Wake up. Check face in the mirror. Look for improvements. Turn face in different directions and varying light. Stare some more. Sigh.
Feels all too familiar? Welcome to the acne squad. I am sure, young or adult, each one of you has done this at some point in life.
Going through the same experience, today I am going to write about how the ongoing lockdown has lead to a massive change in the condition of my acne scars and also, how it has completely transformed my coping mechanism.
To begin with, I experience nodular cystic acne, and more often than not, they leave behind deep hyper-pigmented scars. I have never been a fan of oral acne medications because of their side effects, so I rely on topical creams to get rid of the scars, which like most of you know, does not go away too easily. So, while the creams do their work, every time I have to step out of my house, I rely on makeup to cover up my acne marks.
However, these fifteen days of lockdown has been a game-changer. Firstly, looking at my bare face with no trace of makeup at a continuous stretch of so many days has made me really comfortable in my skin. Seeing the scars day in and day out, without it being covered up has made me realize how these scars are just a natural mechanism of the body to heal the acne inflammation and they look completely fine on my skin. It has made me think that all those girls who look flawless outside must also be dealing with so many skin imperfections back at home. Secondly and most importantly, it has made me question the innate need to look perfect all the time.
Why do we need to have the most spotless and clear skin? Who is it that has set the bar? Have we set unrealistic beauty standards for ourselves? It has really made me reflect on all those times I have not felt confident enough to go out without layering tons of beauty products. Above all, all this thinking and self-introspection has helped me conclude that it is the cosmetic industry that has made us what we are today. Self-doubting, unsure, anxious, and devoid of any self-confidence. They have moulded our thoughts in such a manner that we find no other option but to rely on their products to make ourselves feel good. They have made us believe that scars, lines, marks, or pigmentation should be hidden or taken care of.
While at the same time, it is a universal fact that picture-perfect skin is nearly impossible to achieve and most of us know this. But our subconscious mind is always in a never-ending race to find that one miracle product that will transform our skin into the kind we find on magazine covers. The hope of our skin miraculously becoming flawless overnight is too good to just let go, even if we are aware of the reality.
But the lockdown, staying at home and doing a whole lot of thinking made me sure of the fact that we are being exploited. We can look good, feel good, and be confident in our skin if ‘we’ choose to be. I agree that taking care of the skin is important and keeping the skin healthy is part of self-care, but the burden of idealistic beauty standards can be done away with.
Around 645 million people all over the world face acne and still most of us feel so vulnerable about something that is so very common. Acne is normal. Scars are natural. Imperfections are part of life. So, why hide those marks? Why should we worry about what others will think of it when 90% of the world population is affected by acne at some point in their lives? It is all about how we think and what we believe in. We can either choose to be deceived by the glamour industry and the facade of the cosmetic world or change our irrational notions of what is beautiful.
Honestly speaking, fifteen days of no make-up has only been beneficial to me. My acne creams are working better and faster, my skin feels light and clearer, the pores feel way less clogged and I can see a visible difference in the state of my acne scars. My skin must be thanking me for letting it breathe and not being caked up by some cosmetic or the other.
Thankfully, I have always considered myself beautiful, acne or no acne, but this lockdown sure helped me face my acne problem in a much more sorted manner. I will no longer shy away from my scars because of what others might think of it and I wish all of us will now do the same.
So, next time any of you fret about your acne scar or search frantically for the latest launched full-coverage foundation, take a spoonful of confidence, mix it with a tablespoon of happiness, and there you go. You now have the perfect concoction required to look beautiful.
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#skinpositivity #lockdown #acnepositivity