne treated because it's “not really the best advertisement for a kind of a healthy medical professional in whom you can trust”. 

But having acne could also be an asset for those wanting to go into careers relating to skin care.
Working with adults and working with children

There seemed to be a difference in people’s experience of working with acne depending on whether they were working with other adults, or with teenagers and children. While adults tended to take less notice of acne, people seemed to feel more conscious of their acne when working with teenagers and children. Harriet says her acne “never really comes up” at work. She says skin isn’t so important in an “adult world” and she can “just sort of forget about it”. But those who were working with school children and teenagers could find their acne was a concern.
Image-focused work

Aside from working with children and adolescents, some people distinguished between different types of job where they thought having acne could be a problem. A few people mentioned types of work where they thought image was important, such as working in the service industry. But some were more self-conscious about their acne than others and opinions varied about when “image” was an issue. Becky says acne has impacted on her life and doesn’t feel confident about doing any face-to-face work, even as a volunteer. Will mentioned working for a tuition company and doing gardening, which he said were not “particularly social” jobs and his acne wasn’t an issue.


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