Last year, a friend confided that his severe adult acne caused depression and anxiety in his 20s and early 30s. He withdrew from social situations, struggled to date, and was never quite sure if his looks were a negative factor while looking for a job.

“Interviewing caused me a ton of anxiety,” he confided in me. “I never knew if they were looking at me or my bad skin.”


People with “good skin” often take their excellent fortune for granted. I never had horrible skin, but I get my own version of redness and acne. My skin improved when I stopped eating fast food and meat. I’m lucky enough to afford spa appointments and laser skin treatments as needed.

Being 40 doesn’t hurt, either.

But “good skin” is a luxury that many can’t afford, and honestly, there’s no such thing as good skin. There is skin. It’s yours. Screw anyone who makes you think you’re not good enough for a job because of the way you look.

If you have acne — severe or not — and want some tips to ace the interview, here are a few simple things gleaned from my experience in HR that will help you to alleviate anxiety.

1. Stop picking. You’re risking an infection. Also, give your face the chance to heal before the big day.

2. Prep like hell. Get yourself primed for an interview by immersing yourself in pre-work. Your awesome answers should be the only thing anyone thinks about after the meeting.

3. Be relentlessly positive. Spend time with people who make you feel good about yourself before the interview. Make a mental list of all of the successful moments in your career. Focus on the love and goodness in your life.

4. Look sharp in other ways. Choose an outfit that makes you feel good about yourself. Wear your favorite suit, dress or shoes.

5. Don’t obsess. Other than a quick glance in the mirror, don’t look at yourself on the day of the interview. If you stop staring in the mirror, you’ll remove a source of torment and pain.

Emotions run high when you’re interviewing for a job. Consider confiding in a counselor, a therapist, a primary care physician, or a friend about your skin if it’s causing you so much stress. You might be shifting your anxieties about your career to your skin. It’s good to understand what’s bothering you, and it’s helpful to talk about the things you can and can’t control.

And it’s also helpful to hear from friends that — just like pooping — adult acne is a fairly universal experience! Everybody poops, and everybody breaks out.

That’s just life!