I want to talk about the concept of picture-perfect skin.
Recently I’ve been entranced with scrolling through the Instagram pages of some of the most perfect and physically beautiful girls out there.
Lately I’ve been wanting more and more to open up and share myself (and my face) with the world, but that comes with an emotional burden. It feels like reaching for what might be an impossible goal – I don’t have perfect skin and never will. I’ve been looking at my life and trying to figure out where the kind of physical perfection we’ve come to expect online fits into my idea of happiness.
We as a society have a mindset where no-makeup flawlessness and glowing skin is equated to wealth, health and happiness. I believe this isn’t attainable or sustainable.
I’m know I’m part of the problem; I’m always glorifying Pinterest girls with great skin as ‘skinspiration’. While I’m aware these photos are just one two-dimensional aspect of their life, it’s still so hard to objectively look at someone else’s best moments and not generalise that perception more broadly. We picture them as happier, more successful and luckier than us, and believe that if only we could reach their level of perfection we would be that happy too.
We need to start thinking realistically.
Unless you take a step back, it’s easy to forget that these people are normal. There isn’t a single thing different or special about them as compared to you or me. For many their job is to take beautiful photos and look as fantastic as possible because that’s what gets engagement, reach and interest. It’s natural to only put the very best of yourself out there. It’s a job. And it’s not possible without a lot of editing of both photographs and life.
We only see one side of the story. Their lives aren’t perfect. Being rich doesn’t earn you good skin. Being famous doesn’t earn you happiness. Being ‘photo-ready’ is a lie. Even these people don’t live their lives able to take a flawless shot at any second, so don’t expect yourself to either.
Stop reaching for ‘Skin Goals’ and instead aim for imperfection.
It’s way more normal to be imperfect than to be one of the few who won the genetic skin lottery. Real people – Instagram models included – are all imperfect in many ways, and that’s what you should strive to be also.
If you’re feeling the pressure of perfection, here’s my tips on how to stay grounded amongst all the alluring influencers out there:
- It’s fine to find one thing you don’t like about your skin on a given day. Aim to have a blemish or two. Puffy eyes, a sallow complexion, red marks. They’re evidence of the wonderful life you live and how lucky you are to be living and breathing on this planet. Notice them, accept them. These are the things that are so often hidden in a photograph.
- Even a small improvement is amazing progress to be proud of. Don’t get caught up in what you haven’t yet achieved and forget to celebrate how far you’ve come and owning your current skin.
- Be appreciative of your skin’s good qualities. I, for example, while I have moderately severe acne, have never struggled with a lack of volume or sagginess. Look at your skin and think about what is wonderful about it!
- Anyone who thinks badly of you because of your skin struggles isn’t worth giving a damn about. Ignore them.
- You can’t compare yourself to others’ photos. They’re airbrushed, well lit, one single shot of a moment in time. Not real. Your overhead bathroom lighting viewed 5 inches from a dirty mirror can never come close to someone’s very best shot in a photoshoot. Step back, breathe, and move on.
- Remember that your skin doesn’t exist to look good. It’s there to protect the inside of your body. Celebrate it and learn to love the skin you’re in – it’s doing a good job.
So by all means, enjoy the beautiful art posted by influencers and makeup artists online – but keep your skin goals a healthy distance from your reality.
I wish that we would all start to embrace the imperfections and unique qualities and incorporate them into what we share in our online presence. It’s crazy that something so human as having real, lived-in skin is blurred out of the memories we make and the moments we share.
I hope you gathered something from this post and that I helped you in some way in dealing with your skin insecurities. When I one day start to intertwine my real life and this blog, I hope to keep a realistic head on my shoulders.