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One year on: my skin and i

It’s been over a year since i opened up on my blog fully about my skin struggles and my battle with acne – i think it’s time for an update, don’t you?

Before that post, i hadn’t really shown myself without makeup or spoken about acne beyond the effect it has on my appearance. I decided it was time to talk about the damaging effect acne has on teenagers; it creates a sense of shame that sticks with them into adulthood.

I think everything in terms of the societal perception of acne and how detrimental it is has already been covered in my previous post, so i want this to be a much more personal update with a few things i’ve noticed floating around social media in regards to acne.

Although there is a difference in my skin, the biggest change for me has been my mindset. The thing i notice most when comparing the photos from back then and now, is how scared i looked. I look shy, ashamed and lacking any sort of confidence.

I honestly feel so much better when i look at myself now. I think it’s partly to do with the fact that the skincare i’m using is totally amazing and clearing my skin right up (i’ll chat more about that in another post), but more so due to the amount of support i’ve had from other people telling me i inspire them to go bare faced and stop FaceTuning their photos.

I still have bad days, i think we all do. There are days when i can’t even look at myself in the mirror with makeup on, because i know it’s not covering everything as much as i want it to. I’m also having a really hard time right now with the acne on my chest, back and arms – it’s the worst it’s ever been and i frequently get upset about it.

It does make me really self conscious, and i pick my clothes based on how bad the acne on my chest is. It definitely seems like body acne is a whole other conversation which needs to happen; it’s spoken about even less than face acne. Why do we find it so gross?

I think for me, it seems unnatural even though i’ve had it for as long as i’ve had acne on my face. It seems a lot more embarrassing to talk about, i think because it’s so easy to hide. From looking at my blog and instagram, i don’t think anyone could tell i have acne on my back, shoulders and chest. Which is exactly what i want.

I find it a lot harder to open up about that acne. I don’t think i’m quite there yet, especially since having the worst flare up i’ve ever had. It’s still raw, and i’m still upset about it. I know, i know, i need to book a doctors appointment and get it seen to, but it’s a lot of hassle right now. It’s probably more hassle to hate my body, admittedly, but i’m working on it.

I look at these photos and i don’t feel disgusted. I think i look quite pretty, and i couldn’t wait to post them to my instagram when i first took them. I look confident, happy and the little sparkle in my eye is back. Call it experience being in front of the camera or whatever you want, but i see progress.

There’s still a lot i need to focus on though. I was never able to master the art of a bare face at my old job, so that’s one of my goals for my new workplace – go makeup free. It’ll save me time in the morning and add to my skin confidence, both of which are always needed.

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I definitely do still fear the judgement. It can feel like people stare at your face for a fraction of a second too long when you’re not wearing any makeup, and you’re sent spiralling into a pit of “they think i look disgusting” when, actually, they’re probably just trying to work out why you look different. Other people don’t notice these things as much as we think they do.

I also think that the media is getting better at portraying acne. Not traditional media, i don’t think we can ever count on Vogue doing an issue featuring a model with acne, but social media is thriving.

Em Ford continues to be an advocate for all things acne, with her latest project, Redefine Pretty, sitting at over 1M views in just a few months. She is exactly the champion we need to provide representation – a name as big as hers working with beauty brands, showing them acne is no big deal and not something to shy away from in terms of beauty campaigns, will help with the stigma and judgement faced when you’re struggling with it as a teen.

Fashion brand In The Style also just launched their new #ITSjustgotreal campaign, where they have vowed to end all airbrushing. Their campaign champions are real women/models with cellulite, stretch marks and acne, and it’s all staying. It excites me to think that one day, we’ll see untouched models on ASOS and other mainstream fashion websites.

It’s ultimately up to us to promote this change. Bloggers and instagram influencers also have a responsibility to be real and not promote damaging images. I know it’s tough – i, myself, have only recently found the courage to stop using the spot removal tool on my selfies. If i just inspire one person to do the same, i’ll feel as though i’ve done my bit.

How do you think we can help to end the acne stigma?

View Comments (5)
    • Thank you so much!! It’s stupid, because nobody has ever given me a reason to think they’re judging me. I’m judging myself, but acting like it’s them!?

  • LOVE love love this post, and I can definitely see that sparkle you were talking about that’s back in your eyes as well. I still really struggle with my skin now but when I was in my teen years, my god, my skin was the biggest worry of mine and it affected almost everything in my personal life in terms of my confidence. I think people who never struggle with acne/their skin just…don’t get it? I love that there are people out there like you writing posts like this and breaking the stigma around acne; that way people reading this post don’t feel like they have to hide if they don’t have perfect skin!

    Julia // The Sunday Mode

    • Thank you so much!! It totally takes over your life, especially when you’re a teenager. My acne pretty much ruled my life, and even now I still let it determine my mood for the day. It’s difficult to regain control! I definitely think acne is something you won’t understand unless you’ve experienced it, it’s hard to know exactly how heartbreaking it is to feel disgusted by your own face sometimes. I’m really trying to be that person I would’ve loved to have had growing up, someone who is open about their acne struggles!

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