The idea of "loving the skin you're in" has taken on a whole new definition recently, with the skin positivity movement growing in popularity across social media, particularly on Instagram.
In today's world, we are surrounded by advertisements and marketing that tells us that we need to spend our money on acquiring flawless skin. Marketing that tells us we need to tighten, brighten, clear and smear our skin with the array of products available to us at the simple click of a button.
Now, don't get me wrong. I love skincare - it's a hugely important part of my daily self-care routine that helps me to wind down and mind myself at the beginning and end of each day.
But when we take a moment to step back and consider what this messaging tells us - it's pretty clear that acne, scarring, stretch marks, wrinkles and rosacea are all things that must be erased and eradicated in order for us to be seen as beautiful by... well, just about everyone.
Now the skin positivity movement is fighting back - encouraging us all to appreciate our skin for exactly what it is and not strive for the completely airbrushed, flawless images of skin that we see in the media.
According to bloodandmilk.com, consultant dermatologist Dr. Anjali Mahto told The Independent, “Skin positivity is about confidence, self-love, and reducing the stigma and shame that can be associated with visible skin conditions such as acne, scarring, or birthmarks to name a few.”
As a person who struggled with pretty intense hormonal acne as a teenager, I could never reach a place where I accepted myself. Every day, a quick layer of foundation was applied before doing anything from going to school to walking to the shop, such was the extent of my insecurity.
Truthfully, I think a large part of my insecurity stemmed from seeing perfect flawless faces everywhere. I was the only one in my family with acne and when it came to the outside world, did any of the tv shows or movies 15-year-old-me watched contain a leading lady with anything but perfect skin? Absolutely not.
Had I been around more positive messaging about acne, pimples and you know, real skin, maybe I wouldn't have felt like I had to change myself.
Instagram accounts such as @brielamour89 are doing exactly that as part of the skin positivity movement. They're putting faces with skin conditions front and centre, showing they have nothing to hide.
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Hello my beautiful friends ☀️. I got a chance to sit and draw today 🎉 (yay!). . I am so thankful for the #acnecommunity ,because of you, I have fallen in love with my art, once more ✨. I am so passionate about skin positivity & embracing our skin, no matter what it’s doing. Making these #skinpositivity portraits ✨ brings me so much joy, I just want to share them with you all 🌎 💕. . Story time 📚 ✨. . Back in 2018, my family was struggling financially.. I felt incredibly blessed to have been able to exchange my little doodles for money. (Soo grateful for those who supported my art 💕) . I pride myself in being honest, so I’ll admit I took on way more than I could handle. I wanted to make enough to pay for bills and gas.. so I burnt myself out and actually refunded a few People towards the end (you know who you are and I love you so much for being kind and understanding with me! ❤️) because I really needed to lessen my stress load and responsibilities. . My health was starting to decline. I mysteriously lost weight, I kept breaking out in hives, and I also experienced the biggest acne flare towards the end of the year.. I took a year off of drawing completely. Not even for myself. At some point it felt like it was something I’d never pick back up again 💔 ... so I am so happy to have fallen in love with my little doodles again ☀️. . I felt like it was necessary to share that part of my story because I am ready to open commissions back up! This time around I will be taking it wayyyyy slow in the name of #selflove 🥰. . If you’ve purchased art from me before, liked, shared, or simply enjoyed my art in the past... . THANK YOU SO MUCH, FROM THE BOTTOM OF MY HEART ❤️. . And before I make this any longer (🙈) .... . ✨ ✨ 2020 COMMISSIONS ARE OPEN ✨✨. . I am going to work on 2 commissions at a time. I will post on my story when there’s an opening... (I’m shaking nervously in my boots 😬.) . I hope you like this portrait of @acnewithmegha ✨. Super kind and understanding. I’m so glad our paths crossed through this little app on our phones. . I hope you’re all having an amazing day, I love youuuuuuu. . -Briela ☀️
According to her Instagram bio, Briela is a 'skin positivity artist' and currently has 15.7k followers. She illustrates herself and others with acne, portraying the acne not as angry, ugly cysts, but instead uses soft pink hues and heart shapes to show that acne is not something to be hated and fought against - it's just as much a part of us as freckles or beauty marks are. And most importantly, she shows that the appearance of our skin does not define us as people, anyway.
Sofia Grahn, runs her Instagram account to try and "normalize acne one selfie at a time". She uses pictures of herself to show her 58.6k followers that acne is nothing to be ashamed of, and highlights the pitfalls of giving unsolicited "advice" to those with acne - forcing us to question how we speak about skin conditions to those who have them. Spoiler: quick fixes and product lists are not helpful here.
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Oh my oh my, poor girl. Share your best tips to help us fix her. She must want our help, how could she not. . Oh my oh my, what happened to her sweet face? She must be discontent, how could she not. . Oh my oh my, submit your best advice to not end up like her. Could you imagine? Beware and behold a stellar example of undeniable undesirability . Oh my oh my, spoiled, ruined, flawed, surely there’s something wrong with that girl. How should we go about to fix her? Could it be her gut? Could it be her diet? Discuss down below in the comments . Oh my oh my, she must want our help, how could she not. Have you seen her face? How could she ever be content with what she’s got? . #skinpositivity #acneawareness #unsolicitedadvice #acnepositivity #acne #acnescars #skinneutrality #acnepositive #skinpositive #effyourbeautystandards
Seeing as social media can be blamed for a lot of unrealistic expectations for young people growing up in this digital age, it is wonderful to see real, empowering content that inspires self-love and acceptance of where you're at rather than just another standard to reach.
When we see something enough times it becomes accepted and this is where the true power of social media lies - challenging beauty standards on the screens in front of us, one beautiful, imperfect selfie at a time.
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This beauty is an absolute inspiration not only to me, but to thousands of women. She stands fully in her power, radiates love, and calls attention to things that need to be talked about! Please see her post below and spread the word! We need more people like @nazhayabarcelona in this world. . . Repost from @nazhayabarcelona & @theacneaesthetic • AHHH WHAT IS HAPPENING TO MY SKIN?!? Struggling with an outbreak of acne had me searching high and low for answers, medication, treatments and remedies to clear my skin. All the harsh chemicals they prescribe can be very taxing on your skin, and if not advised properly can revert and be further damaged by exposure to the sun. Unfortunately for the black girl, we don’t have many women that look like us in the field of dermatology which leaves us at a disadvantage for medical relatability with our health care providers. Black skin as we know has a long history behind it. It is strong as steel but still must be handled gently. If this is something that concerns or interests you, head over to the link in my bio for the full article on why there is such a scarcity of black dermatologists. @refinery29 Photographed By: Rochelle Brock @rochellefatleopard Makeup by: Natalie Cardona @nataliecardonamakeup Hair By: Shayla Carley @teezed.co Styling by: Tyler Okuns @tyleeresosa Produced by: Megan Madden @meganmadden #skinpositivity #acne #acnestruggles #blackdermatologist #acnecommunity
Follow the hashtag #skinpositivity to see more acne and skin positive content on your Instagram feed.