Acne Might Be Good for Our Skin



If you have acne (I have acne), then I have the coolest science news since that one report told us our laziness is a sign of intelligence. Acne could prevent wrinkles.

Kind of. Leave your pimples alone and pay attention: According to a study out this week by King’s College London, “[Scientists] have found that people who have previously suffered from acne are likely to have longer telomeres…in their white blood cells.” Which sounds really boring until I tell you what the hell telomeres are: nucleotide sequences found on chromosomes that basically protect your cells from breaking down and deteriorating. Never mind about nucleotide sequences because what happens in 10th grade stays in 10th grade, what they’re saying is acne-prone skin is likely to age at a glacial pace.

“For many years dermatologists have identified that the skin of acne sufferers appears to age more slowly than in those who have not experienced any acne in their lifetime,” reports Dr. Simone Ribero, whom I just decided I genuinely love. “Whilst this has been observed in clinical settings, the cause of this was previously unclear.”

The term “consolation prize” has never rang so true. My chin is going to age so slowly. Now I’m mad that I don’t have acne under my eyes and all over my entire body. Not that there’s anything wrong with aging skin, but let me have this for, like, 24 hours. Ideas on how we can all celebrate this weekend:

1. Rub pizza all over our faces and then eat it.*

2. ‘Gram our acne and be like “#4EverYoung.”

3. Congratulate friends on newly acquired breakouts.

4. See older women with great skin and be like, “Omg you must have been a long-term sufferer of acne, your skin is amazing.”

5. Wildcard idea which you will supply in the comments. Love you.

*even typing that made me anxious

p.s. In the crawling meantime, a guide to adult acne.

Photographed by Krista Anna Lewis.


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  • Hurray for all us acne sufferers out there, but now the real question is, to pop or not to pop?

    • Greer Clarke

      (But I mean who actually obeys that)

  • Aydan

    this makes me feel better!! Especially since my mom told me when I saw her last weekend that my skin was glowing! (Who me?! With acne scars?! Why thank you!!!)

  • Taste of France

    I’m with Young Jung: what to do with those bumps? Get them out? If you don’t where do they go?

  • As someone who often suffers from hormonal acne – highlight your post acne hyper pigmentation with a red lip or a red shirt cause why the hell naat! #4EverYoung #hoppingonthisbandwagonforsure

  • Isabel

    You have no idea how much of a pick-me-up this article is to me at 4:27 on a Friday afternoon at work. Me and my 5 hormonal zits thank thee, Manrepeller.

    But can I just say EVERY acne-sufferer deserves this pat on the back!

  • It’s the truth that gets me through those bad breakout days! My mom had bad acne like me in high school and now she has really great, not very wrinkled skin, and she like doesn’t even wash her face all the time or do any of the stuff you’re supposed to do skincare-wise (lol)

    The Fashion Barbie

  • MY SUFFERING IS FOR SOMETHING! This just brought me back to life!

  • Rachel Neilson

    Thank you science and thank you (skin) karma! My teens and twenties suffering has long term benefits!

  • snakehissken

    Your telomeres should be the same length in all your cells, haha. When cells divide, a little bit of the telomere gets chopped off every time until eventually there isn’t enough left to keep going. So longer telomeres = longer time until the cells give up on life. 😀

    Fun fact: turtles don’t experience the telomeres-getting-shorter thing and they never die of old age.

  • Ömer Erencan DURAL

    I don’t know whether it was intentional or not but loved the Devil Wears Prada reference

  • Xaraday

    Just want to say that I had horrible, horrible acne through my teens into my late 30s. I’m in my 50s now, and have very, very few winkles (and no more acne, finally!). My sister, who is 10 years younger than me, got about one pimple a month and had dry skin from the start. She is the one with the crows-feet around her eyes and wrinkles starting around her mouth. People routinely think she is the older sister. So there is hope!

    • amelia

      how did you finally get rid of it??

  • This is music to my ears. I can’t wait to have the skin of a beautiful angel in my 70s.

  • amelia

    omg<3 feeling the warmth of solidarity rn

  • Mariana

    This makes me feel better, since I turn 30 this year and acne and only skin is my middle name. I really hope that at age 50 I will be known for being the envy of my friends because of my wonderful skin and not because I am that lady full of breakouts :p

  • midol

    I can confirm! Hurray! I just turned 40, and very fair skin is holding steady (I still get spots but, ye know, fewer). I routinely hear how surprised people are by my age. And it ain’t just skin care and bone structure 😉

    Honestly – if this is the upside, after all those years of self-consciousness – ok with me!

  • Mallory Harmon

    We are going to look so great in our 40s! Hallelujah!!!!!

  • Amanda

    as i type this at the age of 21 i have both the wrinkles of a 35 year old and the acne of a 15 year old so someone clarify plz

  • DerekPearce

    Well both my parents had acne well into their 30s, as did I. But this cheers me up– because both my Mom and Dad, now in their 60s, look amazing and you’d think they were at least 10 years younger than their ages if not more. So I guess the zits were worth suffering through after all.

  • QuiinHome

    I’ve suffered with acne since 10th grade…and I’ve used so so many things. Not to say any cliches …but dermalmd blemish serum really works!! It’s not going to work over night or a week or even a month. But in a couple of months you will def notice a big difference ! Acne and scars are fading away! Must try!