Why We Need More Skin Positivity

I love the body positivity movement. There are ups and downs and flaws within it, but at its core, it seeks to uplift and empower women regardless of their appearance, and takes power away from harmful Western beauty standards. I love how the movement has gone beyond just body shape and size, but I think we can take it even further.

All of our skin is under the scrutiny of beauty standards. We are made to feel shameful for any marks, blemishes, discoloration, or other imperfections we may have. There’s no reason why body positivity can’t extend to all parts of our appearance – including skin. I’ve seen more and more appreciation for stretch marks, a previously frowned-upon feature, which warms my heart and gives me hope. But why don’t we see people posting about or embracing their other external “flaws” as well? There is still so much shame and embarrassment surrounding acne, and anything else that keeps our skin from being flawless. Why don’t we post unedited images of our skin in all its imperfect glory as well as our figures? Maybe if we stopped treating skin conditions like disgusting things that are ugly and unhygienic, and treated them like the natural occurrences that they are, we wouldn’t feel the need to hide behind foundation and photo editing.

I’ve dealt with skin issues since at least the third grade. I have keratosis pilaris, a condition that creates bumps on my arms and has left me with scars and marks. I spent a few years dealing with cystic acne, which left even deeper scars. I have red splotches on my face that haven’t faded no matter what “miracle” product I try. I’ve tried every trick in the book to fix my skin problems. So no, my bad skin is not a result of laziness. I almost never go in public without makeup on, and I get anxious when I wear tank tops. It’s exhausting for me and so many others to feel insecure about things we have no control over, just because we’re afraid of being judged based upon how we look.

Em Ford, @mypaleskinblog on Instagram

What constitutes imperfection is entirely socially constructed. It’s made up. Who says that having marks on your skin makes you less desirable? When you step back and think about what makes us beautiful or ugly, it seems ridiculous that we have all collectively decided that having a softer body or a certain amount of hair or spots on our skin makes us somehow less valuable. Our perceptions of human value through the lens of physical attractiveness are completely arbitrary and subjective, making them essentially meaningless.

Celebrities and other public figures have begun to openly share their struggles with acne and other skin issues. Kendall Jenner tweeted "never let that sh*t stop you" when a fan pointed out her acne during a red carpet appearance. Beauty blogger Kadeeja Khan is very outspoken and open about her skin troubles - and the incident where L'Oreal dropped her from a photoshoot because of her acne. Em Ford, an Instagram blogger, posts bare-faced pictures to empower others with acne. It's inspiring to see women who are revered for their beauty be open about their "flaws" and prove that they don't make you any less beautiful. 

Kadeeja Khan, @emeraldxbeauty on Instagram

It’s 2018, and with the recent strides we’ve made in relation to female empowerment, it’s time for us to stop letting our self-esteem be ruined by socially constructed “flaws”. We don’t need clear skin to be beautiful, though that’s what companies in pursuit of profit want us to buy into. The texture and appearance of our skin has nothing to do with our value as people. We are not flawed or gross nor do we need to just drink more water or exfoliate. Acne is just one item on a long list of things we are made to feel ashamed of so that we can be profited off of, and shut down.  

Sources: Header, Images are taken from Em and Kadeeja's respective Instagrams.