For as long as I can remember, I've had "bad" skin.
I suffered through the usual teenage breakouts and oiliness, which I treated with so much benzoyl peroxide I'm amazed my entire face didn't peel off.
I have vitiligo all over my body, and on my face — if you're not familiar, this is an "imperfection" that causes the melanin in your skin to die for no reason. Though I'm quite pale so it's less visible, there are still vast swathes on my face that are totally white. The patch on my forehead is especially large, and it's getting bigger every day. This used to make me feel out of control and unattractive, and I still have my bad days.
When I was 24, I was diagnosed with cancer, and one of the side-effects was hideous cystic acne that left me with enlarged pores and scarring. Even now I get zits, and I'd sooner walk off a cliff than go to work without foundation and concealer.
This isn't a problem... except that I'm a beauty editor. I'm supposed to be effortlessly beautiful. Having flawless skin is practically part of my job.
Another part of my job is putting my face out there on the Internet, and I don't know if you've noticed, but people are not always nice online.
Though I no longer really keep track of all the shitty things people have said about my skin, I've definitely been called "craterface" (for my large pores), "zitface" (because I'm still prone to spots), and "Scarface" (probably because I have some minor acne scars and not because I'm secretly Al Pacino, although say hello to my little friend in the picture below).
I try really hard not to compare myself to other people, but I'm human, and comparing yourself to others is part of being alive. It's difficult not to covet the kind of glowy, poreless skin perfection that I see in real life every day. It's not Photoshop or Facetune or good lighting — these women really do look like that. And I don't. And why don't I look like that? And what if I get my face lasered? Needled? Filled?
It's a quick descent into madness, is what I'm saying.
The problem, of course, is not with my amazing peers — who are all as kind and badass as they are gorgeous. It's with me, and it's with society. I'm a perfectionist, and it's really easy to get down on myself about my perceived "flaws," especially when those flaws are visible ones, and ESPECIALLY in a world that tells women our entire value is based around the way we look.
I always tell you guys to look at beauty as a celebration of your own awesomeness, and that means loving yourself EXACTLY AS YOU ARE... but that's sometimes really hard to do in my own life. It's so easy to see the light in other people; it's much, much harder to see it in yourself.
But I'm going to stop doing that, effective immediately. My skin might not be perfect, but so what? Minor acne scars don't stop me from creating seriously on-fire makeup tutorials. Enlarged pores don't preclude me from learning literally everything there is to know about skincare ingredients. And maybe these fantastic dark circles I'm rocking are a blessing — how else would I have taught myself these wizard-level concealer skills?
So here's to my imperfect skin and my eternally crazypants drive to be perfect.
Here's to expanding the definition of what it means to be beautiful.
Here's to not comparing myself to anyone else.
Here's to being the best damn beauty editor I can be.
Here's to all of us, and all of the wonderful, varied "flaws" that make us who we are.
And here's to full-coverage concealer, because hormonal acne can be a real bitch.