Acne without the stigma.

If you know me, you know I love movies. I especially love this time of year when all of the year’s best movies are recognized and the industry that rules the city I live in gets to showcase its most impressive talents. Each aspect of the movie-making process is honored, including the makeup department which is often overlooked as a vital part of the process unless the film includes impressive prosthetics. The film that really got me to notice their makeup departments artistic choices was Lady Bird.

  photo by  @kristine.lo

photo by @kristine.lo

If you haven’t seen it yet you may not know that the film showcases real-life breakouts. No high def makeup needed for this project at all. The decision made headlines which can be considered both a good and bad thing. It’s great because I hope that the young women who watch this film are able to recognize that a very natural part of their life (having break outs) is okay. If I would have seen another young woman in Hollywood with the breakouts I was having at 17, I may have felt slightly more confident to just enjoy that brief time in our lives known as adolescence. The bad part is why are we only starting to put the real face of women out on the silver screen when females decide? I can go on and on about that whole aspect of the conversation but today I want to focus on the real positive effect I’m hoping these leaves on the movie’s viewers. If you’ve seen the lead actress with said breakouts, Saoirse Ronan, in other films or follow her on social media it’s pretty easy to realize that she has naturally gorgeous skin. She also has the means to keep it that way. She admitted that the breakouts were from a previously stressful time in her life but didn’t see the need for her to hide her skin for two reasons.

Number 1 - She was playing a 17-year-old in the film and most 17-year-old girls break out.

And number 2 - She isn’t ashamed of her skin going through its natural process of self-healing. I may be projecting my own views to that second point but from my research, I’m sure she would be in alignment with my views also.

This is when my heart just about exploded over this film.

I’ve been a fan of the film writer and director, Greta Gerwig since her performance in Frances Ha and figured that I would be a fan of Saoirse's portrayal of the titular character. This decision to have skin portrayed in a real way isn’t the only reason why I loved the film. I really saw myself at that age in this film. I loved the painfully accurate portrayal of a young woman trying to find herself prior to her leaving for college. I experienced so much of this when choosing to take a different path at a young age. Not only is this movie about a 17-year-old girl finding herself in the early 2000’s but it’s one of the most honest, unfiltered portrayals of what it feels like to be in the mind, body, and heart of a teenage girl. 

I have to admit that I now look at skin much differently than most people. Because of my experience in this field, I can typically identify what the root cause might be from just by the look of the skin. For example, Kendall Jenner was highly criticised for showing up to the Golden Globes red carpet with a few breakouts on her cheek. When I saw the photos I could tell that she either just changed her birth control (if I had to guess more specifically I would say she is either just started or is going off of the NuvaRing or an IUD) or she is in the process of healing from a food that didn’t agree with her (perhaps she is doing an elimination of food she has developed a sensitivity too, like an excess of gluten). She also could have had a really poor reaction to a treatment that was meant to treat the skin and didn’t have enough time to calm the irritation prior to her event. All of these cases are quite common and don’t need to be followed up by shame. When I saw the photos, I found it refreshing to see a hugely successful female who is admired by millions of people for being a supermodel, have a very normal skin response and be unapologetic about it. Acne is normal everyone and since I see it all of the time, it's about time everyone else takes the stigma out of it and it becomes a normal part of our lives. Once we normalize it we might be able to make progress on how to positively treat it.

Having acne was one of the most traumatic experiences of my life but it made me who I am. I gained such a greater appreciation for how my body works for me and it's ability to communicate because of that experience. Every case of breakout has a backstory to it that is completely normal and okay. It doesn’t always root back to being “dirty” or “unhealthy”. It’s part of our transitions in life, just like any other growing pain. Some people are lucky enough to never experience their transitions physically showcased on their face or other body parts, but that doesn’t mean they are better in any way. Those individuals still have just as many traumatic adolescent experiences they have to go through as well. I’m truly hoping that the conversation started by Lady Bird helps us see that each of us deserve to feel comfortable and confident in our own skin regardless of where we are at in life. Your skin doesn't get to determine who you are so let your brightness shine through! 

Thank you for reading and until next time, take care. xo - Hayley