Teenage spots can ravage not just skin but mental health, too. Martin Love considers the lasting issues that can still be triggered years later
Pimples, spots, plooks, pustules, boils, eruptions, carbuncles, zits… If there are dozens of different words for snow, there must be at least as many in the school bully’s armoury for spots, or to give the condition its mercilessly judgmental medical name, acne vulgaris.
I was a gloriously acnified teenager – we aren’t talking about the odd sprinkling of spots here and there, more a deeply crusted carapace. I can still feel the heat rising under my throbbing adolescent skin as I traced the ugly bulge of each new ravagement, moving my fingers from one drying scab to the next like a never-ending game of join-the-dots. At times it felt as if I was wearing some grim Halloween mask, and how I wished I could just take it off and reveal my perfect, wholesome skin beneath.
Young, clear eyes stare out over the battlefield of their cheeks
It felt like the rage of my teenage skin finally burned itself out