My journey with acne began when I turned 13. Along with period's arrival, a couple of whiteheads appeared on my forehead. This acne soon developed into an inflamed version called papule and pustule.
While many of my friends would eat chocolate or chips for snacks without paying much attention to their skin health, I was scared of the consequences of eating these snacks.
Entering high school was the most stressful experience of all. Every girl started doing makeup, and a majority of the conversation was about skincare or what brand of cosmetics they use. While others had no trace of acne and maintained their beautiful pale skin, my acne never disappeared, and I felt ugly and ashamed. Without proper knowledge of my skin condition, I relied on social media and tried hundreds of trendy skincare products. When it failed me, I relied on the dermatologist. Eventually, they only gave me antibiotics, which didn’t work either.
From high school to university, all I wanted was to treat acne and have beautiful pale skin. I became obsessed with skincare and makeup. I dreamt of becoming the beautiful Asian woman you would see online. Every month, I spent a portion of my salary from my part-time job investing in these products until, one day, I stopped.
When I lived in Australia for a year, I met my beautiful best friends who taught me that beauty doesn’t get defined by the look or having the perfect skin. Although they suffered from constant breakouts, acne scars and uneven skin texture, they were confident and strong, unlike me.
Suddenly, the beauty standard my society taught me made no sense to me.
In the past few years, I’ve learned much more about my skin condition and what beauty means. I was able to realise that my low self-esteem made my journey with acne harder. My consistent hate speech to myself was nothing positive but lowered my confidence in who I am.
Now, at 25, I am the most confident version of myself. I use only three skincare products to maintain skin health, and the disappointment doesn’t strike me anymore when acne appears. As I never had skin with ZERO breakout, it became natural to think that the “perfect skin” doesn’t exist. Once I understood it, it made my relationship with myself better. I learned to love my skin. I learned to accept my hormone imbalance and how it affects my skin.
A few years back, only a few influencers and YouTubers would open up about their skin condition or show their face without filters/makeup. Now, the skin acceptance movement is emerging more than ever. People started posting their unfiltered moments. Having imperfect skin is normal. Skin is in constant progress like we all do as humans. One day, fine lines and wrinkles will replace my skin concerns, though I will not define what beauty means by “perfect skin”.