You're Not Imagining It: Everyone Has Acne Right Now
Ever since the beginning of the pandemic, my skin has been hit with breakout after stressed-induced breakout. I've tried meditating, regular sanity walks, and even scaling back my already parse skincare routine. Nothing has brought my skin back to pre-pandemic clarity, so I've finally accepted my skin also has a new normal.
I'm not the only one who's constantly dealing with stress acne and maskne for the past two years. Friends, family members, and fellow beauty editors have all been having a rough time with their skin.
The same goes for celebrities. Recently, influencer Addison Rae was praised by her followers for showing her unfiltered skin in a TikTok video of her getting her makeup done. Keke Palmer is another star who's documented their journey with adult acne as a result of PCOS on Instagram.
Maude Apatow also recently shared her experience struggling with severe acne on the set of Euphoria season two in her Vogue Beauty Secrets video. "I was shooting Euphoria a couple of months ago and I got like three gigantic zits on my forehead […] you couldn't cover them up they were so big and they stuck out," she said. She went on to say she asked director Sam Levinson to be careful with the lighting so her zits wouldn't be accentuated.
Many of the HBO series stars had acne throughout the second season, including Zendaya and Sydney Sweeney. Head makeup artist Donni Davey told Allure that while Levinson was anti-foundation for season two, she used makeup on some occasions to create "very moist-looking skin."
Acne positivity isn't a new concept in 2022, but this level of mainstream transparency feels refreshing. Now, people including the aforementioned celebrities, don't feel the need to cover up their zits, whether going out on a coffee run or an Instagram Story.
Dr. Sheerene Idriss, a board-certified dermatologist and founder of Idriss Dermatology and creator of the #Pillowtalkderm Instagram series has also noticed people approaching their acne differently. "I think it's been a cultural shift that's been going on over the past couple of years, with brands like Starface, who are loud, proud, and encourage people to put neon stars [pimple patches] on their pimples," she says. "It's a form of empowerment and it's a healthy one, to a certain extent. I think people should embrace their faults and their blemishes. However, if it is a really bad medical condition where acne can lead to excessive scarring, people should also be empowered with education to know that they can get treatment. Not to come from a place of insecurity, but a place of understanding that there are solutions to their problems."
While social media can negatively impact your mental health, there are some benefits to sharing your skin struggles on platforms such as Instagram or TikTok. "The benefit of sharing with others is you're acknowledging that this is your skin. The thing about confidence is when we're not bothered by acne, then we don't allow people to have power over us," says clinical psychologist Dr. Jenny Yip. "When you're open and transparent about your acne, it lets people know you accept who you are. You're not bothered by your acne, and when you're not bothered by it, there's less power in judgment from others."
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And if there are situations where you want to make any active breakouts less noticeable, Davey has some tips. "I'm comfortable letting my acne scars show, but I like to partially conceal any active inflamed blemishes. In terms of concealer application, I think less is more," the makeup artist shares. "Using a super skinny brush to dab or stipple a high coverage concealer just right on top of the blemish is a great way to take attention away from the breakout. If it's raised, it will still show, and that's ok. The key is to avoid caking or putting too much makeup on top of a raised or inflamed blemish because it can draw more attention to the area. Thankfully we are trending away from this look."
And as someone who now only wears complexion makeup two or three times a week, I couldn't agree more.