I Won’t Be Using the Term “Flawless Skin” Anymore – Choosing Skin Health Over Perfection
Can we talk about the term “flawless skin” for a second? That’s what we all want. Or at least that’s what marketers at major cosmetic and beauty brands have told us we want. I mean, I’m sure I’ve used this term at some point in my life. Sounds pretty innocuous right? On second thought, maybe not. Because the more I think about how we talk about skin, (women’s in particular) the more I see the similarities between bodies and fat shaming. Correct me if I’m wrong here (I mean it, I totally could be) but I haven’t seen very many commercials targeting aging men about their wrinkles. Nor have I seen tips in GQ for guys looking for flawless skin.
The reality is, there’s a lot of skin shaming out there. Society shames wrinkles, acne, sun spots, eczema, the list goes on… and on. We obsess about skin’s “flawlessness” and freedom from marks, while rarely obsessing about how amazing it is at protecting our entire body from the outside world. Not to mention “flawless” is a very one-dimensional, genetic dependent, and hard to attain standard on which the beauty industry can make us measure ourselves to and market against.
I want to start challenging how I (and maybe you too) think about, and appreciate our skin. I’ve found myself falling into a similar pattern I started with food and health a long time ago. It started as an innocent quest for “health” and has turned into trying to meet an impossibly difficult standard of “flawlessness.”
My Skin Story
I’m keenly aware of my skin precisely, because it’s not society’s definition of flawless. I’ve had acne since I was a teen and it didn’t magically disappear when I got into my mid twenties. I have it on my back, my jawline and sometimes I’ll breakout in different spots on the middle of my face. When I was in high school, then again after college, I tried medications and applied intense creams. They worked … until I stopped taking the pills every day. They were bandaids.
This year, has been a big turning point in how I take care of my skin. Through personal research, hearing from fellow wellness bloggers and being introduced to Follain as well as some other amazing skincare brands, my eyes were opened to how little the beauty and skincare business is regulated. As a result the products we use and trust are often filled with chemicals that ultimately do more harm than good in order to feed a business model driven by profit margins, not our health. If you’re curious about the beauty industry I highly recommend checking out Davida’s podcast: the Healthy Maven episode 19. She has an incredible interview with Kim Emanuel, Luminance Skincare’s founder/CEO who is so knowledgeable.
Long story short, putting chemicals on are skin is a whole lot like eating them. I never understood quite how absorbent our skin is until now. This year, I’ve made a lot of really positive changes in my skincare routine, mainly actually having one. I’ve also invested in natural products, worked on managing stress and started connecting the dots between food and skin.
Here’s where my skin is at today. This is low average kinda week.
Skin Health Over Skin Perfection
All these things are wonderful, however I’ve noticed myself obsessing over every mark, blaming myself for not “being good enough” and comparing the shit out of myself. A lot like I used to with my body, food and other women’s bodies. While my main driver for better, more natural skincare started as a quest for flawless skin, on this journey I realized that healthy skin was far more important. Realistically, I’ll probably never really have flawless skin (for more than a day or two at a time).
It’s been a bit of a wake up call to realize a lot of the work I’ve done on healing my disordered relationship with food and my body has manifested in some ways with skincare. There is a line between taking care of your skin’s health and expecting your body to be perfect. I’ve had to step back to really see where that line was.
So incase you’re in the same boat, I feel you. Your skin is a beautiful, powerful, amazing part of your body that deserves to be nurtured, loved and celebrated. It’s a wonderful thing to take care of your skin with natural products, nourishing foods, cleansing rituals and plenty of sunscreen.
However, know that just like with the shape of our bodies, we can’t control everything. We don’t have to think our beautifully flawed skin is perfect. We’re still allowed to be annoyed about a pimple or a mark or bump while also holding space to love and appreciate what our skin does for us. And it’s ok to not have a “woke up like this” instagram-perfect mark free face in the morning and still be a damn goddess. I sure as hell don’t.