Growing up, I suffered from acne. Of course, I’ve seen worse cases throughout my career, but I have to say that I allowed mine to be pretty debilitating. I would avoid social interactions, making friends, even going to the mall to pick up something I needed. What I’ve realized over the years is that our faces are our window to the world; we not only see out of them, but people see us through them. There is something to be said for inner strength, but that strength may not be accessible to the young adolescent being made fun of in class for the pimple on his nose, and may even cause further retreat.
Even in our adult years, we can sense when someone perceives us differently because of a facial feature or “imperfection.” (I put quotes around ‘imperfection’ because that is a societal determination; in existential truth, in this moment, we are absolutely perfect the way we are, and could not be any other way.) We can choose to ignore this or we can seek correction. There is no right answer or absolute path that is correct for every person.
I try to determine what is right for each patient I see in consultation, on an individual basis, because not everyone is a candidate for surgery. Regardless, I am most interested in my patient achieving and maintaining a positive self-image.