Visible acne is in the spotlight, and it’s the best news!

December 20, 2018

A young woman holds a magnifying glass to her acne-filled face.

Don’t hide your acne, embrace it. Something so common shouldn’t hold stigma. Image by:

Acne is common. Like really, really common. So common that 90% of people between the ages of 11 and 30 have or have had acne in their life, according to the Acne and Rosacea Society of Canada. And yet, many people who have struggled with this agree that it can lead to a great amount of physical and emotional scarring. But this shared experience has helped create a great online community of people who support one another, and who are crying out, “Why don’t we see ourselves represented in the media?”

The time is finally here. Actually, it’s been here for a while, on platforms like Instagram, with hashtags like #skinpositivity and #acnecommunity trending, but it seems Hollywood is finally catching up.

When Greta Gerwig’s Ladybird came out in late 2017, teen girls everywhere were in a joyous uproar. Finally, a teen who looks like a real teen! A lead character who has bumps and pimples, and doesn’t try to hide them or cover them up with makeup. And the movie star, Saoirse Ronan, who plays the titular role, remarked, “I just felt like it was a great opportunity to show someone as they really are at that age. Because most young people do get bad skin! And I don’t think that’s something you get to see much.” (

And then came Bo Burnham’s Eighth Grade, starring Elsie Fischer, about a girl in her final two weeks of middle school. She’s an awkward teen who makes YouTube videos about having self confidence and making friends, and then spends the movie trying to live up to her own advice. And, like a lot of kids her age, she has acne.

But the best thing about these two characters is that their acne isn’t a driving force in the plot. It’s not the primary aspect of their personality. It isn’t something they have to overcome. And it’s rarely even pointed out by other characters. It’s just a thing that they have because of their age.

So why is this the best news? Because it’s started a wave. A wave across all media platforms to brave the world by putting your best face forward. Your best face being exactly the face that you have. To show your belimshes proudly — which can still be done by wearing makeup — as evidenced by Kendall Jenner at the 2018 Golden Globes. She showed up with a full face of makeup, but applied lightly enough that you could see acne scars and breakouts. And when people came at her via Twitter, she shut them down by proclaiming loudly, “Never let that…stop you!”

Because this movement is all about being comfortable in your own skin. You may have breakouts, but so do a lot of other people out there! Celebrate it, create a community around it, and demand to see yourself represented in the world! Go bare-faced, go fully made up, but go out proudly!

This article was written by Olivia Latta

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