Like many of us, I fell victim to the rabbit hole of social media indulgence and came across a photo that felt more like a personal attack than pure entertainment: a pimple-laden back paired with the headline, “What If You Didn’t Take A Shower?” on Snapchat’s Discover page. I almost gave myself whiplash as I spun around to take a cold, disdainful look at my own acne and hyperpigmentation-splattered shoulders, back, and butt (yep, butt) in the mirror and thought, Am I dirty because of my bacne?
Many of you who are following the acne- and body-positivity movements that are taking over social media are screaming a defiant, “No!” to that question. So why haven’t we addressed it before? Lili Reinhart, Justin Bieber, and many more have established that not only showing but embracing pimples is the latest positive way to wave a middle finger to FaceTuned complexions. Although acne, as well as cellulite, pubic, and facial hair, have cracked the surface of mainstream culture, body acne has yet to join the chat.
Doing a quick scroll through the #acnepositivity and #freethepimple hashtags will show you photo after photo of pimple-speckled cheeks, foreheads, and chins, yet not many photos of shoulders, bacne, or even a blemish-tickled tush or pubic area. According to a study published in the Journal of American Academy of Dermatology in 2008, research shows that 60% of people with acne get it on areas other than the face.
“Of the people with facial acne about 60% in my practice also have body acne,” says Dennis Gross, board-certified dermatologist, dermatological surgeon, and founder of Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare. If it’s so common then why aren’t we dusting those areas in glitter and describing them with empowering phrases? According to Gross, it might be due to the anxiety many of his patients feel when they reveal what’s under their shirt and elsewhere to a medical professional, let alone to all of their social media followers.
”Acne on the face is something that everybody has,” he says. “But when you see it on the chest or on the back, they don’t want to wear open shirts, just turtlenecks. [Adolescence] is a time where self-esteem is really related to how the world sees you and how attractive you are to other people, how you fit in, and how you are not different. The degree of humiliation and loss of self-esteem is dramatic, and so body acne is a really traumatic thing, emotionally.”
We can assume that the emotional trauma Gross is referring to is a feeling many of us can relate to. Yet, like many other natural functions of the human body (pooping, periods), the conversation around normalizing body acne has barely started. Louisa Northcote, creator of the #freethepimple hashtag, thinks it’s about time.
“Body acne is a whole different conversation,” Northcote says. “It’s a conversation that needs more opening, like what I have done with acne by creating the hashtag. I personally have shown my body acne on social media, but it isn’t as bad as it was when I was a teenager.”
Acne is something Northcote has had a bumpy relationship with prior to creating the hashtag-turned-movement. She actually created #freethepimple because of her own tumultuous journey toward embracing her acne.
“No one in my life had acne so I couldn’t relate to anyone or talk to anyone who understood, and I saw no one in the media with skin like mine,” she says. “I was a model who lost my career because of my skin and I wondered why people wouldn’t just show their skin unedited.”
Source by www.teenvogue.com