Take a quick scroll through your socials right now and I guarantee you’ll see what I’m seeing—ultra-curated poreless selfies and Facetuned jawlines being quietly replaced by something much cooler: Honest, unretouched pics that put acne on display in all its unpredictable glory. I'm talking about content that's genuinely relatable; like, just-crawled-out-of-bed, still-wearing-zit-cream, this-is-what-skin-looks-like relatable. And it's powerful.
It’s true that skin positivity has been around for a minute, but in a time when most of us don’t have the energy to care about getting "perfect" filtered-beyond-recognition skin (we’ve sort of had other priorities, you know?), the movement is blowing TF up. Hashtags like #FreethePimple, #AcnePositivity, and #NormalizeAcne are stacked with hundreds of thousands of people (including celebs—hi, Bianca Gonzalez) who are embracing their skin for what it is, breakouts, scars, textures, and all.
Behind all these unfiltered photos and videos is a massive community that operates the skin positivity movement. Fellow influencers hype each other up in the comments section, swap stories and experiences with followers over DM, and even walk each other through the heavy emotions that come with having skin conditions. It's essentially a virtual support system.
Of course, that doesn’t mean everyone’s out here trying to pretend we all love our breakouts (but if you do, I very much bow down to you)—it's just about recognizing how common and, hello, how normal zits really are. It’s about this: Whether or not you’re trying to clear up your skin (you do you, as always), you should be able to feel confident and unjudged along the way.
As the skin pos world grows and the movement hopefully becomes the new standard in social media, I got to speak with seven of these game-changers at the heart of it all. Each of their faces, in all of their unedited ~magic~ below, are exactly what makes this movement so down-right refreshing. But don't just take my word for it—here's what the real skin movement means to them:
Meet the Skinfluencers
One of the biggest misconceptions about acne is that it’s our fault—there have been so many times when people have blamed me for my acne, telling me it’s my bad diet, my skincare, my makeup. Acne is extremely complex and very hard to clear. Everybody is different.
"The fact that we have acne and decide to live our lives without focusing on our skin doesn’t mean we’re 'promoting' acne. I want everyone to see us as normal people who’ve just decided not to let acne tear us down.
"I have moments when I just wish my skin looked perfect, but I channel that energy into talking about my journey online. The community really encourages each other to enjoy our lives and not let our skin lower our self-esteem."
"The word 'positive' can be a little misleading. Although those within the skin-positive movement try to show others that you can still go about your everyday life while dealing with acne, it isn’t always easy. It's messy, it's hard, it's emotional, but it's nothing to feel ashamed about."
"Being skin positive really just means having freedom in how you choose to represent yourself—not how society wants you to. I hope with the rise of our movement, we can learn to empower ourselves through our unique 'flaws."
"After spending so many years feeling alone and seeing your skin type represented only through before-and-after photographs in commercials, it's a pretty amazing thing to see yourself represented in your feed."
It's worth noting that as a society, we still have a loooong way to go when it comes to being inclusive in our representation of skin (dismantling the patriarchy takes time, people). Sure, there are some beauty brands who cast models with zits, scars, or “imperfect” texture, but seeing real skin in campaigns, unfortunately, isn’t the norm just yet. That’s why folks within the skin positivity movement find it so important to make space—even if it’s just on your Instagram or TikTok feed for right now.
But IMO, we’re only seeing the beginning of acne positivity. You ready for the real skin revolution?
This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.