Summer can be a pretty tough time if you are dealing acne, scars and other skin problems, and it can be pretty easy to let it take over your life. Well, at Ditch the Label, we don’t want anyone to miss out on the fun because they are feeling anxious. That’s why we caught up Kali Kushner, a.k.a. @myfacestory, about her skin journey and how to improve your skin confidence.
Why did you start @myfacestory?
I started @myfacestory at a time that I felt very alone with my skin. I remember constantly looking around in my college courses for others with the same condition, and being the only one with cystic acne. I started my Instagram account to both track my progress on Accutane and hopefully connect with others who struggled with their skin as well.
You seem to really embrace your skin struggles – what was the turning point for you with feeling good about it?
The turning point with skin acceptance for me came down to control and happiness. I realized that I couldn’t always control my breakouts, and in constantly failing at doing so it made me very unhappy. In letting go of control over my breakouts, I began accepting my skin. I may not ever have completely perfect skin, some scars, a pimple here and there, hyperpigmentation, but I am very happy with my journey and how far I’ve come! Realizing that being acne prone means that yes, I can work on improving my skin, but the goal should never be perfection. For me, it’s much easier to love and accept myself than constantly trying to change myself.
Did you find you ever got much negative feedback on your Instagram? How have you overcome or dealt with it?
When I first started my Instagram, I received a lot of negative feedback mostly from people who were ignorant on the subject of acne or those who have learned cultural stereotypes associated with blemished skin (drink water, wash your face, etc.) Over time, through the acne community we have been able to open the conversation up about skin, so there is much less shame, people are becoming educated on the subject, and there aren’t as many stereotypes. I do think that I have gotten less negative feedback over the years by opening up the conversation around acne. When I first started my account, I sometimes let negative comments effect my mood but now I don’t really give them a second thought.
What do you think of the skin positivity movement?
I think the skin positivity movement is much needed. If you think about it, skin issues are rarely portrayed in the media. In movies, TV shows, magazines, and especially beauty media; you never see acne, scars, or hyperpigmentation anywhere. It’s practically been erased from history and is culturally taught to be something to be ashamed about when in fact its normal, it happens! People need to know not to be ashamed of their skin and that it is OK to have acne, it doesn’t make them any less of a human.
My account is to share my own journey, provide product recommendations I feel that have helped me, and provide some inspirational insight when needed. I am not a dermatologist or estheticianso I do not feel qualified to help others with their skin in that sense but am happy to help people change their mindset when it comes to how they view themselves or their skin!
What advice could you give to a young person struggling with their skin?
It gets better and it doesn’t last forever. This is what I used to tell myself and it is so true! Eventually, acne will (and physically has to) go away. It’s funny when you’re in the moment you think things are so definite, but now not even 5 years later I can barely remember what it was like having cystic acne so severe. I always ask myself; will this matter in 5, 10, 15 years?
Also, that acne doesn’t define you! You are still the same beautiful, wonderful person regardless of what your skin looks like. You are worthy of all things good and can accomplish anything, don’t let your skin hold you back!
Do you have any tips for someone who might struggle with embracing their skin for the summer?
If you’re struggling with embracing your skin this summer know that you’re not alone! It has taken me a long time to get comfortable going out barefaced. First, I started with a quick trip outside, then to the grocery, and now I’m able to spend a full day at the pool or beach without giving my skin a second thought. It starts with baby steps and slowly getting comfortable seeing yourself without makeup on. Of course, makeup can be used as a creative tool to express yourself, but if you’re using it because you feel insecure you should be asking yourself “why?” and see what steps you can take to banish these insecurities.
What has been the best thing about your skin positivity journey?
The best thing about my skin journey has been meeting all the other people who deal with the same condition as well. It has helped me feel less alone and we’ve built this wonderful community that aims to support one another. Without this community I wouldn’t have the confidence or any of the wonderful opportunities to talk about skin positivity like I do today! I am so grateful for this community.
For more from Kali, make sure you follow her Instagram @myfacestory for all things skin care and skin confidence
If you are struggling with confidence this summer and feel like you want to talk to someone about it, you can reach out to the Ditch the Label Community here.