Body neutrality should be taught to kids as early as now to avoid self-image issues as they grow up. But is our figure the only thing that we should be confident about? Are people’s worries focused entirely on weight? Well, not exactly. There’s one more thing that deserves more love: our skin.
There are different types of skin conditions, like acne, rosacea, eczema, and psoriasis. This can be an issue for both men and women, as it could impact their self-esteem and confidence. Of course, one reason for this is the increasing pressure from social media to have “glass skin,” because not having flawless skin would make people feel embarrassed. There are also some beauty lines out there promoting whitening and anti-aging products. These products hinder skin neutrality—a thriving movement that takes inspiration from body neutrality. It has the same goals as body neutrality, but in this case, it encourages you to be at peace with your complexion.
Skin neutrality is different from skin positivity because it’s more liberating. It helps you accept your skin the way it is, as opposed to skin positivity which leans more toward consumerism since some brands are aiming for acnes to look cool or effortless. In that way, people become more driven to buy products that will supposedly make them feel okay about their blemishes. For instance, skincare brand Squish sells flower-shaped pimple patches, which, in their ads, were worn by acne-prone models. As stated in Fashionista, this marketing technique just shows that “all it would take to embody the idealized state of one of their models… would be the purchase of their products.” In the case of Squish, you’re considered “cool” because you have a flower pimple patch on your face. That having breakouts are supposed to be fun. It’s pretty ironic, actually, because if you think comedones should be celebrated, why put in so much effort to hide them?
That’s where skin neutrality comes in. It’s a great concept considering how it’s hard to become positive about our skin conditions. It allows you to let your skin just be. “The ultimate goal is that we see all types of appearance represented everywhere, and not just as a token gesture to make a brand look inclusive,” said Lex Gillies, the skin neutral pioneer. It’s not about making positive statements like “all skin is beautiful,” or creating products that put your skin first. It’s about being comfortable with the fact that your skin is simply just a layer that you shouldn’t worry about. That your skin might go through problems too, like the skin conditions I’ve mentioned earlier, but those shouldn’t define you. And, also, that you’re the only one who can decide what you do to your skin—whether you’re just going to leave it as is or have a facial, it’s all up to you.
But don’t get me wrong: it’s also okay to not be okay with your skin. People shouldn’t feel pressured to love the skin that they’re in. Even Gillies knows this: “I see skin neutrality as a noble and admirable concept, but I’m not sure that I will ever reach that point myself.” There is still a long way to go before we can get to this point, and up to this day, there’s still some uncertainty about whether or not skin neutrality can have a positive effect on people. The movement only just started, so the least we could do right now is to embrace the idea of body neutrality while we wait for skin neutrality to catch up.
Art by Tricia Guevara
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