InMySkin: How Skin-Care Influencer Em Ford Is Changing the Way We Talk About Acne
Four years ago, Em Ford made a YouTube video called “You Look Disgusting” to highlight the unrealistic beauty expectations set by social media and the very real stigmatization that surrounds facial acne. In that video, Ford is seen crying as she takes off her makeup to reveal her acne-marked face while a series of hurtful comments made by her followers float around the screen. That video now has over 31 million views and inspired this skin-positivity influencer to continue the conversation. She now frequently posts pictures of herself embracing her bare face in hopes to empower other real women on all of her social media accounts. Her newest video called “Redefine Pretty” is another attempt to spread the message that you are beautiful, no matter what. Inspired, we asked Ford to tell us more about her skin-care journey and path to redefine beauty.
Tell us about yourself and your skin.
I developed adult acne in March 2015. I use my social media platform MyPaleSkin to help empower and give those with acne a safe space and community to live their lives without the fear of being judged for their appearance. I love encouraging people to have a greater love for themselves, from their skin to every inch of their body.
Can you tell us about Redefine Pretty?
Redefine Pretty is about real women sharing their real-life stories. It's about conveying a powerful message to the beauty industry to stop putting unrealistic pressure on young women, which sparked a positive conversation about the definition of beauty.
What inspired you to make the Redefine Pretty video?
The inspiration behind the campaign was to discover whether the standards set by social media are responsible for how we feel about ourselves. It digs deep by looking into our relationship with our appearance and challenging what society defines as “pretty.” We’re so used to scrolling through social media and seeing unrealistic beauty standards set by brands that it makes it impossible for us not to compare ourselves and put ourselves down.
What is your daily skin-care routine?
I try to keep my everyday skin-care routine as simple as possible. I cleanse with the Olay Daily Facial Wipes and then apply the Luminating Whip Moisturizer to hydrate. I remove my makeup in the evening with Neutrogena's Spot Purifying Toner and then finish with a night cream. I'm currently using Ole Henriksen Goodnight Glow Sleeping Creme.
How has your relationship with your skin changed since the start of your skin-care journey?
Of course it's easier to feel confident on those good days when you haven't had a breakout or flare-up, but I've come to realize that I'm more than my skin on both a good and bad day. Through my journey, I can now leave the house with no makeup and I feel great about myself. The most important piece of advice I've learned and can give to others is that your skin does not define who you are as a person.
What’s next for you in this skin-positivity journey?
I want social media to be a platform that empowers and allows people to live their lives without the fear of being judged for their appearance, and I won't stop until I achieve just that. I have a community that relies on me to spread individuality and positivity, that is finally starting to feel better-represented — and it's only the beginning.
What do you want to tell people who struggle with their acne?
Acne is normal. So many people have it and it doesn't mean you are any less beautiful. No matter at what age or moment in your life it appears, acne is one of the most common and natural skin conditions. It can feel like the worst thing in the world, but you'll find your way to own it.
What does beauty mean to you?
Beauty is all about how you feel and not about the way that you look. No matter how you feel or how upset you may be about the way you look, believe in yourself. Never let you or anyone put you down.
InMySkin: Skin-Care Influencer Cormac Finnegan Shares His Story
Birthmarks, Moles, Freckles and More: What's the Difference?
How Often Should You Get a Facial?