Last year I began to notice a Twitter hashtag #SkinPositivity popping up online and wondered what the heck? After some Googling, I realized the hashtag referred to a new spin on the #BodyPositivity movement, one that is teaching us to love the skin we’re in—unconditionally.
Turns out, it’s not just about being “OK” with normal trials and tribulations like hormonal acne, it’s about accepting all forms of skin conditions as “normal” and beautiful.
Whether you have the classic “butterfly” rash on your face, or vitiligo on your neck or hands, the latest trend in loving yourself is to accept your skin conditions. Just as the body positivity movement made it ok to have inner thighs, back fat, and belly flab, and even celebrities began flaunting their imperfections like stretch marks on Instagram, launching this new movement to show our real selves, unfiltered.
As for me, I USED to get compliments all day long on my “peaches and cream” complexion. In school I had people tell me my skin looked like a porcelain doll. I grew up loving my skin. Then, in my late 30’s, the hormonal changes started. I began I have my own issues with skin, my face covered in cystic acne and strange bumps that itched like the devil on my arms and chest. I was diagnosed with a rare condition called #BrachioradialPuritis. Five years later, with my arms covered in bloody scabs, I again turned to Google and found a dermatologist at the Skin Center in Laguna Niguel who advised me to get UVB light therapy, Thai massage, acupuncture and physical therapy. Yes, all of that for my SKIN.
I’ve gotten used to the stares of people at the supermarket, and honestly I swear I was let go from a job over the issues with my skin. But it’s hard to embrace something which you HATE, and which affects your self-esteem.
But last year when I started noticing the hashtag, then articles in Elle magazine, I still remember the shock of seeing pictures of Instagram models covered in psoriasis and openly flaunting their stretch marks and cystic acne. Chrissy Teigen and even Justin Bieber shared their struggles with skin online and then on the red carpet, in front of millions. The result? An overwhelmingly positive reaction from fans.
The movement started with one UK blogger who shared a video called You Look Disgusting on YouTube, which is really a story about the horrific comments she endured from others while having acne. She was bullied, depressed, and ultimately fought back with the video, which has received 32 million views to date.
I think it’s important to spread positivity online and in person, so I’ve worked hard to be Ok with my looks. I ignore the stares, I put a smile on my face and I look for encouragement online… from the girls with cystic acne, to adult women with stretch marks, to the child with burn scars from a horrific fire, and the gorgeous models who have embraced their vitiligio, and I think maybe I don’t have it so bad.
That doesn’t mean I won’t still continue to get treatment for my skin, but it does mean that I can go back to wearing short sleeves without shame.