Acne blogger Joanna at Beautiful By Breakfast shares her story and the steps she made to gain confidence. It's so encouraging when you ready stories like Joannas, understanding you're not alone and you are beautiful xx
"Twenty-twenty has been a big year so far! But in addition to what’s been dominating the headlines, the skin positivity movement has really gained momentum. This resulted in a campaign to “normalise acne” sparking world-wide debate within the blemished community. While some argued that by normalising acne we were glamourising skin conditions that shouldn’t be left untreated, others took comfort from seeing skin like their’s represented online for the first time.
As someone who joined this movement on social media, I viewed this as an opportunity to help those suffering feel less alone. One of the reasons I started my account @beautifulbybreakfast was to create the content I needed to see growing up with acne. Because I know how empowering it would have felt to see unfiltered, untouched images more regularly. Surely anything that prevents people from feeling abnormal is good?
For me the purpose to “normalise acne” was so that we could prevent thousands of people developing a mental health condition alongside their breakouts. Unrecognised and untreated depression and anxiety were responsible for my acne struggle being unnecessarily long. They were both barriers to my progress and my quality of life living with a skin condition.
Although the use of social media exposes us to unrealistic images of skin, being able to connect with others that share a similar struggle helped shift my perception of beauty. But it wasn’t until I shared an image of my acne on Instagram that I felt truly liberated. Although initially I was apprehensive about what my friends and colleagues might think, exposing my skin on social media first spared me from their shocked expressions and dreaded questions! “Jo! What’s happened to your face?” With so many years of failed attempts at clearing my skin and feeling utterly hopeless, I can’t even begin to describe how amazing it felt to be taking back control and revealing my truth on my own terms.
Without these toxic feelings holding me back, I could really get to work on making some positive changes to my lifestyle that I had previously been closed to. And for the first time I actually started measuring my progress by journaling and taking weekly photos of my skin. I changed my approach completely and set out to find the cause of my acne, believing that was the answer to longer-lasting results! It was hard to believe that just a short few months previous I had convinced myself that “I had tried everything”. Gradually my psychological acne scars started to fade and for the first time I was able to start seeing physical progress too. Finally, my happiness was no longer determined by the condition of my skin.
When I talk about being barefaced, I have to clarify it does not mean that I expect everyone reading to follow suit or feel ashamed if they’re not. Instead I want to emphasise that how you’re feeling about your skin is normal and it’s possible that your condition is more than just skin deep. Practicing good mental health was at the root of my success at clearing my skin, which like acne is a very individual journey."