Initially, I started my page, Skin Love in order to show my skin journey because I had very bad acne for 3 or 4 years. I would always show my friends pictures, and they said - “why don’t you make a page where you do the same thing?” This idea sounded great especially since I didn’t see anyone who looked like me going through acne. A lot of my friends and family had flawless, melanin popping skin, and meanwhile, I had horrible breakouts, and I didn’t even know why. That experience was very hard, so I started Skin Love to help others, to show my journey, and to show how I transformed my skin.
It all started when I moved back to California in 2012. I was 18 when my skin started changing, and it just progressively got worse every month. I was so confused. I would literally wake up, and there would be la new pimple or a new breakout. Suddenly, people were asking me:
“Do you wash your face?”
“Do you drink water?”
I was just like - “...yeah, I’m doing all of that stuff...”
I thought I was fine, but in reality, I had separated myself from how depressed I was. When I look at old pictures or when I read the tone of voice in my old journals, I can see that I was not okay. Only now, has it become clear how sad I was. I remember - I wouldn’t leave the house without makeup, and I would spend literally hundreds of dollars on makeup. I kid you not - I was at Sephora maybe once a month. I always desired a heavier foundation. I wouldn’t go to the grocery store without makeup. When I went to the grocery store, I would put on makeup, powder, and I would contour. I would make sure my base and my neck were covered, but when I looked in the mirror, I could still see the texture. I would have so much makeup on that it would be on people’s shirts, but all the while, I felt like I didn’t have a choice. I was scared for people to see what my skin truly looked like, but I tried not to think about it.
But when I got through it all, I was able to reflect. Now, I’m like - “Oh… that messed me up...” As I mentioned before, another thing that was hard for me was not seeing any black women with skin issues. That lack of exposure made me feel insecure, closed off, and like I had to have makeup when I really didn’t even need it. But when you don’t see anyone who looks like you, it’s hard to embrace yourself. There was no one that I could talk to or ask questions. None of my black friends had acne, and I’d be like - “what’s wrong with me?” Why don’t I have that melanin, glass skin? I’m supposed to have that.
During 7th grade, I lived in Nassau, a predominantly black place within the Bahamas, for two years. My hair was extremely curly, my eyebrows were thick, and I was hopeful because I would be around girls who looked like me. But when I went to school, the girls were like - you need to perm your hair, you need to do your eyebrows. I was 13 and facing other black girls who said - “Your appearance is too much.” I would always ask myself - “What do they mean my hair is too thick...??? I have black hair like them.”
Finally, it was time for High School, and I moved to Miami. High school was when I first started straightening my hair. Weaves and clip-ins were the standards because white women had really long blonde and bone-straight hair. I bought a flat iron from Walgreens to achieve this look. For a time, I was happy because I looked like the girls on TV. But one day, after I washed my hair, I noticed that it didn’t curl back even after drying.
I realized that I had destroyed my hair.
Why was I trying to fit into this standard of beauty? Gradually, I realized how unnecessary this was.
Upon turning 24 years old, I noticed that my skin was clearing up. I had finally discovered what my skin liked and what it did not, but I went through a lot of trial and error.
I’m 26 now, and I have embraced my hair and my natural body type. I am my own standard, and my reflection is normal to me now. That was a long journey because up until I was in 5th grade, I grew up in Sherman Oaks, California which wasn’t diverse at all. Many of the girls there were thinly shaped, and I always thought I was big, but in reality, I’m just curvy.
Despite this, I’ve progressed towards self-confidence. Right before I started Skin Love, I affirmed within myself that I can’t change how I was made. I was like - “What are you doing? Why are you so critical of yourself?” I was tired. I was tired of wearing makeup every day and just feeling low and depressed. I was tired of waking up and having to do this and do that just to function normally. I just wanted to wake up and go start my day.
I decided that I was going to be me. That confidence didn’t come overnight though. I was always a shy and non-confrontational girl who was often singled out, but I don’t know what happened. I just snapped. I decided one day that nobody else is going to talk to me disrespectfully or make me feel the way I felt for so long. And so, I try to instill that same attitude in others on my page. Right now, I’m on a journey towards discovering unconditional love’s meaning, and I’m working on how to give that to myself. Ultimately, this journey has given me strength and has made me the person I am today.