What is perhaps simply an accumulation of dirt and grit in the subcutaneous glands can be a cause of great worry to some people. Pimples have always been considered the most unflattering feature one can possess. But having said that, let’s not forget that they are the most common symptom of puberty and also a pretty normal occurrence, especially for women.
Be that as it may, it’s also a reality that pimples come with their own set of stigmas attached. From having people stare at you in the supermarket to relatives offering all sorts of advice, and the fear of bullying, pimples can be the reason for one’s plummeting self-esteem and cause immense anxiety and social deprivation in those who battle it every day. Women are shamed for their bodies every day, be it on social media or in real life. Adolescence is a time where pimples and breakouts are common due to hormonal fluctuation, yet women are made to feel less of themselves. Moreover, we are also socially conditioned to think that beauty has an archetype. A pattern. A paradigm. What we have failed in, is to make ourselves and the women in our world realize that beauty has myriad variations.
The internet and social media are replete with people talking about issues like body positivity and self-love every single day, but have you ever thought what it means to embrace all your flaws? Does it mean accepting your body or making the conscious choice to improve your flaws? When we say body positivity, do we encourage people to be fat? Or does it mean that one can choose to reduce their body weight, but only if they want to? In simple terms, loving your body means finding joy in what you have and not being burdened by the prejudices that surround society.
So, when we say that your acne can be treated, you don’t have to take the solution. Since 2018, activists like Lou Northcote have built a movement online to destigmatize and empower those battling skin problems to embrace their skin the way it is. The #freethepimple or the acne positive movement focuses on the fact that acne and pimples do not always have to be cured. The simple premise of this movement is that even though smooth, glowing skin can be achieved, that should not be the goal. It lays emphasis on finding peace with your flaws and realizing that inner beauty is not defined by what is on the outside.
As a result of this movement, people on social media are now clicking pictures of their face without any filter or makeup, and trying to portray happiness in their own skin. Many makeup and skin brands have also addressed this issue as for them, it’s a way of staying in the business while promoting their brand. For a very long time, pharma companies sold their products by stigmatizing pimples. But how do you do that when the audience is starting to accept their acne? Co-opting is the new way to go. Where brands promote new skin care and make up products masking acne, while simultaneously telling users, they don’t have to conceal their skin if they don’t wish to. Brands have started to accept the fact that they can sell all the products they want without encouraging an unattainable need of perfection. Well, if brands can do that, why can’t we?
So yes, while you login on your Instagram page tonight, looking at all those flawless pictures of models and female actors who are getting their body summer-ready, let’s not forget, we owe an obligation to our bodies too. Which is simply that we promise to love it the way it is! Your decision to change your body should not be affected by the social conventions of beauty.