Lili Reinhart: ‘I’ve had cystic acne since 12, it has caused major self esteem issues’


Lili Reinhart plays Betty Cooper on the show Riverdale. She is also dating the Hot Jughead, a sentence I never believed I’d write but there you go. I don’t know much about Lili but from what I’ve seen and read of her, she seems quite relatable and I think she and Cole Sprouse (the Hot Jughead) are darling together. Lili recently posted an admission to her Instagram Stories that she suffers from adult cystic acne. Cystic acne occurs when bacteria gets trapped in a clogged pore and the infection goes deep inside the skin. It is more common in adolescents and males, but it can happen to anyone at almost any age. Lili told her fans that she has been suffering from it since she was 12 and that it has always eaten away at her self-esteem.

Lili Reinhart’s acne does not define her, and she wants you to know that yours shouldn’t, either.

On Monday night, the Riverdale star took to Instagram to share a personal — and powerful — message about her experience dealing with cystic acne.

“Adult acne story time,” she began the series of Instagram Stories. “I have a cystic breakout on my forehead currently. And I had to do a photoshoot all day long. I’ve had cystic acne since I was 12. And it has caused major self esteem issues ever since. I had to put my biggest insecurity on display. There was nowhere to hide. 20+ people were studying my face on the camera monitor at any given time during the 11 hour shoot. And all I could think about when I was in front of the camera were the pimples on my forehead.”

“I always text my mom when I have a bad breakout to tell her how ugly I feel, and these breakouts shatter my confidence every time they appear,” she continued. “I’m not sure if or when I’ll ever be able to accept my skin as it is. It’s problematic. It scars easily. It’s painful. But I’m hoping that someday I can feel beautiful even if I’m having a breakout. And that I won’t feel obsessive or paranoid.”

She goes on to explain why it’s so important to her to share her skin insecurities with her fans, because she knows that they likely are dealing with similar struggles. “I feel the need to talk about my struggle with acne. Because maybe if I normalize my skin, more people… including myself… will be able to feel okay about their skin.”

“My breakouts don’t define me,” she writes. “To anyone out there who feels embarrassed or ashamed by breakouts… I feel you. We have each other so let’s get through this acne experience together.”

She finishes her message by asking her followers to share their own experiences with acne with the hashtag #breakoutbuddy, and people have been nothing short of inspired by Lili’s message.

[From Teen Vogue]

Lili posted a pic of herself with what looks to be a topical medication covering her pimples. She’s still cute as a button but I don’t doubt for a minute that she is plagued with insecurity about this. You live by your face in Hollywood, imagine if all your flaws were displayed openly on your money-maker. And the mentality of Hollywood is unlike any other. I have a friend who used to be an actress and now writes for TV. We were getting together recently and she ‘warned’ me that she had gained a bunch of weight. The truth is, it was hardly noticeable but the fact that she felt she needed to prepare me to see her as a size eight made me feel really bad about what that industry does to women. I think it’s important that Lili brought up not only her feelings about this but that she goes to her mom for support every time and then encouraged fellow sufferers to reach out to her. And going by the #breakoutbuddy hashtag, Lili really touched a lot of grateful people – people who thought no one else knew the depths of their embarrassment about their breakouts.

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Photo credit: WENN Photo, Getty Images and Twitter

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18 Responses to “Lili Reinhart: ‘I’ve had cystic acne since 12, it has caused major self esteem issues’”

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  1. Livethelifeaquatic says:

    Where? I don’t see anything.

    • NotSoSocialButterfly says:

      NO. Just no, no, no.

      That is *not* cystic acne. I have 17 year old twin boys. *They* have cystic acne. Those are tiny, superficial zits, not 1/4-1/2″ wide deep, red, hard inflamed lesions. No, no, no.

      I, too, as an adult in my 30s and up had hormonal acne that became cystic along my jawline. The ONLY thing that worked for me (and I have said it here before, I will say it again) is SAW PALMETTO. Yes, the herbal supplement that men use for prostate issues. Read Acne dot org forums about it. It really, truly works.

      Saw palmetto blocks androgens in the skin *and* hair follicles. It has reduced my hair thinning and stopped the hormonal/adult acne. It’s a thing of beauty. I’m 52, and after a 7 month hiatus from my cycle, my ovaries threw caution to the wind, and gave me a cycle like a 30 year old. Not a single pimple.

      • Luna says:

        What dosage of saw palmetto? I seldom get the acne cysts anymore but my hair is thinning. (I assume her photos have been photoshopped.).

  2. Jag says:

    Cystic acne can be caused by one of the male hormones. I have PCOS, which wasn’t diagnosed until after I went through tons of treatments, including Accutane. Had they properly tested me instead and not put me on so many antibiotics, I wouldn’t be battling Candidas (yeast overgrowth) from the antibiotics, wouldn’t have had to get tear duct plugs for my dry eyes caused by Accutane (my eyes are still dry 30 years later), and I wouldn’t have developed pernicious anemia until my senior years – also caused by Accutane because it killed the intrinsic factor in my stomach.

    Everyone who has been on Accutane needs to keep watch on their vitamin B12 level at least once a year. So many people whom I’ve met who were on Accutane ended up with “low B12″ and had to receive monthly treatment for the rest of their lives. Too low B12 for too long can cause the brain to start dying, stroke, and heart attack – it’s eventually fatal.

    For me, limiting sugar and dairy clear up my skin since my acne is now caused by Candidas alone. If someone has cystic acne and they are getting sugar-filled Starbucks every day, eating a lot of sugar or sugar substitute, cheese, and other dairy, then changing those habits might help tremendously. Best wishes everyone.

    • Basi says:

      Bravo! Thanks for the tips!! You are spot on

    • WingKingdom says:

      Oh my goodness, thank you for this information. I did a year of Accutane as a teen over 25 years ago. I’m constantly going low on B12 and getting rounds of monthly shots. My eyes are horribly dry and my eye doctor is always trying to help me with that. It’s sort of an odd relief to know the source of these issues, even if there’s nothing I can do about it now. Wow.

    • sunnydaze says:

      I never went on Accutane, but lord knows I thought about it MANY times. You are absolutely right though, PCOS manifests so many different ways. I was very fortunate I found a birth control pill I did great on and took it continuously, breaking the cycle once a year to have a period and immediately I would get 2-3 cysts that took forever to heal, and I still bear the scars years later. I would LOVE to know what kind of makeup she uses to mask it so well!

      For me, I was so self-conscious I wouldn’t go out of the house without makeup, but the makeup often made it worse (and if one ruptures…..oh man….). The trial and error of finding the right makeup (and the cost!), the right skin cleaning routine, dealing with the pain (because holy crap are they painful!)…in and out of dermatologists…and it’s ACNE. I can’t believe with all the medical advancements we have cystic acne is still something that so many people suffer from.

    • Muprhy says:

      Thank you for the information, I was on Accutane in 2002 and the notion that it is responsible for my continued B-12 deficiency is very interesting.

    • cee says:

      I was on Accutane for 6 months in 2010 and my cystic acne has come back with a vengeance. I’m also battling candidas due to a UTI that was diagnosed incorrectly. Now I’m trying to battle the acne with skin care and not medication. Hopefully BHAs will do something about it.

      I often wonder if I have PCOS. It seems to hard to diagnose.

    • Avery says:

      OMG! I had cystic acne and did 2 rounds of accutane and just got blood work done recently and my B12 levels were almost non-existent! I am floored right now and had no idea! I got a B12 shot as well and said I feel normal. Is this how normal people feel? Wow. I often wondered if I had PCOS but couldn’t get the right diagnosis. I had all the symptoms.

  3. Caroline says:

    I am 50 and still get these! It’s awful. Good for her being honest, I’m sure she will help a lot of people of all ages.

  4. girl_ninja says:

    All I see is the Late Brittney Murphy when I see her lovely face.

  5. Léna says:

    My acne was caused because I had too much testosterone vs estrogen in my hormones (+ more hair and all of those amazing side effects for a teen in a judging society) and it sucked, even after I was put on medication to treat this problem and even after 1 year and half after Accutane I still have breakouts and how she feels, even if for some there is barely anything.

  6. Jenn says:

    I feel bad for any one who has this. Bad acne caused me to have debilitating insecurity and scarring throughout my teens and twenties. I finally was able to control it through diet in my later twenties. It sucks! I still struggle with it to this day. If I’m not extremely strict with my diet I get acne and sometimes more scarring.

  7. The Hench says:

    Yup – another one here with adult, cystic acne and have been on Accutane and antibiotics and tried loads of skin treatments. For me, cutting out sugar made a huge difference to both my skin and to my IBS. With the latter, my symptoms got so bad that the doctors were worried I had bowel cancer. I had a colonoscopy where the consultant told me afterwards that my bowel was badly inflamed and I needed to cut out all the usual suspects – dairy, wheat, yeast etc. I told him I had cut all those out 15 years ago and asked what I should do instead. He didn’t have an answer.

    Then I saw Sugar, The Bitter Truth about how the body processes sugar and I started to add up the sugar in my diet. Unwittingly, I had been consuming bloody loads of stuff. In just having blueberries and flavoured, sweet soya yoghurt for breakfast, I was loading up the sugar. Then I was eating chilled, ready made soups, a lot of which were tomato based – again, loads of sugar. I changed my diet and have been able to eat bread and dairy ever since, as long as I stay off the sugar. My skin has also cleared up and I don’t get massive energy crashes anymore.

  8. Sabina82 says:

    Up until about 5 years ago (I am 36) I had bad adult acne. BC (Diane not Accutane) controlled it some but then I developed REALLY painful cysts on my neck. It was so painful and so ugly. I was already self conscious and it made it even worse. I barely wanted to leave the house. I finally had enough and went to see my doctor. She prescribed Tactuo (Epiduo in the US). At first it slightly irritated my skin but it has been a miracle drug! It blasts the cysts. I also got a prescription for Aczone from my derm for daytime use (I use the Tactuo at night). I spot treat any zits and small pimples before they get big.

    The week before our wedding my husband developed a large cyst on his cheek. He was horrified and worried about the wedding day. He used the Tactuo on it for 5 nights and by the 6th day the cyst was totally gone. It was amazing.

    Now I am off BC because we are trying to get pregnant and also not using the acne meds because of that. My acne has flared up some but thankfully nothing like it was in the past. I was so scared my neck would become inflamed again. So far so good (knock on wood).