Body, Mind, Soul

An Open Letter to Kate with Adult Acne

November 8
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Dear Kate,

I stumbled on your article, “Why I’m Rejecting Alicia Keys’ No Makeup Movement” on The Skinny the other day. I understand, and I am on your side. I can relate to the embarrassment, discomfort and even pain, of adult acne.

I had adult acne. Most people said they didn’t notice, but I always felt that was because of all my makeup and their pure kindness. So I understand where you’re coming from, and it breaks my heart.

It breaks my heart that you started your article by saying you’re “obsessed with your own face.”

It breaks my heart that you take photos to track your progress.

It breaks my heart that it interferes in your life in so many ways.

I agree that the media could do better by representing more faces with blemishes just like they can do better by representing more body types. The media sets an unrealistic expectation for our physical appearances and warps the idea of beauty.

I agree: that isn’t helped by Alicia Keys “No Makeup” looks that take hours of prep and hundreds of dollars in skin care. When you think your skin has to be perfect to go make-up free, wearing makeup is the easier path, and you shouldn’t be shamed for that.

It breaks my heart that so many women feel that their value lies in their beauty.

But mostly, it breaks my heart that you and so many other women are looking to others to make you feel adequate.

The truth is, you can’t depend on others to make you feel valuable. More “facial freedom” in the media will not make you feel more empowered or adequate. You have to find that inside yourself. More importantly, you have it in your identity as a Christian.

Before I found the root cause of my acne, I had to stop obsessing over my skin. I had to get on with my life, ultimately trusting that those who matter love ME and not my skin.

I think that alone was a key part to healing. Getting rid of acne can be a physical and emotional process. Another story for another post.

It was only when I stopped looking outside of myself for validation — boyfriends, friends, the media — that I truly felt empowered and adequate, painted face or not.

You asked where the role models with acne, eczema, and rosacea are. I wonder why you can’t be a role model with acne?

Why is it that we view Alicia Keys as a role model? It’s because of her quiet confidence. It’s not really because she’s a pop star. She happens to have a career that puts her in the public’s attention, but that doesn’t mean that we, as “mere mortals,” can’t be role models too. What if you were the woman that young girls saw as a role model because of your joy and confidence. Blemishes would be irrelevant.

The problems in the media may not ever be solved. Every time one complaint is addressed, another surfaces. We live in an imperfect, sinful world. The only relief can be found in Christ. Please Kate, stop looking to others to feel good about yourself. Find your value in you.

xx Margaret

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1 Comment

  • Reply ebforeman November 10 at 4:13 pm

    Thoughtful. Makes me wonder how often I obsess about how I look. Not acne but other physical imperfections as I get older. A good reminder that I may see my value in myself because that’s where Christ is reflected.

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