There’s no such thing as perfect skin; texture, pimples, pores, wrinkles, milia, dark spots—they’re as much a part of skin as popcorn is a part of movies. Which is to say, very natural and to be expected.
Just as common? Acne, a skin condition that affects “85% of Australians aged 15-24 years old” says the Skin Health Institute, a not-for-profit organisation that “provides clinical care, research and training to improve skin health.” But of course, the effects of acne aren’t just outward, they can be inward too, as many dermatologists and GPs will tell you: acne can and does “cause great distress and damage to self-esteem and self-confidence” says the Skin Health Institute.
Which is why, in our filter-heavy world, many believe that the acne positivity (rooted in celebrating acne/textured skin) and neutrality (a concept that acknowledges it’s ok not to love your skin but accept it as it is) movements are so important.
“This very movement breaks the very beauty standards that have destroyed women’s self-esteem,” says English teacher and Content Wizard, Liz Claire, whose Instagram account @prettyprogress23 tracks her journey with acne post-pill, gut health and prioritising mental health. “The more people see people with acne, the more people will realise it's just a part of being human. Having textured skin is normal and it’s completely ok. It’s real and that’s what we need to see more of. I also believe this movement isn’t glamorising acne. It’s just teaching girls that having acne doesn’t take away from your beauty. Having acne is ok and shouldn’t stop you from living your life. You can also love yourself while seeking self-improvement.”
Presenter, DJ and self-described Acne Activist, Afia Kufuor founded @DontPopThatSpot, an Instagram account that “advocates for the acceptance and normalisation of real skin”, after experiencing the “worst bout of acne that I had ever dealt with.”
She too acknowledges how positive the movement has been not only for herself but the community she's fostered: “I’ve seen the acne positivity movement inspire young girls who were so embarrassed and ashamed to post pictures of themselves on Instagram become confident and proud of their appearance,” says Afia. “The movement is so important in making people like myself from all different walks of life real recognised, accepted and empowered.”
Here we present non-exhaustive list of acne positive and neutral faces to follow should you feed need a refresh:
Liz Claire, @prettyprogress23
“As an acne sufferer who’s been through hell and back, I wanted to share my experiences and hope to remind my followers of their worth and value beyond their outer appearance,” Liz tells Go-To. “We’re taught that our outward beauty defines our worth so we’re always seeking for the next best thing to help remove our ‘flaws’ and further beautify ourselves for the wrong reasons.”
“I figured that I couldn’t have been the only going through the experience and wanted to find a community of people who could potentially share tips on how they manage their acne,” Afia says of launching @DontPopThatSpot. “It initially was going to be a diary for me, somewhere where I could track what factors were influencing the condition of my skin.”
She adds: “The page took off and became a safe space for people to share the mental and physical battles that come with having acne! It’s now a community of real people sharing their real skin, unapologetically.”
Patsy refers to her account as the "acne-prone appreciation zone" and tracks her holistic journey without Roccutane. Expect: minimalist skin care and maximalist makeup.
Thalia champions acne and body positivity across her Instagram account, which also happens to be brimming with skin care recommendations and stories of other acne positive activists.
Model Lou Northcote started the #freethepimple movement when competing on Britain’s Next Top Model and is now the face, so to speak, of the community which champions embracing and celebrating acne.
Kali advocates for acne neutrality, detailing her journey with acne through motherhood and managing acne scarring.
Romanian-based Vlad is a skin positive influencer, who discusses acne-related anxiety and depression as well as the realities of skin set backs and breakout treatments.
The skin-positive Evelyn dissects living with hormonal acne and skin care alongside recommendations for oily/combination skin, practical reviews, Sunday self-care guides and hair care thrown in for good measure.