Between the ages of 12 and 24, about 85% of people suffer from at least minor acne.
Acne, pimples, blackheads, acne scars, etc., are apparently so widespread and harmful that there are about a billion products and routines purporting to get rid of them. Accutane, serums, creams, masks (homemade or store bought) and many other step-by-step routines are said to help fight acne. Not to mention the hundreds of YouTubers, Instagrammers, and Tik-Tokers giving advice on skincare.
A little over two years ago, I religiously used various products. I have tried CeraVe, The Ordinary, Cetaphil and many more. I’ve followed skincare gurus, visited dermatologists, and watched Hyram videos. To give you some insight into the reason for this skincare obsession, here are some photos of me taken in June 2021.
If it wasn’t obvious, I was severely battling acne and acne scarring, and nothing I did seemed to help. My skin was a serious source of insecurity. I wouldn’t be killed without tons of concealer, I hated close-up photos of myself and every time I sent Snapchats I always had a filter on.
Something had to change, so I signed up for Curology in a slightly more expensive effort to get rid of my skin issues. Luckily for me, the curology was worth my money and my skin started to improve, slowly but surely, until my scars faded much more. This helped my confidence to improve; after all, who has ever seen a model or actor with just one flaw?
Now my progress has not been linear and my skin is currently not as clear as in the photos above (taken in May 2022). But this is not an advertisement for curology or even a recommendation. Skincare is something I always partake in. After all, I love a good face mask, but when my skin started clearing up, I realized something. If acne is something that so many people have, so many people are so focused on themselves, then why would anyone bother to care about how my skin looks? And besides, if no one cares how many redheads I have or the texture of my skin, why should I care?
Now, I’m not saying you shouldn’t take care of your skin. Stay hydrated, wear sunscreen, and do whatever else you need to do. But for me, I don’t care anymore if my skin doesn’t match what society considers ‘perfect’. I still have lots of red spots and scars, but to be honest, I can’t remember the last time I even bothered to use concealer. I threw away my old one a while ago and haven’t bothered to buy a new one.
Looking at some of my older photos, my skin has a noticeable difference, but I don’t feel like I look bad. I looked like myself. Me with a different skin texture, but still me. I don’t think I always look good “despite my acne”, I think I look good with my acne. It is there, and that is what it is. I will continue to use my skincare products, but more for my own skin health than for some societal expectations created by unrealistic media standards that are used as a way for companies to prey on the insecurities of impressionable young girls. .
In our everyday life, the skin is described as “good” or “bad”. This is a binary method of sorting people’s skin based on what exactly? Texture? Your? If my skin is healthy and protects my facial muscles, why should it be considered “good” or “bad”? Most people with “good” skin use a lot of makeup or special lighting for their Instagram photos. There is nothing wrong with using specific makeup or lighting to take a picture, but putting these people on a pedestal and treating them as the end of beauty and self-esteem is not good for anyone. .
In the end, the most important thing is that you feel good. Your feelings about yourself shouldn’t be tied to how you look, especially when it comes to skin. My previous tendency to constantly compare aspects of myself to others is not healthy for anyone involved. Instead, I’ll move forward, happily holding my head high (with makeup on or off) and feeling beautiful in any photo, whether I’m in makeup and posing or completely naked and lying on the couch. Because I know I look gorgeous in both photos, and I will continue to think that no matter what my acne ups and downs.