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Acne positivity: reduce stress and breakouts at the same time

Changing your perspective on “bad” skin changes everything

Curology Team Avatar
by Curology Team
Updated on Jul 6, 2023 • 5 min read
Man holding curology bottle with blue towel on his neck
Curology Team Avatar
by Curology Team
Updated on Jul 6, 2023 • 5 min read
We’re here to share what we know — but don’t take it as medical advice. Talk to your medical provider if you have questions.

As if dealing with pimples wasn’t hard enough, the mental and emotional challenges of having acne can be seriously tough. The good news? It doesn’t have to be that way. A new trend in body positivity has been making waves in the media and social media, called acne positivity or skin positivity.

Women with her arms wrapping around her body (Photo by @sophieharristaylor)

Photo by @sophieharristaylor cc:


| “I wanted to create a series of work that empowers and allows women to love the skin they’re in, regardless of what condition they have.”

An amazing, inspiring community has grown around this idea, including within the Curology community on Instagram and beyond! We think this is awesome because 1) you and your skin are unique, and we love that about you! 2) changing your attitude is a great way to reduce stress — which can actually help reduce acne! Shifting to a more positive perspective on acne isn’t just good for the soul — it’s good for your skin, too.

The acne positivity movement

Acne positivity is about losing the shame and deciding to love your skin, no matter what condition it’s in. It’s also about banishing words like “imperfection” from the way we think/talk about ourselves. Above all, it’s about changing our perspective about ourselves to be more positive and inclusive, because there’s no such thing as “perfect” skin.

It all began with real people getting candid on Instagram and YouTube as an act of defiance against the perfection-obsessed imagery they were seeing everywhere. In 2015, Em Ford of @mypalefaceblog shared a game-changing video in which she revealed the cruel, rude comments she’d received after posting pictures of her skin without makeup on. Later, Kali of @myfacestory started sharing makeup-free selfies and writing posts about her journey. By making their vulnerable moments public and truly owning who they are, these positivity pioneers showed their true strength and helped countless other people, too.

Two people hugging wearing purple and white clothes

With so many real people feeling unrepresented by brands, advertisers, and even beauty bloggers literally erasing the natural look of skin, these messages of self-love took social media by storm. Before long, even celebrities such as Lorde, Kylie Jenner, and Justin Bieber jumped on the trend, sharing selfies and stories of their own skin issues (as Bieber famously said when he posted a selfie with visible acne on his Instagram Stories, “pimples are in”). All of this has changed the conversation on beauty in a huge way, and it all started with just a few individuals who chose to think positive about their skin and shared that empowerment with their communities.

How to do skin positivity your way

There are plenty of ways to express acne positivity, from boldly baring your skin makeup-free to literally decorating your pimples (like in this Teen Vogue story on “Acne Appreciation”). But you don’t have to go bold — just start by thinking positive! You can cover up your pimples with makeup and still have a positive attitude about your skin; you deserve to feel comfortable in your skin no matter what that means for you.

Woman holding hair and winking teen acne

The key to acne positivity is simply to embrace your (sk)individuality. For example, we here at Curology like to think of so-called “imperfections” as your skin’s “unique quirks.” Changing the narrative you tell yourself about your skin, and adjusting the tone of your inner self-talk from negative to positive, is an important place to start.

Here’s one exercise we’ve tried within the Curology community to get us all thinking more positively about our skin: Write a thank-you letter to yourself. What are you grateful for about your skin, your body, and everything you do for yourself?

@mzshannon, Curology member:

“I’d tell myself, thank you for being easy on yourself, being patient, and trusting your body. It doesn’t always act or react the way you want, but you don’t give up and continue to treat it as a temple. Caring for yourself in the right ways will always pay off and though the road isn’t perfect, you’ll love and learn and you’ll reap what you sow. Your body will almost always pay you back tenfold for taking care of it. Even if there are road blocks, it’s the only body you get it, it’s the only life you get, and it can always be worse. You play the cards you are dealt and live. You live your own way, whatever works, whatever keeps you healthy and free. Thank you for listening. –me 💕”

@halliebing, Curology member:

“Hallie, thank you for finally falling in love with exactly who you are. Thank you for not giving up when just looking in the mirror was overwhelmingly difficult for YEARS. Thank you for pushing past insecurity, outward appearance, mountains of anxiety, and so much more to become confident in the badass warrior you are today. I’m so proud of you I could just cry! Keep challenging yourself to grow, learn, and above all, help others. Never let your skin keep you down EVER. AGAIN. I love you SO MUCH! xo”

Show your skin some love

Big or small, it’s all significant — because it’s all for you, and you deserve love 100% of the time, even when you’ve got zits or other unwelcome guests popping in on your skin. Starting your own skin positivity practice just starts with showing yourself some well-deserved love and gratitude. Even if your skin doesn’t always cooperate the way you’d like it to, it does a lot for you everyday: it protects you, and it reflects your inner wellness. Just like you, when your skin has its ups and downs, all it needs is a little love and care. It’s amazing what a simple shift in perspective can do!

Selfie of woman smiling at camera with "faith" sign in the background (@meghaneblacker , Curology Member)

“But here’s the thing. All my skin really needs is nurturing, love & understanding that healing✨ takes time. Just like anything else in my life. The good news is I’m finally at a routine that seems to work & helps heal, I have a much better understanding of my body & it’s needs after much research & trials. So let’s keep riding the SELF LOVE train together ❤️❤️❤️” — @meghaneblacker , Curology Member

Curology is for you!

We’re not just here to treat your skin, we’re here for you — whatever your (sk)individual situation. We want you to feel invincible in your skin, no matter what condition it’s in. Because your skin is as unique as you are, and we love that about you!

That’s why we believe in treating your skin gently and kindly, not punishing it for breaking out. Our custom skincare superbottle is made to work with your skin, not against it. Sign up for a free trial today to get yourself a custom mix of active ingredients designed just for you.

Custom superbottle for breakouts | Free Trial button

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Curology Team

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