Ibrahim: My Journey with Skin Positivity

Skin positivity is about realizing how our bodies have brought us to where we are today. Skin positivity means looking in the mirror and feeling grateful for who you are and appreciating the journeys you’ve had.

For example, when I was 16, my acne started to flare. My acne came back as an adult, and I went to doctors, but they said there was nothing I could do about my scars unless I did laser surgeries. Therefore, beauty standards have never been a positive thing for me. Back then, I was really self-conscious about my skin, and I’m still doing a lot of healing.

Furthermore, in Brazil, men with flawless skin who work out all the time and diet are the ones considered good-looking, especially in the gay community. If your appearance doesn’t fall into a certain mold, a lot of people have issues with that. The community is not very inclusive of different body types. Even many gay, Brazilian men have strict expectations for each other, and that has made an impact on how I see myself. During the pandemic, I couldn’t go to the gym and work out to meet those standards, and that was really difficult for me. Because there’s a lot of pressure in Brazil to have a muscular body and to present masculinity, not being able to work out made me very anxious.

However, through battling with these standards and healing from them, I have found more value in who I am as a human being than in my appearance. Regardless of what my body looks like, I am grateful for who I am and what my body has gotten me through in life. I think that realizing my body’s endurance is realizing its beauty.

Our bodies sustain life, and that is beautiful. If you want to go to the gym or go on a diet for appearances, it has to be for yourself. If I do these things, I don’t do it to show other people. Being kind to your body rather than pressuring it to please others is showing love and respect for your body. That’s one of the reasons I love skincare. With skincare, nobody knows what type of skincare or sunscreen that I put on my body. So, I feel like that’s a way to show love and respect for my body. Another way to show self-love is by accepting how you feel. Some days, I don’t feel great, but I try to recognize what I’m feeling rather than reject it. When I reject an emotion, I know that I’m just burying it. Even if I feel great one day, I know that feeling will come back soon. Acknowledging how you feel is important to overcoming things. Talking out your feelings with someone you trust is a great way to support yourself.

Expressing yourself isn’t going to break you down. Our bodies were made to work. Our bodies are our little bubbles of life, and we can’t take that for granted. I show gratitude for life by grounding myself in what I feel and by doing things I enjoy. Gratitude for life has led me to good things. For instance, I like to travel. I went to Orlando 2 years ago, and I even got married there at Universal Theme Park. There’s not a single day that I don’t think about going back there! Despite the challenges I’ve faced, appreciating life has allowed me to have wonderful memories, and these moments have helped me learn to love myself.