Skin. It’s the largest organ on the human body. We all have it, whatever the colour, whatever the age. It’s on the cover of every magazine, on every TV advert, and on almost every instagram post, and is most likely walking past you everywhere you look. And most of the skin you see out there looks perfect. The thing is, it might be airbrushed, it’s most definitely covered in makeup, and it’s also likely got a filter on it. And that’s why it looks perfect. But yet we still feel pressure for our skin to look like that IRL.
Is it achievable? When the people who’s skin you strive towards copying, probably don’t even really look like that.
Acne affects 85% of people across the entire globe (96% of statistics are false but everywhere seems to say 80-90% on this one). And there really is no real cure. There’s countless old wives tales, a thousand home remedies, and various (expensive) products and medications that ‘might work’, but, take it from me, there’s no magical solution. I’ve suffered with my skin since the age of 14. I’m now 24. That’s a whole decade of spots. Granted I’ve had a few ‘good skin’ phases along the way. But I never ‘grew out’ of my spots like people always told me I would. It’s a myth that acne is a teenage problem, it’s very much an adult thing too.
Spots are so much more than a physical mark on your face. Maybe some people are able to genuinely not let acne phase them, but I know for me, they’ve had a huge impact on who I am. They’ve caused more tears and embarrassment than anything else in my life. And my self-confidence has often been non-existent because I physically couldn’t stand my own reflection. The thought of going outside and people looking at my face gave me anxiety. Simple actions like standing face to face with someone, having a conversation, even with your closest friends and family, and seeing their eyes veer to the spots rather than looking you in the eyes, feels shit, frankly. I obviously don’t blame them, I guess it’s natural for the human eye to wander and stare at abnormalities.
Being a pretty low-maintenance girl, and someone that is all for embracing your natural self. It makes it really hard to not be comfortable in my own skin, or be able to go outside without make-up, without feeling ashamed of my appearance. On the rare occasions that I do venture out bare-faced, I still can’t help but feel people staring and judging me. Even though in reality they might not even notice me.
I’ve seen a few people in the blogging/youtube world complain about a sudden breakout, or the ‘odd spot’, but no one discussing it as an ongoing issue. That was until Em Ford realised a video a few years back entitled ‘You Look Disgusting’. That video struck a chord with me. I related so much to the whole thing, and to bee honest, she’s the first person in the blogging wold that I have ever seen bare her skin to her viewers, despite her acne. Considering how vast the blogging space is now, I find it hard to believe that she’s the only one.
The realisation of that hit home with me and I started to think about whether I’m contributing the the problem? In terms of blog pictures, the only aspects I generally edit is brightness/contrast, and maybe saturation/temperature. But I won’t lie, If I’ve got ant spots or scars that are visible through my make-up on the shots, I’ll clone-stamp those bad boys straight out without a second thought. I still don’t feel strong enough to stop doing so. I’m torn with siding with whether editing out the spots is bad or whether it’s just as much of a ‘lie’ than wearing make-up? What do you think? To me I see it as the post-production make-up. Is that bad?
These shots for example were taken on holiday so the vitamin D had done my skin a favour, so these are au natural. But I’d say 85% of blog shots I take I’ll have edited out some kind of blemishes. So I want to say sorry to anyone reading this who suffers with their skin the same way as me, because I know that I wish there were more relatable posts out there rather than the picture-perfect instagram shots that are just subconsciously making your more aware of your own imperfections.
As I’ve grown into my twenties I’ve learnt to love the things about myself that I found difficult growing up. My height; I’m 5’9 and always felt like a giant or that I was too manly; my ginger hair; an obvious bullying point as a child (and as an adult still, would you believe?); and my pale skin; more of the same. But the reoccurring spots on my skin are still an issue I can’t get past and still beat myself up about. Granted it’s not as bad as it used to be, and sometimes I can complain about having just one spot. Acne sufferers will know the joy in that. But especially around the time of the month, or if work is super hectic, then I see it staring back at me in the mirror, and I just can’t see how I will ever banish it. No matter how meticulous I am about my skincare, or how much water I drink.
I wanted to put this post out there to shed a little transparency on a huge part of my life that I’ve always tried to hide. I’ve written this blog for 6 years now, and 80% of that time has been spent suffering with acne at some level, and doing so in silence really, as I’ve never mentioned it online before. It goes to show how easy it is to not even realise how much you’re sugar coating the life you show online.
If there is any other bloggers out there open about their skin issues, let me know, I’d love to check them out and see some relatable content. Also despite what I’ve said about not being able to shake the spots, if you have any recommendations that you think might be worth a try, please do hit me up. I’m always looking for hope on this journey. Aren’t we all?