How the "Acne Positivity" Movement Is Fighting the Stigma Around Breakouts

April 20, 2018
Margaret Fisher
By: Margaret Fisher | by L'Oréal
How the "Acne Positivity" Movement Is Fighting the Stigma Around Breakouts

For as long as we can remember, the conversation surrounding acne hasn’t been particularly positive. Talks about breakouts have focused on how to keep them under wraps, with many putting forward fresh faces that—at least on the outside—looked blemish-free. In reality, acne affects millions of Americans every year, so chances are you or someone you know has dealt with a pimple or two from time to time. While acne can make some people feel self-conscious or embarrassed, we at firmly believe that it doesn’t make you any less beautiful.

Of course, that can be hard to believe when your social media feed is filled with celebrities and influencers with flawless-looking skin. With filters and photo-editing apps so plentiful, it’s easier than ever to present your skin as perfect—all the time. That’s why the “acne positivity”—also known as “pro-acne”—movement couldn’t have come at a better time. These days, you’re suddenly much more likely to see those same celebrities and influencers showing off skin that’s marked with acne.

acne positivity


This surge in acne appreciation takes inspiration from a similar movement that’s gained traction over the last few years: the body positivity movement. Following in the footsteps of body positive bloggers, pro-acne influencers are showing, with the help of makeup-free selfies, that accepting your skin as is and not being afraid to put your flaws on display is an important narrative. No more refusing to be seen without makeup, no more editing pimples out of your pictures. And good news, it isn’t just social media stars who are in support of the movement. We spoke with board-certified dermatologist, and consultant, Dr. Dhaval Bhanusali who admits to being a fan.

It’s incredible seeing people embracing flaws instead of hiding them.

While you might expect that someone whose work is often centered around trying to clear and prevent acne for patients would not be in favor of a movement that views acne in a positive light, you’d be surprised to find out that Dr. Bhanusali is fully on-board. Dr. Bhanusali refers to self-acceptance as the greatest gift in life, saying, “It’s incredible seeing people embracing flaws instead of hiding them.”


Of course, the acne positivity movement does not completely negate the need to see a dermatologist for acne-related concerns. You’ll likely still want to learn how to manage your acne. The movement isn’t about accepting that you’ll have acne forever, but rather the idea is to not have acne be a major insecurity in your life, especially if you’re struggling to clear blemishes quickly. As Dr. Bhanusali explains, targeting your acne and seeing results can take time. “The goal is to create happy, healthy skin for the next 20 years,” he says. “We start with behavior modifications and then we look at carefully selected topicals. Spot treatments and quick fixes are temporary relief, but they don’t solve the underlying problems.  With a little patience, we can get you where you need to be.”

So, book an appointment with your dermatologist for help addressing stubborn acne (if you’d like!), but in the meantime, don’t be afraid to let your followers, friends, and peers know you have acne. You just might inspire them to do the same.

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