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For years, the common narrative around skin has been that if you do all the right things — drink lots of water, load your plate with antioxidant-packed dark leafy greens and berries, develop a regimen that would put some beauty bloggers to shame, and get a full night’s sleep — your face will be blemish free.

But as anyone who has tried every wellness hack in the book and yet still wakes up to a pimple on their chin can attest, it’s not that simple. Yes, even the healthiest people can have breakouts — and a new skin acceptance movement is now underway to take the shame away from acne.

Woman sitting in a pink dress in bed smiling

Photos courtesy of tonl.co

Considering that up to 50 million Americans a year deal with pimples (the American Academy of Dermatology deems it the most common skin condition in the US), it’s likely that at some point in their lives everyone will come face-to-face (or nose, cheek, or chin) with a blackhead. And while acne can be caused by controllable factors, such as diet or exposure to dirt and pollution, there are many other things in play that you can’t do much about — think genetics, hormones, and medication.

The ethos behind the skin acceptance movement is twofold.

  1. A pimple doesn’t inherently mean that a person isn’t taking care of themselves.
  2. There’s no need to be ashamed about it, despite what we’re seeing in the perfect-selfie era.

Some pretty big names are even getting behind the concept. Earlier this month, actress Ruby Rose posted a series of photos to Instagram Stories, with arrows pointing to her breakouts. Yeah it sucks…for me, I don’t see how it’s bothering so many others?” she wrote in a caption. But I’m human. It happens.” 

Bella Thorne is another celeb who has been open about her skin struggles, regularly posting makeup-free, un-Photoshopped pics to social media and speaking out about living with acne when you’re in the spotlight. 

You go out and people think you’re dirty, that you’re, like, disgusting. That you must not take care of yourself […] because you have acne,” she told Popsugar in an interview last year. But really it’s something everybody f*cking gets!”

Her advice for what to do in moments when you start to feel skin shame? Embrace the so-called imperfection. Recently, my sister…we both struggle with trying to get acne taken care of. I was like, Look at this pimple! I have a press day tomorrow, how did this just happen to me?’ and Dani was like, That is a beautiful pimple, Bella. Your face is beautiful. You have beautiful skin. You love your face.”

And because every movement needs its own slogan, streetwear brand Urban Sophistication now has a hoodie with the slogan Free the Pimple” on the front (which has been spotted on Lena Dunham, who herself has been outspoken about embracing breakouts).

In this case, no shame — serious gain.

Articles from The Natural should not be considered medical advice. If you have any questions about your health, please consult a medical professional.