Embracing #SkinPositivity: You Don't Need Perfect Skin

Tired of society’s beauty standards? Here’s why achieving ‘perfect skin’ is unrealistic.

Have you ever had a friend with perfect skin? One who didn’t have to put forth any effort to achieve it? What's worse is when you ask for advice on achieving flawless skin, all they’ve to say is "drink lots of water and wash your face twice a day". Well, just so you know, I've tried plenty of methods without effectiveness. I’ve come to realise that there are certain things that you can’t force to happen, and in this case, your skin needs time and patience to heal. It’s also up to us to change our mentality and perception of beauty to accept how we look. 

The ‘perfect skin’ has been of significant interest in recent years. If you scroll on social media, it’s easy to note the increasing interest to achieve glowy, smooth, and non-texturised skin, especially among teenagers and young adults, including women and men. But it’s simply not attainable for some people. Although it’s scientifically proven that skin ailments might take time to heal, some of these conditions are diseases that’ll last for the rest of the person’s life. In the long run, striving for flawless skin can cause significant psychological stress because no method or strategy will work for everyone. This leads to feelings of inadequacy and self-consciousness. 

As beauty standards continuously evolve with no way to keep up, we should talk about normalising all skin conditions.

#1. Understanding skin conditions

We should normalise different types of skin conditions because they arise without our agreement. Since everyone’s skin is different, our skin can react differently due to allergies, irritants, genetic make-up, diseases, and immune system disorders. 

Did you know that even the world’s highest paid model, Kendall Jenner is prone to acne? It’s a common skin condition that occurs for many people worldwide. This happens when blocked skin follicles from a plug caused by oil from glands, bacteria, and dead skin cells clump together and swell. However, chronic acne may be due to fluctuating or excessive hormones, which changes the entire body and environment of the skin, leading to pH imbalance, inflammation, excessive production of oil (sebum), etc. This can continue in our early 20s up to 30s as our body tries to adapt to adulthood. Although, there are many ways that could help including precise treatments, a nutritious diet, exercise, and dedicated skincare routine. 

Rosacea is a common long-term skin disorder that mainly affects the face, causing it to grow red and be prone to pimples. It can also cause your skin to thicken and, in severe cases, eye difficulties. It’s a relapsing condition, which means there are periods when the symptoms are worse and sometimes moderate. Although it can be controlled with long-term treatment, sometimes the changes in physical appearances can affect your mental health. 

You may have heard of Psoriasis — a skin condition that even the renowned celebrity, Kim Kardashian has. Psoriasis is a long-term and chronic disease whereby our immune system becomes overactive, causing our skin cells to generate at a faster rate. This causes patches of inflamed and scaly skin to form and can be visible on the scalp, elbows, knees, and other body parts. Studies have been conducted to find out the leading cause of psoriasis, but evidence could only prove that psoriasis involves a mix of genetics and environmental factors. Having this skin disease can worsen under intense stress or pressure, so be kind to those you know who have it.

Vitiligo is a rare skin condition that affects 0.5-1% of the population in the world. The world’s King of Pop, Michael Jackson was known to have vitiligo. Meanwhile, fashion model Winnie Harlow, who experiences the skin disorder as well, has been raising awareness to normalise different types of skin conditions. It’s another type of chronic skin that causes patches of skin to lose pigment or colour. This skin condition happens due to attacks and destruction of the melanocytes, which are skin cells that make pigments, causing the skin to turn a milky-white colour. Numerous studies suggest that it may be an autoimmune disease but the exact cause is unknown. Although there’s no cure, treatment may help the skin appear even. 

No matter what your skin condition is like, if you’re affected by it, remember to seek help and consult a dermatologist. Don’t try to do anything drastic (especially online trends) prior to a consultation. In fact, if you’re able to, seek multiple advice to be sure.

#2. Having flawless skin is not a panacea for all problems


Here's a gentle reminder that having great skin doesn't guarantee you to accomplish things effectively and successfully. Many assume that having flawless skin gives you more advantages in life, but that’s not true. Your abilities are more important than your appearance and your beauty won't fix all of your issues in a flash.

In most situations, our physical appearances don’t give us an advantage in solving our life difficulties. Instead, it’s our abilities that’ll take care of the situation. 

Imagine you’re a good looking person who’s always praised for your effortless looks. Then, one day, you need help from a classmate for an assignment that’s due soon. Do you think your looks would matter at this point? Your classmate would’ve their assignment to do too. Your good looks have no implication in this. Whereas, if you’ve been kind and helpful to them in the past, they’re likely more willing to help you out. 

That said, studies have shown that the better looking often triumphs a.k.a. the beauty premium —  and we should change that. No one's capabilities should be overshadowed or downgraded just because of how they look or their skin condition. Regardless of our skin condition, we must embrace each other’s unique features by being supportive and respectful of each other.

#3. No one should be defined based on their skin condition


Don’t let your appearance define you. However, it's not a simple thing to do especially if you’re experiencing a skin disorder and have been made to feel insecure in your own skin. Society has already defined who you are without understanding what, why, and how it happens. For this reason, we, as the younger generation, must break free from being judgmental and embrace everyone as equals by spreading skin positivity and encouraging people to embrace the diversity of skin types.

If you’re suffering from any skin condition, don't be discouraged and judge yourself. Becoming more confident and accepting of your own beauty may be difficult in its early stages but once you start the journey of acceptance and self-love, you'll notice how your confidence and opinion of yourself will improve and shift for the better.

You must learn to accept yourself and your past without obsessing over society's definition of beauty in order to move forward. It may be challenging, and you may struggle along the way, but at the end of the journey, it’s worth it. That’s when you realise that it’s just you against you — not society.

Now that we understand and are aware of skin conditions, let’s stop judging people based on their skin. And if you personally experience these skin conditions, know that they don’t prevent you from success — take Kendall Jenner and Winni Harlow for example. A skin condition is just a skin condition, and problems are just problems; everyone is meant to have problems in life because that’s how it is. 

Last but not least, don't let your appearances define you but let the challenges you’ve overcome define how strong and powerful you are. With the #SkinPositivity community out there spreading the awareness of loving your skin, let's be there to support each other.

Sonia Rachel is currently pursuing Bachelor of Social Science (Hons) in International Relations at Taylor's University. She is also a committee member of Taylor’s University Student Council.

Need more contents to keep you mused? Sign up to be part of The Risers community!