Today has been a horribly sad day, for reasons that I won’t go into because I almost never feel it is my place to do publicly. What I will go into is what I’ve been thinking all day, which is that more than anything else, our world needs positive forces in it to counteract the darkness around us–even positive forces that are fairly minor, like the positive force a mere beauty blogger might be.
So I’ll talk about something I’ve noticed a lot in the last few years. And that is that so many of us are so hard on ourselves about our skin, causing so much needless pain.
Over the last couple of years, I’ve gotten many private requests for skincare advice from readers, both here and on my Instagram. Sometimes those requests come with photos. Almost always, the requests with the photos are framed as a last-ditch attempt for help. So many people confess that their skin problems harm their self-esteem so much that it affects their lives. They don’t go out as much as they would if they felt better about their skin, they feel less confident in every area of their lives, they’re desperate for a solution, any solution, to fix the problems and fix their lives.
Because I’ve seen the photos and heard the stories, I feel completely qualified to tell you this:
No matter what you think it looks like, it is nowhere near as bad as you imagine.
I have never, not once in my life, not once in the many times I’ve been emailed or DMed unfiltered photos of troubled skin, seen anything that’s even remotely close to what the person is describing as happening on their face. I see this tendency towards excessively negative self-image in good friends as well, good friends who talk about how their skin is “erupting” or doing horrible things. It is never ever ever as bad as you think. In fact, in many cases, the skin problems that are described as catastrophic, are barely noticeable.
So please don’t let your perceived skin problems hold you back from enjoying your life, because it shouldn’t. Because, and here’s the thing, even if your skin problems were as bad as you think they are (and they are most assuredly not), the people who truly love you, the people to whom you truly matter, don’t care. At all. They won’t judge and they won’t mock. They love you for you. You are more beautiful to them than you can imagine, and that has nothing to do with the smoothness or evenness of your skin or how many pimples you have at any given time. It may be counterintuitive for a skincare blogger to say this, but really, none of those “blemishes” matter at all.
I didn’t start this blog and I’m not in this industry to perpetuate the idea that perfection is a prerequisite for a happy life. To me, that’s bullshit. It’s marketing at its most insidious. My take on skincare is that we should do whatever we can and whatever is in our power to feel better about ourselves–for ourselves. For many of us, our skin is a thing that can influence how we feel about ourselves, so improving on our skin can lead to an improvement in how we feel, and that is a good thing. That is an important thing. But in the end, it’s not about achieving Photoshop IRL results. None of us will get there. That’s not the point.
The point is about loving ourselves more and showing that love through the things we do to take care of ourselves, and one of the things we should do to take care of ourselves, is to be gentler on ourselves for our perceived “flaws.” Especially when our feelings about our “flaws” stop us from engaging with our world.
I love you guys all very much, and I hope I’ve been a positive force in your lives in my small way, but today I’m hoping to be a bigger positive force than I have been before. Please know that no matter how much you suffer from hormonal acne, no matter how much you struggle with PIH, no matter how many fine lines and wrinkles you’re developing thanks to the unrelenting march of time, you are all incredibly beautiful in your own way, because you are, each of you, YOU. You matter, regardless of what your skin looks like, regardless of where you are in your skincare journey. And you should never let your feelings about your skin hold you back from participating in your lives to the fullest extent you can, because the world? It needs YOU.