In the wake of the body positivity movement that’s already making waves in shaking up the fashion and beauty industries, comes the acne positivity movement. It’s all about accepting your skin through every phase of the journey from congested to clear, normalising adult acne, and having honest conversations about skin that challenge the existing ideal of ‘good skin’.
Above all, this is a drive for people to be more open about their skin problems (from a badly-timed spot to a cystic acne breakout), to embrace what have previously been considered ‘flaws’, and to be more accepting of those with a condition that has previously stereotyped people as ‘unclean’ and ‘unhealthy’.
We spoke to Abbie Bull, a vocal member of the acne positivity movement on Instagram, who creates content that fights stigmas around acne whilst offering advice to those who want to clear and conceal their skin. Now with over 30,000 followers, Abbie began documenting her struggle with acne on her Instagram account in 2018, detailing her tips for concealing breakouts, her experience with the drug Accutane, and her advice for keeping skin hydrated and reducing pigmentation.
When did you first start experiencing acne and how did you feel about it at first?
I’ve always had acne prone skin, but it really came about when I turned 20! I thought acne was just for teenagers, so it was a shock to be heading into adulthood with acne.
We love your #acnepositivity approach – how did you learn to embrace your skin?
I decided to start putting myself first, stop worrying about what other people may think, and stop letting acne get in the way of my day-to-day life – especially social events. The more I started to love myself from the inside, the easier it was to embrace the rest of me – acne included!
Obviously taking Accutane dries skin out so much – how do you balance keeping it hydrated without causing irritation/flare ups?
It is super drying for the skin, so hydrating moisturisers and a good lip balm are absolute key. I also take care to use really gentle products (without alcohol or acids) to avoid any irritation!
Your MUA skills are amazing – what tricks and hacks do you use to conceal your acne?
I always start with a good moisturiser to prep the skin, then I pat and press my full coverage foundation lightly onto my skin before blending it with a big fluffy brush. Next, I conceal any redness or spots with a concealer that matches the shade of foundation I’ve used. I lightly blending it in then set with a translucent powder and setting spray!
What do you find the best types of foundations are for giving skin a smooth and even finish?
I live for a full coverage foundation – dewy is my favourite for making the skin look natural and even but if you’re worried about the staying power on those pesky spots, a matte foundation will last longer. Just add highlighter to highest points on your face to give it more of a glow.
What are you top skincare tips for others with acne?
Try not to overdo it with the number of products you’re using. It’ll be harder to figure out which product may be improving the skin or making your acne worse if you’re using loads. Be gentle on your skin, too – don’t rub aggressively when removing makeup because this will just inflame your acne. Most importantly, always moisturise, no matter what your skintype! When skin is dehydrated it produces more oil and these oils clog pores and cause acne. You can get a good oil-free moisturiser that will keep the skin hydrated and stop it from producing more oil.
How do you treat post-acne pigmentation?
This is something I’m looking into for once I’m off Accutane, but at the moment, keeping my skin hydrated is a must. Vitamin C enriched products are great because it stimulates collagen and can help rebuild the skin, and exfoliators and chemical peels with glycolic acid and salicylic acid will help get rid of the pigmentation by removing the top layer of the skin.
What message would you give to those experiencing acne for the first time?
I would say be patient – treating acne isn’t going to be an overnight job. It takes time, but don’t consume yourself or run yourself down in trying to get rid of it. Remember that your acne doesn’t define who you are, and we are all beautiful in our own way. Love yourself and be happy.