There are all sorts of acne: stress-related-and-stressful acne, hormone-rage-induced acne, puberty-sucks acne, bad-timing-single-painful-pimple acne; the kind you see a dermatologist for, the kind you don’t. For a few years, I had the type of acne that was so “bad” that occasionally strangers — entirely unsolicited — would call it out. It was always empathetic, to offer a solution, a nudge to see a doctor. “They have medicine for that, you know.”

I knew. I’d tried it all since middle school: washes, creams, pills. The goal was always the same: to “get it under control,” as though acne were my four-year-old child, hopped up on sugar, running around naked in the supermarket while I ignored the problem. But you can’t ignore acne when it’s on your face. It’s on your face.

What I wish I’d been able to understand during the years my skin made me want to exist outside of it is that acne is neither a death sentence nor a mark of character. It isn’t bad or ugly. It just is. I wish I’d felt like I could leave the house without makeup and still look acceptable. I wish I knew it wasn’t someone else’s job to determine whether it was “acceptable.” I also wish I knew there was nothing deceitful about wearing makeup. I wish I knew it was fine to feel and act as though my acne were an intrusion — that these red things were not welcome. I wish I also knew it was fine to pretend the one above my lip made me something of a ’90s supermodel. Mostly, I wish I knew it was normal, whatever that means.

Because acne’s not a secret, nor is it a flaw, we cast five women who experience breakouts for a bling-y, over-bejeweled glamour-shot of a shoot, sans coverup. The goal was manifold: to speak to women about their various skin relationships, to show others that they’re not the only ones with pimples and scars and insecurities, to create an atmosphere where they feel beautiful and celebrate that beauty, and to get as many shiny, pretty things on their persons as possible for the sake of a magpie’s indulgence.

Their opinions of their skin ranges, and those ranges depend on the day. Some wear makeup daily, some not at all. Some were uncomfortable, some were in their element. Some were mid-breakout, some were healing. The common theme among them? The confidence to say: “This is who I am.”

Hajra Tariq, 23, Pre-Med Student

I’ve had acne since I was 13. I always assumed it would go away, but it didn’t, so I started to cover it up. Then I got used to it. Now, I don’t mind walking around outside without makeup on because I see other people like me.

I tried Accutane, but it was horrible. It boosted my migraines to another level. It made my skin another level of dryness. And it made me feel so weak. It worked on my pimples — they went away (scars stayed), but then when I stopped it, the pimples came back.

When blogging, people will comment: “Your skin is flawless. Your skin is perfect. What do you do?” I used to get that question a lot, but I want to let them know that is not my skin — that is makeup. I use foundation. I don’t want people to think something I’m not, so I comment back and tell them it’s makeup. When I go “live,” I do so with a bare face to let people know it’s okay.

You only show your “best” face [while blogging], not your worst. I wear makeup because it’s part of the full [look] these days and to avoid questions (“Are you okay? Are you sick?”) or to avoid pressure. Some people will treat you differently if you don’t wear makeup. Like you’re dirty. I’ve gotten hateful comments on my Snapchat when I post without makeup about how I should cover up. But I’m like, “Guys, you don’t understand: I’m fine with it.”

Katie Robinson, 31 , Project Manager at an Education Nonprofit

My skin was fine during my teens but then kind of exploded during the middle of my freshman year of college. It cleared up by the time I was in my mid-20s due to a combination of hormonal birth control and topical prescriptions, and for about five or six years, I had pretty clear skin.

My priorities have shifted a bit (which means no more hormonal birth control or topical prescriptions), so the acne has come back. When I feel extra-focused on it, I try to look at the big picture and think: Okay, what will people remember about me when I’m old and gray? Probably not that I had hormonal acne on my chin. They’ll remember more important qualities — hopefully my best qualities. That perspective helps. In the lead-up to my wedding this last fall, however, I tried every cleanser/toner/mask/spot treatment available to try to clear up the spots.

I don’t love having acne at 31, but I recognize it as temporary. I also think it’s fine to have acne, and it’s fine to be really annoyed by it. Both are true for me. I don’t feel pressure to cover it, and as a whole, I’ve started to look at makeup as a fun accessory, rather than something I need to cover my so-called “flaws.” I don’t feel like I need to hide my acne. And that feels like a good place to be.

Jacquelyn Klein, 20, Visual Arts Major 

I got my first pimple in middle school. I hid it with a Band-Aid and told everyone that I’d scratched my face. When puberty really hit and one pimple became a face full of acne, I switched tactics. Now, I usually wear coverup and foundation as a base layer. I don’t wear makeup every day, but I cover up my acne to look more presentable and professional. A cat eye and a bit of mascara are enhancements; attempting to hide an irritated cystic pimple staring out from between my eyebrows like a third eye is a necessity. Everyone has that thing they do to fulfill the “look good, feel good” mantra. Some people need their nails to look nice to feel confident. I have to hide my acne.

It’s funny how the phrase “inhabiting someone else’s skin” means to play a character. In this case, the skin I’m in is my own, but not the version of it that I usually broadcast to the world. It was uncomfortable for me to come here today and not wear makeup. I was self-conscious about not being in control of the image and the way my acne appears. I wish I didn’t care, but I also wish I had perfect skin.

I think my insecurity about my skin stems from the fact that acne is a flaw that people assume is indicative of your emotional state and lifestyle. It’s so revealing. Some people can hide their stress. Mine is played out all over my face. People assume I’m not drinking enough water, eating right… Everyone thinks they’re a skincare expert.

Focusing on things that were beautiful about me [rather than my skin] helped boost my confidence when I was younger. I danced ballet, so I would focus on how strong I was. My advice to my younger self: Don’t touch your face. Let the pimples do what they do, leave them alone. Don’t try to cover everything up because that always ends up making it worse. Just do enough to make yourself feel more secure. Know that your skin is not what people are focusing on, and if it is, then those are not the kind of people you should interact with. There are so many more important things to worry about.

Brooklyn Mullen, 21, English Major

Whenever people ask what kind of skin I have, I say, “shitty.” Then I laugh and say, “combination.” I got acne when I was 17. I always cover it up. I work hard on my skin and nothing changes.

Taking the subway here this morning for the shoot with no makeup on, I felt like everyone was looking at me. I could feel any semblance of self-esteem go down the toilet.

This shoot brought my self-esteem back up. I felt beautiful. The clothes and the jewelry helped…and the attention. [Laughs]

I wish I could tell anyone with acne that it’s not disgusting. It’s just you being a human. We are living in a time where flaws are more readily accepted or aren’t considered flaws at all. We don’t have to stress so much to try and be perfect.

Lhemi Sherpa, 29, Student at FIT

My skin started to settle down after I turned 25, 26, but I’ve always had acne issues. I might have been the first girl in my class with acne. I was 14, maybe. The first time I was ever really concerned with it was around 16. I stopped looking in the mirror to avoid what popped up.

After that, I totally accepted it. Not kidding. I’d wear red lipstick but not concealer. My friends who were concerned with their skin would ask, “How can you walk around like that?” It wasn’t part of my identity. I’d have 10 pimples and my friend would have one. She’d freak out and I’d be fine. Everyone deals with things differently.

I saw a girl on the train once with acne, and I could tell she was uncomfortable. She wasn’t making eye contact with anyone. I wish I could tell her that no one is judging her because of her pimples.

Photos by Edith Young; Makeup by Aviva Grossman; Hair by Ritsu Hirayama. 

Get more Beauty ?
  • Imaiya Ravichandran

    okay who styled those zodiac necklaces i am srsly shook.

    • Amelia Diamond

      elizabeth did the handiwork!

    • Eliza

      I THOUGHT THE SAME THING

    • followmekanye

      SAME. GENIUS.

  • Kat

    I personally think all these women look fantastic, and much better with glowing, natural skin with a few spots than covered in foundation. I absolutely hate how foundation looks, I prefer skin all the time. One of my ex roommates has acne but glowing skin and she’s always covered in powder – I think it’s such a shame! Conceal if you must but let your skin breathe!
    That being said, it’s just my opinion and everyone is of course entitled to do whatever the f*ck they like with their own face!
    I have noticed that for me, putting any of of coverup or face makeup on is going to guarantee that that one spot turns into 20, so I avoid it for that reason too.

  • Samantha s

    This is a beautiful piece. Like, really beautiful. I look like these women (sans beautiful clothing and jewelry), which I never see!

    I’ve been thinking a lot about my acne lately as I approach 30 and the acne…just stays. My mother has acne and she’s 53, so there’s no doubt I will have this forever. I was fine with my acne until the last year or so, when I’m starting to notice signs of aging on top of acne. I now describe my face as “rugged”. It’s a bummer that as men age and their skin becomes more complex, it’s seen as sexy, but as women age we just get old, at least according to main stream beauty ideals (which I have 100% internalized and have little hope of escaping). SIGH.

  • Nicole

    I was super excited for this article when I read the headline, and the intro made me teary-eyed. But I wish you’d included a model with moderate or severe acne. In my eyes, each of these models has pretty minimal acne. That isn’t to say that they don’t have a valid experience with acne worth sharing, but, as someone who has struggled with severe acne for 15 years, and has spent thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours at dermatologists offices, researching cures online, trying different products/medications, and covering my skin with make up, I was really hoping to see someone here whose skin looks like mine. I am constantly struggling to have the confidence to wear my skin bare, and seeing representation of bare skin with severe acne would be so refreshing and empowering. I really like the concept of this shoot and discussion of this topic!

    • Veronica

      You had my reaction exactly! I’m currently on accutane, which is absolutely not for everyone, but the damage to one’s self-esteem that acne causes is immense, effects your life on a daily basis, and can last a lifetime. There have been days where, even with makeup on, it was difficult for me to leave my apartment. I tried to practice “self love” and go makeup free for a couple weeks once and felt like everyone was staring at me. I’d feel my boss’s eyes leave mine and shift toward my face and neck. It’s even effected my relationships. I admittedly scan everyone’s skin that I meet as well, but what I’m looking for is solidarity.

    • A couple of the women in this shoot have pretty advanced acne and/or scarring, imo—they just look so good and hot and bold, it kind of takes a backseat.

  • Anna

    Thank you for this! They all look gorgeous! It‘s such an inspiration! I‘ve had my first pimples at age 10 or 11 and for a long time I hated how I look. It‘s better now (I‘m 26 now) but still on some days it‘s hard to look in the mirror. But like some of them mentioned that strangers comment on their skin I have always thought this was the worst. You feel so wrong in such a moment. Like it‘s your fault and you should just try harder. And still no matter what you if you wear makeup or not it‘s always wrong because either you‘re „deceiving“ people or you‘re not looking „ appropriate“

  • beccamu

    Omg this is so GOOD. I had hormonal acne when puberty hit, then I developed a rare hormonal imbalance at 15 called Pyoderma Faciale, which basically means my skin went from regular teenage, Proactiv-treated skin, to cystic acne covering my entire face. Each layer of skin had a cyst in it. It took 6 months to find a dermatologist who knew what it was and how to treat it. I taught dance to 4 year olds who were frightened of me because of how my skin looked. I was at a new high school and too shy to make friends because of my skin. I couldn’t sleep with my face touching a pillow because it hurt too badly. I cried myself to sleep every night and woke up in pain every morning. It took 4 months of medication to correct the imbalance. I still have scars all over my forehead, cheeks, and jawline from those days. I’ve been on Accutane twice, and topical treatments for over 10 years. Why do we as humans (especially women) try so hard to undo what nature does?

  • Adrianna

    I was just thinking about this this past week, when I wanted to use my acne as an excuse not to attend a holiday party I was on the fence about. I’m 28, and I’ll have the occasional break outs on my chin, sometimes in the form of one large cystic acne that feels like a giant, red bull’s eye. (Pro tip: press a hot/damp towel on it when you feel it forming.)

    I’d be lying if I said that I *didn’t care,* but I don’t go out of my way to conceal anything. (I never wear make up.) I had the realization a few years ago that we don’t scrutinize men’s skin like this. (Though, my boyfriend is very self conscious if his limited facial hair looks “dirty.”)

    • Aydan

      YES YES YES! to each their own! I had acne when I was younger, it cleared up in college and then it became cystic after some severe severe stress post college! My face was terrorized (that’s what it felt like). Nearly 4 years after acutane I’ve recently been experiencing breakouts this winter (a collective of five pimples across my face that are definitely pigmented). Nothing too crazy, but enough to make me feel like I was losing control of my skin. I wanted to cover up (even though I never have) and last night I went on a first date and thought it would be so horrible my skin’s having trouble…I’ve realized (and I did realize) if I’m laughing (i.e. enjoying my life) NO ONE NOTICES IT (the ones that matter, especially). 🙂

  • Molly

    I love everything about this.

  • Jaclyn Levy

    Gorgeous portraits

  • Harling Ross

    love this sooOOOOOOooo much

  • These photos are beautiful- as are the women in them! Getting all warm and fuzzy at the empowerment of these women!!

  • freudianslippers

    I love this, although I couldn’t help wondering how my skin would look if I was photographed like these babes (worse, right? definitely worse…).
    I would love to see more gorgeous women just, in general, showing off their skin, though I can’t say it’s something I want to do, like, ever. I have so much acne scarring and I’ve been self-conscious about my skin basically since puberty. Still, love this, man repeller, love you, and love these women for putting themselves out there!

  • This is so good.

  • Haley Nahman

    This is my favorite story 😭😭😭😭😭😭😭

  • Tessa

    Oh my WORD you’re all so beautiful, inside and out! I never struggled with acne until my early twenties (I had perfect skin in high school and never appreciated it) and spend so much time and money worrying about it. It was such a breath of fresh air to see all of you looking so resplendent!

  • Curren Bell Robbins

    I love this. Very relatable. Especially to New Yorkers.
    Growing up, I had an occasional zit here and there, but nothing to write home about. When I went on the pill at 16, I had a lot of great years. In college, I actually bragged about how I’d sleep with all my makeup on. Then I graduated to wiping it off with Neutrogena wipes. That was my skincare regimen for many years.
    When I moved to NYC for grad school (still on the pill) my face exploded. Painful cystic acne on my face, but then on my back and my chest. I had a new boyfriend (now husband) and I was bummed 24/7. My sister moved to NYC at the same time, and she was having the same issues. And it didn’t quit. We bought every product, went to dermatologists, got clarisonics, dried out our faces, oiled our faces. Our friends were having the same issues, maybe it was NYC? I love how one of these women says everyone is a skincare expert Yes, I have this on my face, I know about it, and I’ve tried everything. I’ve had people in makeup stores tell me “I have something to help that.”
    When I went off the pill after 12 years in April, the cystic acne skyrocketed to another level. On my back, my chest and face. I bought 4000000 new products and it was just getting worse. It’ll balance out in a few months, I’d tell myself. Around September, I made the conscious choice through meditation to just let it go. I firmly believe that you are focusing more on the zit than anyone else. Using reverse psychology on my acne has helped me come to terms with it. Nobody remembers it and nobody is really paying attention in the way that you are.
    Word to the wise: as someone who has tried EVERYTHING (lasers, medications, topicals) and wasted a lot of money: my skin has been 90% better on the following regimen: Cerave hydrating cleanser+ Dapsom gel+ Cerave AM/Cerave PM cream. Differin gel 2x a week. I used to use a clarisonic 2x a day with a BP wash for 5 YEARS and i really think that much drying led to more acne. Best wishes!

    • Kattigans

      The lack of moisture barrier is 1000% what makes it worst. I’m currently suffering from hormonal acne and have never ever had it this bad. 4 months into it and my BF told me “you need to stop drying the shit out of your face”…I didn’t want to believe him but once I backed off and let myself be simple with the routine (only using one BHA product and not three or 4), things have improved.

      • Kattigans

        Also I’m currently doing a Korean beauty 10 step system (not all my products are k beauty) and omg in a matter of a few days my skin made a drastic turn around! I think its because there is so much emphasis on hydration

  • Katie F

    i want all the 2018 trends to be this.

  • Alden

    This is one of my favorite articles I’ve read on MR! It sucks that just thinking about acne takes up so much of your daily thoughts if you’re dealing with it.

    I’ve struggled with moderate acne (cysts, ugh) since I was about 14. My skin seemed to magically get (mostly) clear when I went on the pill two years ago. I’ve decided to come off of it for a lot of reasons BUT I’m so terrified of what is going to happen to skin in the next few months! I have felt like a huge weight has lifted off of me not having to worry about it, and I am not excited about the prospect of having those worries constantly on my mind again. Reading articles like this helps me take a step back and realize how we are our own biggest critics though, because all of these women look amazing.

  • Sarah

    Three weeks ago, I went back on birth control for the first time in eight years because of my persistent acne. So far, I’m not experiencing any of the mental health and mood-related side effects I did the first time around but ONE BOOB has swelled to be noticeably bigger than the other and is extremely tender and I’m kind of thinking that this had better all be worthwhile. All of this to say, the struggle is familiar and this article is well-timed! It’s refreshing to see people my age who also have been dealing with acne for long periods of time or making the trade-off between medication and well-being, confidence and acceptance, etc.

  • Liz Robinson

    As someone who has struggled with acne their whole teenage/adult life, this is the best article I’ve ever read. Thank you so much. These women are beautiful!!!

  • Frazier Sandlin

    I appreciate this so much as a fellow pizza face, kudos to MR for making us find the beauty in all of our imperfections!

    On another note, legit the first time I think i’ve ever read a story highlighting acne and not how to get rid of it. Kind of nice to not be reading about revamping my skincare routine for the 8000000 millionth time.

  • LOVED this thank you so much – relate to everyone here!

  • Anne Dyer

    Love! And what if wrinkles weren’t a flaw? Life changing. I think my crows feet are gorgeous.

    • Rosemary

      So with you! I admire crows’ feet and laugh lines so much, I think they’re beautiful. Honestly can’t wait to grow into my grandmother’s amazing skin!

  • Laura

    her account is (rightfully so) more about her art, but I think Hailey Wait (https://www.instagram.com/pigss/) embraces body positivity in a way I wish I’d seen more when I was her age.

  • Anni

    LOVED the article! I’m sitting here with a huge smile on my face. I feel like I really want to get up tomorrow, put on some nice eyeliner and no foundation at all and leave my apartment hopefully looking exactly as happy as those beautiful ladies. Thank you soo much for this!!

  • Justine

    THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THIS ARTICLE. I have struggled so much with acne since getting my first zit in 6th grade. I read in “The Care and Keeping of You” (shoutout to American Girl) that puberty ended at 17 so I convinced myself that that would also be when my skincare troubles would end forever. LOL, AS IF. At 24 I am still so incredibly envious of those with perfect skin and often feel isolated and insecure about my adult acne. This article really means so, so much to me and has just catapulted my love for MR further into the stratosphere than it already was. THANK YOU AMELIA + LADIES!!!!!!

    • Alissa Albrecht

      I also had the misconception that my acne would disappear when I turned 18! Sadly it’s still going strong.

  • SallyForth

    If these women are happy the way they are, then I am happy for them.

    But acne is really a symptom of your internal health so it shouldn’t be ignored or else long-term you will suffer more serious conditions.

    When I eat processed foods I start to get breakouts plus my energy levels are also lowered.

    When I switch back to a natural diet with lots of fruits and veggies my skin rapidly clears again and looks smoother overall.

    • avaa90

      False.

      According to the Lancet (the best medical journal) and copious other peer-reviewed scientific articles, the cause of acne is not completely understood. What they do understand is that it has to do with the sebum in your follicles. A pimple develops when your follicles get blocked and oil builds up.

      P. acnes (a BACTERIA that lives ON your skin) contributes to the infection.

      Increases in androgen (types of sex hormones) cause the oil glands under your skin to grow, which contributes to the blockage.

      http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0140673611603218

    • ByeBeckz

      This is definitely not factual. While yes, I definitely get flare ups with nuts (damn you, pistachios), acne is entirely hormonal and is mostly controlled (if at all) by medication, NOT by what you eat.

      • SallyForth

        And what effects your hormones?

        Nutrition is a major impact.

        There is way too much scientific and anecdotal evidence that nutrition is a major factor in all bodily functions including skin health.

        • avaa90

          The endocrine system is affected by many things.

          Genetics, stress, injuries, exercise, menstrual cycle, diet, etc all impact how much testosterone (the stuff that produces excessive sebum) ends up in your blood stream.

          http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0022202X15301019

          That is probably one of the best studies on acne. It was done on around 2000 pairs of twins and researchers wanted to see the relative contribution of genetic and environmental factors on acne. They found that 81% (with 95% intervals) of the variance of the disease was attributable to genetic effects.

          The paper has been cited over 400 times aka it is good science.

          • SallyForth

            Experience trumps “research” every time.

            If I’d listened to these “experts” I’d still have zits, be 20 pounds overweight and suffering from a host of minor health complaints like PMS, weak nails, dry skin etc. which the “experts” tell me are normal.

            Use your common sense.

            If you put bad fuel in your car over a long period of time what would happen?

          • Anna

            This may be true for you. For some people nutrition can have an impact but not for everyone. My acne was and still is hormonal. My skin doesn‘t change at all when I stop eating chocolate or dairy or unhealthy food. I tried. I had a really hard time because of statements like this when I was younger. Having acne isn‘t necessarily caused by your unhealthy behavior or by not taking enough care. Some people‘s skin just reacts more to hormonal imbalances or stress

          • SallyForth

            There are exceptions to every rule.

            And I’m sorry you’ve had such a hard time of it.

            But the truth is for the majority cleaning up their diet will help in all aspects of their life.

            And that’s why I made a public comment because I know at least some people will be helped by mine and many others empowering experience of taking back control of their own health.

          • Chanel

            I’m going on 6 months of no sugar, dairy, caffeine, meat or processed foods and I have to say the diet has had no effect on my acne. I also have around a gallon of water a day. That said, I do think that people cite things like dairy and soy as acne culprits because they’re foods that many are unknowingly allergic to and should speak to their derms about.
            I also think there’s also some truth to face mapping (i.e. forehead acne = lack of sleep, jaw/neck = hormone and soy related, cheeks = moisture barrier imbalance, usually caused by too many products or rapid changes). Suffering through acne is the biggest blow to a person’s self esteem but you’re correct in that it’s indicative of what’s going on underneath (for me, that’s 90% unaddressed stress).

          • Sarah

            Thank you for this! I’ve struggled with acne for almost a decade and been to half a dozen dermatologists who’ve quickly prescribed medications (including birth control) or told me mine “isn’t so bad,” which is heartbreaking when it’s persistent and unaffected by innumerable prescriptions, change in diet and lifestyle, etc. It’s really disheartening when people who’ve had less of a struggle assume that what worked for them will work for me or that I’m just not “trying” hard enough. I really appreciate you sticking up for people like me!

          • Kate

            “Experience trumps research???” Wowowow this is Trump’s America, indeed.

          • ByeBeckz

            Ya experience definitely trumps research. Like when i’m in a plane and I look down at earth- it’s NEVER curved- therefore the earth IS flat, my experience taught me that. No. Lol sometimes its not worth reasoning with people.

          • SallyForth

            And which nutrition “research” do you live your life by?

            The “expert” who tells you this year that carbohydrates should be avoided, or the one who tells you to cut fats, or the one who tells you surplus processed sugar is really the bad guy etc.

            Unlike the state of the earth, nutrition advice changes and evolves so much that many people throw up their hands in defeat.

            That’s why “experience trumps research”.

          • avaa90

            HAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Yes yes, let us definitely go with one person’s experience vs. literally (in the correct use of the word) HUNDREDS of scientific studies with HUNDREDS of people being studied.

            Scientific, peer-reviewed, double-blind tests conclude that acne is primarily due to genetics/androgens in your body.

            Yeah, drinking more water is good for you. But drinking 3 liters a day isn’t going to magically give you perfect skin.

          • SallyForth

            If I’d listened to people like you I’d still be fat and sick.

  • Kayleigh

    Acne sufferers – has anyone tried Bentonite clay? l was given a teeny bag of volcanic ash when my acne had plateaued at moderate (after years of severe, open wound level eruptions). It was amazing.
    I tried to find more on the internet and the only thing l could find was bentonite clay which had more or less the same affect. It also got rid of some weird little bumps on my face that a frowning dermatologist declared might be ‘improved’ with some retinol.
    When l started using the clay, l remember the sense of relief that my kids would be spared such bad skin, all thanks to a natural product. Having said that, I’m kind of glad that l had acne, during my teenage years it taught me not to be superficial, and my scarred face is a polite daily reminder to this day.

    My other recommendation is the strongest vitamin D you can get your hands on. It won’t cure it, but it might help.

    • rien de rien

      Careful with the vitamin D, especially if you’re taking it long term! It’s fat soluble, so your body doesn’t eliminate the excess easily. Vitamin D toxicity causes calcium to build up in your blood, which can be very dangerous.

    • Vintage Vixen

      I had various levels of acne struggles in my 20’s and 30’s. At 46, my skin now behaves most of the time. When it doesn’t, I use Indian Healing Clay (which is Bentonite Clay, sold in powder form) mixed with ACV. I apply it at night after work, after cleansing, and just relax with tea and a book while it does its magic. It is one of the few remedies that, in my opinion, offers a quick result. My 19-year-old daughter does the same when she has flare ups and it has kept her skin clear too.

  • Kristi Wilder

    YES. Love that these ladies put it all out there, and *slow clap* to the ingeniousness behind this article. For all the reasons listed in the comments, I want more!!

  • Annabel

    This is the BEST. Made me cry i love this community ahhh!

  • Georgina Arroyo

    I just got acne for the first time in my life. I’m 24. I don’t have severe acne but I have deep painful cysts every month that leave dark marks. I have missed out on so many social things because I feel like my makeup doesn’t even cover enough. This was so amazing to see!!!! I really encourage you guys + other outlets to use models with less than perfect skin + less makeup regularly. I never realized how perfect everyone’s skin always looked until now. I loved to see these bad ass beauties.

    • Kattigans

      Going through it to and I’m 25. Cystic pimple are the worst and so hard to get rid of.

  • cecilrahn

    LOVE that those who don’t mind going bare faced aren’t doing so to make a statement, it’s just a preference! My skin is clear now (thanks to vigilance, prescriptions, and settled down hormones), but I am so grateful to have had severe acne bc it has helped me not to sweat the small stuff. I wore makeup everyday, without fail, during my first two years of high school. Once I finally found a dermatologist willing to help with my (uninteresting) skin condition i almost immediately stopped wearing any makeup at all. Looking back, it was the physical pain my acne caused me that made me want to cover up. Seeing pictures from when i stopped wearing makeup, my skin wasn’t any clearer, it just didn’t hurt anymore. Good going to all these lovely women, and anyone dealing with acne. Your face is yours and no should dictate what you do with it!

  • L Winfree

    I am in love with photo #3!!! The top, the arrangement of the zodiac necklaces, it all looks like a renaissance painting!

    Also really happy to see Magnetic Midnight headbands, their things are absolutely delightful. In my fantasy world I’d be wearing one everyday.

  • Emily

    this is great. i’ve always had really clear skin but these past few months with new hormones from my IUD and sooooOOO much stress from a new job, cross country move, and moving in with my bf, i’ve had so many stress breakouts and it sucks!!! but it’s also just part of our bodies which are weird and i love thinking about accepting it all for how it is

  • lateshift

    good grief. how about we both admit that an occasionally painful bacterial infection of the skin is, by definition, a “flaw”…but more importantly, ALSO make it clear that it actually DOESN’T matter and SHOULDN’T matter if it is, because a woman’s worth shouldn’t be even remotely rooted in how physically attractive people find her, or how “flawless” she is? Why aren’t we allowed to have a few goddam “flaws”? I’ve got them. Everyone does. And THAT’S OK.

  • Jaime Gelpi

    “there are so many more important things to worry about.” <3 <3

    this is so good.

  • Michelle Talia

    This couldn’t be more relatable, beautiful and real. Amelia does it again.

  • THANK YOU FOR THIS

  • Kattigans

    I exploded into a bout of hormonal acne almost 4 months ago. Before that my skin was always pretty clear nay a pimple her or there. This latest bout has been horrible and I seesaw between it getting better to it getting worse. Its been frustrating to say the least. So this post could not be more timely and apt for me to say fuck it. I’m working on it, and I know with time things will rebalance. But seriously acne of any kind is the worst. I’m 25! I thought I was past this.

  • Candace

    I had severe acne throughout middle school and high school and was bullied and teased about it all through those years. Now, in my mid-thirties, my face is clear but occasionally I’ll get one zit during PMS and I smile to think back to the kid who would look in the mirror and dream of the day that I could actually count my zits on one hand. I walk out bare-faced and proud and I wish I had had the confidence to do that when I was younger.

  • Katherine O’Connor

    I LOVE THIS. QUEENS. Each and every one of you is beautiful!! Tbh, I think this is the future. This is what more and more people are going to look like walking down the street

  • Akosua

    Thank you Amelia! Thank you ladies! Self-esteem has taken a battering as my acne get worse and I’m honestly tired of thinking about my skin so much. I’m crying, thank you!

  • Mika Deshmukh

    wowowow i love this so much! beautiful styling! i’ve struggled with acne since i was 11, and have gone through many times when i could barely get myself to leave my house because i felt so ashamed. seeing these beautiful women made me feel less alone.

  • Alana Vieira

    I can’t imagine what is like to wear makeup on a daily basis…

  • Pia Bergman

    Thank you for this article. These girls look awesome and we need more acne-skinned girls on display. Acne is a hugely common problem that has the power to make you feel entirely alone. I have a pale skin, and big cystic acne that lingers, Scars and marks me. The only thing that ever cleared my skin was spironolactone but after 2 years I had to quit as I started having heart palpitations and trouble breathing. I love skincare and work for a big luxury skincare brand. It’s super embarrassing to have this issue. I got to work barefaced but wear makeup to go out. Navigating the internal issues that may be causing my acne is very confusing, trial and error and there is vey little medical support for testing and guidance. Curing acne is a journey and I dream of writing up a guide to help others when I reach the end. But until the , seeing girls with uncovers acne is amazing because I get major feelings a WHY ME?!?? when I stare at angel skinned IG girls all day.

  • Ashley

    Ahh- I loved reading this. Although I don’t get acne, I get severe eczema around my mouth and under my nose so can totally relate to the feeling of being uncomfortable in public during a flare up. Make up usually make mine look worse as it flakes and gets even angrier so this year I’ve been working on leaving it uncovered. I’m gradually finding it easier and I just remind myself that leaving my skin clear of make up allows me to top up on whatever moisturiser/treatment I’m using throughout the day and hopefully healing it faster?!
    Feeling inspired by this- all the models look amazing.

  • Sara Belmer

    Thank literal GOD someone is trying to change the narrative of acne. I’ve struggled with acne for so long, and my self worth always plummets when I compare my skin to those in magazines or movies who seem to have a flawless complexion. LOVE the authenticity of MR and what you guys are about!

  • Lauren

    this is the first time ever I have seen acne in any sort of fashion shoot: as someone who has had severe acne (worse than any of these gals!) for over 5 yrs – thank you!! acne is real and deserves a place in the media

  • Pilar Francisca Grant

    this story is just what i needed to read <3 <3 i've been dealing with really bad acne since i turned 21, even though i work hard on my skin, visit the dermatologist fairly regularly and try to drink lots of water. it's even worse than when i was in my emo phase and i had huge, straightened-til-death, bangs and i had a few pimples, now it's full on cystic/hormonal acne. lately i've been trying to accept, wear less make up, and force myself to feel confident, thank you for this amelia!

  • Sara Teixeira

    Thank you. This is amazing!