Carolyn: Beauty Standards Cannot Tell Us Who We Are.


When I got acne, people started asking me - “Why is your skin like that?” I was only 16 at the time, and I felt really angry and depressed because the people who were closest to me criticized my skin the most. They thought I wasn’t washing my face enough. My friends were giving me advice, but I was already doing everything that I could. I was washing my face religiously, cleaning my bed sheets every week, using harsh acne treatments, and nothing changed. My skin remained red, and it centered around my cheeks. My forehead was really red too. I had bangs to cover it, and I couldn’t leave my house without foundation. I was very self-conscious about how inflamed my skin was. I didn’t think I was pretty, and there was a time where I wanted to tear my skin off so my face would be gone. I was so ashamed of what my skin had become, and I deeply wanted my skin erased.


As time went on, I became very stressed, and on top of that, a loved one of mine became very ill. To keep from imploding, I really started getting into makeup. When I did makeup, I could tune out everything else, and it became therapeutic.


I didn’t have many people to trust back then so I kept these feelings inside and expressed myself through makeup. Even though I managed to find an outlet and a way to control my image, I still wanted to repair my acne. So, I decided to go on Accutane for six months. After I got the medication, my skin started clearing. Once this happened, I realized that the acne was due to hormonal changes. It was not my fault.


Afterward, I began to improve my mental health and confidence, and eventually, I started my Instagram page to off my show makeup looks. I often posted on Instagram and TikTok, and that was a lot of pressure to maintain, especially since I was either studying or working. So, now I focus more on self-development, hobbies, and work. Makeup used to be my only outlet, but now I have other ways to process and deal with my emotions.


Unfortunately, makeup is an emotional outlet that is easily tied to beauty trends. So, I want to focus more on discovering who I am apart from beauty standards. Global beauty standards change too quickly. With a new aesthetic emerging every few months, it’s very overwhelming, and it gives people a small chance of discovering who they truly are. To achieve many of these aesthetics, you have to use filters anyways. I don’t want to portray unrealistic standards, and I want people to accept their natural features. Makeup should be viewed as something that enhances our beauty, not as something that creates it.


However, learning to think this way is difficult. I used to be self-conscious and afraid of how people viewed me, and that was a dark period. That’s why I just post whatever I think is relevant now. I’m very glad that my Instagram has become a source of inspiration for people who have faced the same struggles as me. When people see my content and my face, I hope they feel assured that having textured, imperfect skin is perfectly normal. I don’t post makeup looks to show perfection, and I am not ashamed of my acne scars. I’m still pretty shy, but I’m a lot more outgoing, mellow, and willing to connect with people. Today, I’m focusing on my true capabilities, not just the ability to cover imperfections.