Ayesha is a skin-positive advocate who lives in Oman. She has accepted her acne as normal, and she shares with us her story.
“When my acne first started to come up, I was in Pakistan. I was there for my cousin’s wedding. I don’t know why, but people were pointing it out. They were like - “you need to have fair and clear skin.” It really affected me because, in Oman, people are nothing like that. I’m Pakistani, but I grew up in Oman, and everybody is very chill with it. People in Oman are really positive, and they don’t care about the color or texture of your skin.”
“I went to the wedding in Pakistan, and I wore very minimal makeup. People asked me - “what’s going on with you? You need to stop doing makeup and wash your face,” I was so amazed. I was just thinking - “What? How could they think that I don’t wash my face???” Even though my acne was hormonal, people were rude and bad to me. They all told me what I should and should not be doing, and that made me very uncomfortable. After that, I got to a point where I truly felt that I should not even go out. But then I was like - “no, I can’t let them do that to me.” In Pakistan, being skin positive takes courage.”
“I remember when my parents used to watch Pakistani news, they always had this advertisement for fair skin and skin skin-lightening creams. I used to ask my mom - “why would people want to change their complexion?” And she just told me - “that’s how it is.”
Because of these experiences, Ayesha explains how she often makes content to fight against the stigma placed on natural skin. “On TikTok, I made a video with my bare skin that went viral with 2 million views, but some people were really rude. Someone commented - “Imagine waking up to her in the morning...” At the time, I was creating makeup tutorials, but that made me feel as if I didn’t belong in the beauty community. It really scared me, and I started crying. I started feeling extremely bad. Because of people’s remarks, I even asked my boyfriend - “do you feel embarrassed about what people are saying?” And he said, “no, it’s completely alright.”
“I knew that I had to do something to build myself back up. I started writing my bad thoughts on paper, and I started watching influencers who were skin positive. I deeply related to them, and I began to think - “I am a positive person so why am I letting these people make me think negatively? That’s not who I am.” It took almost 3 months to get over the negativity. But, when I started posting my bare skin again, people starting sending me sweet messages and emailing me their journey which made me feel like I could take advantage of my platform and help people.”
“I’m more confident now. I used to just stay at home, be very reserved, and just be alone. But, I’
m not scared of people anymore.I even hope to one day I can have my own makeup brand that encourages people to be their authentic selves and promotes the use of untouched images. I just want to create a space where people can be real.”