Summer is here. But whilst for lots of people that means ice cream for dinner and working on your tan in your back garden, it can also be a pretty big source of stress if you struggle with skin confidence. Skin positivity is a relatively small movement on social media that sees a few people sporting acne and scars without shame, and so we wanted to share a bit of the skin confidence love with a list of things to think about before summer gets underway.
1) You are not alone
So, the most important thing to remember is that you are not on your own in struggling with your skin confidence. About 8 in 10 of us will have acne some time before we turn 30, millions of men and women around the world wear their stretch marks with pride, and scars are something we all end up with after that first time we fall over in the playground. Just because it isn’t always visible on social media or in magazines does not mean that you cannot start your journey towards loving it and embracing it!
2) Start small
Summer can be a big scary thing when you are dealing with skin issues. Being in the sun all day, oily sun cream, not being able to wear make-up (if that’s your thing) without it dribbling off your face, the prospect of burning already sensitive skin and of course everyone being very snap happy with their phones can all make it a pretty stressful time.
A good idea to help you deal with this prospect would be to start off your summer in a slightly smaller way. Try a no make-up trip to the shops. Put a bit of work in and research the best sensitive skin sun cream before the sun comes out, and then try to stay in the sun for short periods of time when the temperatures start to soar to give your skin a chance to get used to it. Before you know it, you’ll be facing down whole days on the beach without any hassle like Kendall Jenner rocking her spots on the red carpet!
3) Turn down the stress
Whilst there are many reasons why your skin might be misbehaving, stress can be a huge contributor to an acne flare up, but also to pumping up the anxiety around your skin in general. This can then make the idea of getting on your shorts and grabbing the sun cream seem like a distant and impossible future. Try to factor in some stress relieving activities every day so that you can keep your stress levels to a minimum such as a bit of meditation before bed, or some morning yoga. Check out our complete guide to stress here for more ideas.
4) Bin the old ‘remedies’
One thing that is certain to give your confidence a knock when you’re packing for your holiday or getting ready to head out for an afternoon in the sun with your pals, is the ghost of old and unsuccessful skin ‘remedies’ peering at you from the bathroom shelf. If you have been testing lots of different things that haven’t worked, it’s a good idea to get rid of that reminder that you haven’t found a solution just yet and instead focus on how your skin is doing right in the moment. Worried about being wasteful? If it’s face washes and creams that are not medicated, give them to your sibling or a pal instead.
5) Explain to others about your journey
A lot of people struggle with skin issues because everyone else around you suddenly becomes a fully qualified dermatologist capable of handing out advice about how you can cure your acne or get rid of scars. Whilst it is pretty well meaning, it usually means you might end up getting confused about what to do, and feel even more pressure to get it right. Try speaking to those in your life who might be prone to doing this and explain that this is your journey, and you can choose what you do, if anything, to clear your acne or try to heal scars. Let them know that getting advice all the time is not actually very helpful, but mention that you are grateful for their effort to help you out.
6) Follow what makes you happy
Skin problems don’t usually get a lot of exposure on the internet, in magazines, in films or on the tv. If you’re scrolling through Insta and all you are coming across is the smooth unblemished skin of a model who has never had a spot, scar or stretch mark ever, it can make you feel pretty down about yourself. If you try unfollowing all the accounts that make you feel a bit rubbish and replace them with some wonderful skin positive IG people (see number 5), you might find you start feeling a lot more positive.
7) Check out these skin positive accounts
There are loads of fabulous campaigners out there who are definitely going to help you feel great before throwing on your shades and heading out the door this summer. For example, Kali Kushner a.k.a @myfacestory serves up skin positive vibes, home remedies all whilst telling her journey from living with severe cystic acne to having clear skin today. Another fabulous person to take a look at is @mypaleskinblog, founded by Em Ford and one of the leading voices in skin positivity. What started as something to document her struggles with severe acne now works with people with burns, stretch marks, acne and pigmentation problems to feel empowered. Basically, they are awesome!
If you are struggling with self-esteem or anxiety, or any other issue that is bothering you, you can reach out to the Ditch the Label Community here.