#InMySkin: Skin Positivity Influencer Sophie Gray Talks About Her Mission to Normalize Acne
When most people think about acne, they often associate it with the challenges that come with being a teenager going through puberty. For Sophie Gray, however, she didn’t experience her first blemishes until after getting off of birth control in her late teens. To this day, Gray experiences frequent breakouts, but she’s made it her mission to help others accept their acne and skin issues. She does this through her guided journaling app, DiveThru, her health and wellness podcast called SophieThinksThoughts and her Instagram account, where she has nearly 300,000 followers who love her for her super transparent and inspirational content. Read on for an in-depth interview on how she got to be where she is today, including a motivational message for anyone struggling with acne.
Tell us about yourself and your skin.
Hello! My name is Sophie Gray. I’m the founder of DiveThru, a guided journaling app, and the host of the SophieThinksThoughts podcast. But that’s what I do during the day. Who am I aside from that? Well, I’m someone who loves my dogs (and husband, but dogs come first), Brooklyn Nine Nine and chai lattes. I’m the proudest auntie to two nieces and one nephew. At the center of everything I do, personally and professionally, sits a deep desire to normalize the mental health experiences we all go through.
Now, my skin? Man, it has been a journey. Growing up and throughout my teens, I had the best skin. After a short-lived stint with birth control and many complications, I came off of it and my skin was never the same again. Since my late teens, my breakouts have been like clockwork. I breakout while ovulating and during my period. So my skin is broken out for two weeks a month. I have two weeks (never consecutively) of clear skin a month. Although I have frequent breakouts, I only occasionally experience cystic acne. Then, my breakouts clear up within a few days. In addition to breakouts, I have combination skin. Although my skin journey has been an emotional rollercoaster, I also recognize my own privilege throughout the experience. The breakouts I experience are still socially acceptable and haven’t negatively affected anything other than my self-confidence.
How has your relationship with your skin changed since the start of your skin-care journey?
When I initially started experiencing breakouts, I was devastated. I realized how closely my self-worth was attached to my complexion. I tried it all. I spent hundreds, if not thousands, to ‘fix’ my skin. I’d say the biggest difference about where I am now compared to where I was initially is that I no longer view my breakouts as me being broken or even needing fixing. Society needs to be fixed. Acne is normal. And while you can positively pursue methods to clear your skin, it’s a natural human condition and I will not be ashamed of that.
What is DiveThru and what inspired you to start it?
DiveThru is a guided journaling app. We work with mental health professionals to create guided journaling exercises to help our users take charge of their mental wellbeing. Within the app, you’ll find over 1,000 journaling exercises that can help you DiveThru whatever you’re going through.
I started DiveThru from my personal need for it. I experienced a panic attack at 35,000 feet that completely rocked my world and resulted in a 38-hour drive across the country. From that experience, I stepped away from my existing business and completely shifted my personal brand. As I looked to improve my mental wellbeing, I turned to journaling. It completely changed my life, and I wanted to share that with the world.
What's your podcast about?
Through my podcast, SophieThinksThoughts, I talk about thoughts we all have and experiences we all face — whether it’s feeling like you’re not enough, having a voice tell you you’re not good enough or finding balance within your life.
What is your daily skin-care routine?
If there’s something I’m terrible at staying consistent with, it’s my skin-care routine. When I’m staying true to it, I use a milky cleanser to remove my makeup in the evening, followed by a retinol cream. Then, in the morning, I cleanse my face again before applying a daytime moisturizer. I’m all about a natural look, so I wear a low-coverage foundation with concealer and blush and that’s it.
What’s next for you in this skin-positivity journey?
When I started on my journey, I took a break from skin-care products. I wanted to arrive at a place where I felt okay with my breakouts. Since arriving there, I wanted to slowly introduce skin-care products back into my routine but from an empowering place. Next, I plan on investigating further into why I’m experiencing hormonal breakouts and look to give my body what it needs to be in balance.
What do you want to tell people who struggle with their acne?
For those who are struggling with their skin, here’s what I want you to know:
Your worth is not determined by your skin.
You’re so much more than your physical appearance.
You are not broken or less than for experiencing breakouts.
Be gentle with yourself (and your face).
Take a break from trying all of the different skin-care products.
What does beauty mean to you?
To me, beauty is standing strong in yourself. It’s beautiful to know yourself and believe in that person. When I was able to connect with who I truly was (via journaling), I never felt more beautiful. The best part? It doesn’t cost a damn thing.
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