Beauty is Not Skin Deep

Breanna Nichols

Today I woke up, went to the bathroom, and the first thing I saw was the biggest pimple I have ever seen on my face. It was not one of those pimples that could be easily hidden by a cute little pimple patch. 

On top of that I felt extra bloated, so of course, everything I put on looked hideous. All of this was a recipe for a bad day. It would not be the first time my acne was the cause of me having a less-than-perfect day.

Living in an age where being flawless from head to toe is the beauty standard, it is easy to get discouraged if you do not live up to how social media expects you to look. This becomes even more difficult when plastic surgery seems to be as accessible as ordering a cheeseburger from McDonald’s. 

The fact of the matter is that we can’t all look like Instagram models or beauty influencers, no matter how rigorous our efforts are. But guess what: That is OK! Being OK with what the world would consider flawed and undesirable is a lesson we as individuals have to learn. It is a lesson I am learning, and relearning, every day.

I have dealt with acne since I was in high school. My dermatologist diagnosed me with cystic acne when I was 15. She gave me many options and solutions on how to get rid of the acne: chemical peels, birth control, a change in diet, but nothing seemed to work. It was disheartening to go through all of this and at the end of it, my face was still as lumpy and scarred as it was before. 

Having acne created an insecurity in me so prominent that it not only affected my confidence, but also how I saw myself. I hated taking close-up pictures of my face. Wearing makeup is supposed to enhance your beauty, but it felt like all makeup did for me was enhance the visibility of my acne. There seemed to be no answer to this problem until one day, it hit me: I had to accept that this was just my face. Even though I had blemishes everywhere, that was OK. I was still cute. 

When I stopped stressing about how to get rid of my acne and just let it be, the majority of my acne went away on its own. I still have acne scars, and I would be lying if I said looking at influencers on TikTok with their perfect skin  doing their skin care routine did not make me a little envious from time to time. Seeing models and influencers like Winnie Harlow, Bianca Lawrence and Dixie D’Amelio, who have imperfect skin according to society, tell their stories about how they stopped comparing themselves to conventional beauty standards is helpful. 

Harlow, a fashion model with the skin condition vitiligo, said it best: “I have my flaws, but I embrace them and I love them because they are mine.” 

Learning to love ourselves and our flaws means embracing who we are. It’s a never-ending battle, but it results in our most beautiful self, without the approval of Instagram.