Stop Acne Shaming, It’s Okay to Have Pimples

Words by: Leika Golez

Let’s face it. We all want to be told that we’re pretty.

At some point in our lives, simply feeling pretty isn’t enough. We want to hear that explicit validation from someone other than ourselves.

Well, during my childhood, I realized that receiving that compliment wasn’t easy. I guess you can say that according to typical beauty standards, I wasn’t eye candy. I was chubby, awkward, and slightly tomboyish. But I was at least proud of one thing: my clear skin.

I carried that all the way through high school. By then, I was already skinnier and more poised, but my skin still gave me the greatest comfort. At least once a day in my all-girls high school, I would hear the line, “Ugh, ang dami kong pimples.” I would listen to my batchmates talk about skincare routines and diet options, desperate to find that golden solution to curing acne. They would recommend dermatologists and beauty products to each other tirelessly.

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@peterdevito – Acne Normalization p2

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They didn’t even stop to consider that perhaps verbal reassurance was what they were truly looking for at the end of the day. They failed to realize that striving to have perfect skin can be a toxic mentality brought about by lack of representation in media. But just like them, I didn’t question that kind of behavior either. Because when it comes to acne, unsolicited advice suddenly seems perfectly okay.

All that changed when I got to college and had my first real breakout. I was a sophomore on her finals week, barely getting by with no exercise, binged meals, four hours of sleep every night, and to top it all off, a never-ending pile of work. The pimples started on my cheek area, then it soon spread to my chin and my forehead. It wasn’t a big deal to me at first, but then a disheartening comment from a family member made me think twice.

So I did what every insecure female teenager would. I forced myself to conform to a beauty standard despite knowing that it was completely unrealistic and unattainable. I developed both exercise and skincare routines, and I made it an active effort to get at least six hours of sleep every day. I also started using planners and journals to manage my stress.

Nevertheless, my pimples stayed. But this time, I didn’t care. Just by making the active effort to take care of myself, I already felt beautiful. Because for once in my life, I felt like I was more than just my skin. I then realized that I didn’t want to be told I was pretty. I wanted to be told that I was loved. And loved because of my flaws, not in spite of them.

The world is imperfect, so naturally, your skin will be as well. Don’t beat yourself up. It’s okay if you don’t have clear skin. There’s so much more to you than what you look like. Believe me, your pimples don’t make you any less pretty. It may not feel like it sometimes, but you’re loved just the way you are.

So today, let’s start practicing skin positivity. Familiarize yourself with your condition and realize that acne can be aggravated by many external factors that are mostly out of your control. Surround yourself with positivity, and don’t let others define you by your skin complexion. Take care of your skin for you, and only you. Accept yourself, but realize that you’re not always going to feel confident in how you look.

But that’s okay. Self-acceptance doesn’t happen overnight, so take as much time as you need to feel safe in your own skin.

And when you’re finally ready, let’s normalize acne together.

What do you think? Let us know!

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