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.
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.
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.
Follow the hashtag #skinpositivity to see more acne and skin positive content on your Instagram feed.