Does perfect skin exist? If your idea of “perfect” skin is poreless, wrinkle-free, smoothed over skin then the answer is no not really. Despite what filters may have you believe, skin has texture, skin has scars, and guess what- that can be perfect too. Changing our definition of “perfect” is one way to fight #skinsecurities and another way is ditching the aspiration of “perfect” all together. Perfect skin can be difficult, if not impossible, to attain. While Americans everywhere are becoming more self-conscious about their skin, we’re here to help you appreciate those imperfections and embrace the uniqueness in your physical appearance.
November is National Healthy Skin Month, the time of the year where dermatologists across the United States are bringing awareness to healthy skin and debunking the myths surrounding it. It’s no secret that everyone deals with hidden, or not-so-hidden, insecurities especially when it comes to their skin. Many find it comforting to know that people are becoming increasingly vocal about the stress that comes with glorifying “perfect” skin. Tackling perfectionism tendencies can be tricky; part of it can mean separating your self-worth from material items, achievements, and appearance. When we focus less on trying to reach flawless skin, we can direct more of that energy towards striving for healthy skin.
The Facts and Stats
If you are having a bad skin day and not feeling like your best self, know that you are not alone. A 2020 study by The New York Post found that 67 percent of Americans say skin issues may affect their confidence. It was also reported that more than half of Americans do not feel comfortable in their own skin. These numbers are troubling, especially when you take into account how overall skin condition can impact mental health. Acne is often ranked as the #1 skin insecurity. All skinsecurities, acne included, can affect anyone regardless of age, gender, or race. In fact, nearly HALF of respondents in studies have claimed to have left an event or work early due to bad skin days.
Our skin is the body’s largest organ and can create a never-ending cycle of stress. Stress causes the body to see an increase in sebum-producing cells. These cells release oily substances into the skin, leading to greater bacteria and dead skin cells which produce breakouts. When stress leads to more breakouts, for some individuals, this can become even more stressful! This is why managing the state of your mental health can be key. Activities such as meditation, physical exercise, deep breath work, and simple relaxing can not only improve your mental state, but your physical as well.
The beauty of social media is that it connects us with people and cultures from all over the world; I mean c’mon we have whole communities at our fingertips that we would never have interacted with otherwise. Although this can be used as space for opportunity, it is no secret that social media has a dark side, one of which is unrealistic beauty standards. Social channels such as Instagram have increased our desire to always look “perfect” and have created a narrow definition of what that means. Spending hours scrolling on social media and seeing heavily edited pictures is causing individuals to go to great lengths in order to achieve these skin and body types rather than embracing their authentic selves. There used to be the pressure of unattainable beauty standards from celebrities. Now, individuals are feeling the pressure from social influencers as well. Knowing what is real and exaggerated on your favorite apps may save you from the thief of joy known as comparison.
Reality of it all is, your favorite influencers and celebrities go through a great deal of expensive procedures to achieve the looks you see on your timeline. Botox, fillers, chemical peels, and expensive facial massages are what upholds the “perfect” skin that you see when you double tap AND there is usually some photoshop or filter slapped on top as a finishing touch. In 2018, R&B singer Jhene Aiko released the skincare regimen that keeps her skin glowing and there was more to it than just a good moisturizer, in fact she credited a lot of her glow to an expensive laser treatment with long recovery time. As we are seeing the number of millennial women that go through cosmetic surgery rise, it is important to note the driving factors for why women are undergoing these procedures.
Reclaiming Your Confidence
In a world where we’re always looking for new ways to look our best, self-love is essential. Acknowledging the misconceptions of perfect skin will help people everywhere become less overwhelmed and fixated with achieving the flawless, poreless look we see on TV and our phones. When examining your skin, remember to be kind to yourself and know that healthy skin IS perfect skin. We can become our biggest critic and focus on picking apart our insecurities. Affirming and reminding yourself of your beauty helps to reclaim your confidence and leaves you open to receiving love from the most valuable person: YOU!
Balance is key here. For example, instead of making your skincare goal “look airbrushed”, try “feel hydrated”. Pro tip: Healthy skin is hydrated and protected from the sun. With our bodies being 60 percent water, it is important that our largest organ shows signs of that moisture. Also, staying consistent with wearing sunscreen and protectants can be one of the best ways to actively work against the harmful UV rays from the sun. It’s easy to find videos of different skincare routines that users will swear by, but finding what works for you and your skin is the biggest decider in its appearance. If you are interested in learning more about your skin type, take our quiz and receive a gift at the end!
Accepting yourself and your imperfections is one of the main confidence boosters you can seek. Our #Skinsecurities don’t define us, despite the expectations placed on us by social media. In fact, we can use social media to fight back against these unrealistic expectations by being vocal and glowing unapologetically in our natural skin. Spaces where women are able to discuss any insecurities that may surround their skin and body have potential to shape a more confident future. It can be empowering as well as relieving when you realize others may experience similar feelings as you when it comes to something as personal as physical appearance. Perfect skin may seem great, but healthy skin and healthy mindsets are even better