Monday, May 5, 2014

Acne Sucks and I Don't Feel Pretty Without Makeup

“I don't know. Just because someone's pretty doesn't mean she's decent. Or vice versa. I'm not into appearances. I like flaws, I think they make things interesting.” 
- Sarah Dessen

I'll be the first one to tell you that makeup should be an indulgence and that we shouldn't feel any less beautiful without it.

As soon as we're done talking, I will probably head to the bathroom to look at my face and see if I spy a new blemish appearing, if my skin looks super greasy, or if my eyebrows have rubbed off.  The truth is, I feel much prettier with makeup.

I've had acne in varying degrees for as long as I can remember.  It gets better for awhile and then it gets worse again.  Remember, I'm 36.  I never thought I'd still be struggling with acne at this age.  There are places on my face where I rarely if ever break out, and then there are places where I break out all the time.  I scar easily and because of the frequent breakouts, my volatile areas are always very blemish-y -- dark marks, blotchiness, bumpiness.

But I'm not here today to talk about all the products I've tried or how I change my pillowcase almost every night or how I wash my makeup brushes several times a week, etc.  I'm here to talk about feeling pretty without makeup.  Feeling beautiful with your flaws.

Because that is what I want.  To go go out on a hot summer day without a stitch of makeup on, basking in the natural light (that so unapologetically highlights every clogged pore and every blemish on my face) and still feel beautiful.  To talk to someone up close without wondering if they are looking at my bumps.

I want to feel complete and presentable without makeup...but I don't.  

This is an example of a particularly painful flare up, probably due to what I was using on my hair at the time.  Who knows.

Unless I'm at home laid up with my boos, or spending comfy time with my friends, I feel incomplete and unpolished without makeup.  It doesn't make it any easier when you get these comments:

"Are you feeling OK?  You look tired."

"Are your eyebrows falling out?"

"You're breaking out!  Are you pregnant again?"

"Maybe you need to drink more water."

I'm like OK, enough. I'm putting my makeup back on.  I don't want to care, but I still do.  I'm working on it.

I use my hair as a crutch.  

So maybe I'm feeling self-conscious about my skin, but if my hair looks healthy and vibrant, I feel better about my appearance.  I focus on what makes me feel confident.  So maybe it's not so much a crutch, but a choice to draw my dominant energy from what makes me feel good.

We walk around with our insecurities and our pride and this unreasonable pursuit of perfection.  This need to be acknowledged.  We compare ourselves to touched up images and the more we think we look like them, the more acceptable we feel.

You may look like the women you see in magazines, you may not.  Either way, you're probably too hard on yourself and notice your flaws more than your strengths.  You probably don't realize how much people admire you and how much they don't notice your flaws.

Where you focus your own attention makes all the difference.  For example, I've noticed that when I don't have on makeup my body language is different.  I don't smile as much. I don't make eye contact.  I look down more.  Overall, I just don't feel as confident.  So lately I've been trying to carry myself with the same energy and confidence that I do when I'm all airbrushed and glossy.  And of course, I can tell the difference in how I'm received and how I feel about my no-makeup self.

Whatever your physical insecurities are, it's time to feel pretty without comparisons and conditions. 

You shine because of the sparkle in your eyes.  You are pretty because you have been hurt and beaten down and you still choose joy.  You are pretty because you embrace your flaws.

Define your own beauty.  Don't let the world decide for you.  Feel beautiful because of your kindness, your spirit and how you live your life. 

Everything else is temporary.

Share with me below. What physical insecurities do you have and how do you overcome?


  1. Hi GG. I've been admiring your thoughts and your work for a couple of years now and I think you ROCK! I'm insecure about having 'not so cute' legs but I started using the Sally Hansen Airbrush legs last fall and I feel better about it. About 10 years or so ago I used to be insecure about having wide, flat feet and I would never wear sandals at all. Until...I saw my neighbor in a pair with half a pinky toe. If she can do it without any qualms I know I can do it. Lol. Needless to say, I rock my stilettos, flip flops and flat sandals as I see fit.

    Yes, I too have adult acne and there's not enough space or time for me to discuss it here. I've been makeup free for the entire month of April and it looks like May is gonna be similar because I have a breakout that had me at the dermatologist office this morning. I'm letting my skin breathe and I'm okay with it. I'm okay with it because even though sometimes I feel insecure about my skin I know I can rock my fierce Chaka Khan afro with some big earrings and still be fly without makeup. Besides, it always comes in spurts and gets better. You are SO pretty, smart and talented! When you're feeling insecure, do something nice for GG!

    1. Hi Karen! Thank you for reading, first of all. And thank you for the kind words! We could probably talk for hours about different body issues. I used to be very uncomfortable about my feet, my knees, so many things! The older I get, the more comfortable I feel in my skin and I find that the more honest I am about my feelings, the less things bother me. I never ever would have publicly admitted my insecurities in the past. But when i do, I feel free of it in a way.

  2. Very true! Though we don't talk about it so much.

    I say I don't care about fake images, but a part of me still feels inadequate for being me, no matter what attitude I portray to others.

    I don't know what the answer is...
    -- Vanessa

    1. Hi Vanessa, yes we don't talk about it much do we? Whether it's makeup, weave, whatever, we can get used to an enhancement and start feeling uncomfortable without it! I feel that my acknowledging it and talking about it, it makes it easier to reverse that.

  3. I've found the cure to my acne (dairy products) but I still have some scars from previous breakouts so I "feel" much more comfortable with my makeup on. The thing is most people don't even know the difference! I or we magnify the things that make us feel insecure about ourselves when other people honestly don't even notice.

    1. So true, Takei! It always looks worse to me than it does to others. I make it a point now to not wear makeup everyday and I've become much more comfortable with my skin. For the most part, I still pencil in my eyebrows every day though :)

  4. Okay GG, I'm about to be REAL transparent with you...well I guess with everyone who's reading this lol...But I suffer from hair growth under my neck. I attribute it to experimenting with razors as a child, but honestly I don't know. It's not a LOT, but enough to notice when in my personal space. Of course I pluck them (I wouldn't dare use a razor in that area now) or use an epilator. But like you, I scar easily too. So I have scarring from hair removal and ingrown hairs. This used to make me feel less than a woman at times, but other times I try not to let it bother me. Most people don't even know it's there because I pluck and cover the scars with makeup. But like you I feel a bit unpolished or less than when it's not covered. *sighs*. I guess we all are dealing with different insecurities that are similar in more ways than one. Thank you for posting this. It reminds me that we're all human and none of us are "perfect"...whatever that means anyway lol. - xoxo

    1. I so appreciate your honesty Saunya! That was really my intention for this post. To show some vulnerability and to show how women really think, you know?! Anyway, I also have unwanted hair that grows on my chin and jawline and I've dealt with it since my twenties!!! It's caused me a lot of self-consciousness, so I can totally relate to what you're saying. Doesn't it feel better to reveal it? Talk about it? I think so!! I appreciate you so much for sharing!!! xoxo

  5. Greetings GG, I am really insecure about my stretch marks. I am hesitant to show my legs because they are there and haven't worn a bathing suit without a cover up in years maybe ever. I am in good shape but my non perfect skin is really an insecurity for me.

    1. I have stretch marks too. I can't say that they don't bother me at all, but I've pretty much trained myself to accept them. I think about how hard my legs have worked carrying me through my life. How blessed I am to have a pair of healthy, working legs and it makes me feel silly for worrying about a few stripes. :) I understand how you feel and I think that with time and perspective, you will feel beautiful in spite of AND because of your stretch marks.

  6. GG I am at risk of becoming a stalker on this site because EVERY blog you write speaks to me!!! I too have suffered with mild acne since my early teens (now 34) and varying degrees of eczema since birth. When I turned 27 I had enough of having teen skin and radically changed my diet, which improved my breakouts dramatically, but I still get it and I still scar. On top of that I have freckles so I always have one mark or another on my face. I've never worn make up tho, only when I'm going out for a special occasion (or taking photos for my website) so it's forced me to deal with my skin. I agree that it's not easy when others comment. Last year I was at dinner for my aunt's birthday and her friend said to me "you should come and see me. I do beauty and if you worked with me, you'd be really pretty, I'd get rid of your marks". Thankfully my confidence is strong enough that rather than be offended, I had to focus on refraining myself from telling her she's obviously not using them herself! My aunt however wasn't as restrained and put her in her place! Anyway, on days when I look in the mirror and curse the skin I ended up with, I repeat the phrase "always wear your invisible crown" to myself. I also have it as a screensaver on my phone. I think my confidence shifted when I saw Alicia Keys and Cameron Diaz without make up. That's when I realised, I wasn't the only one in the world suffering and that they too must have similar insecurities to me, and look how successful they are.

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  8. When I was younger I used to be insecure about my BIG head. Then one day, still a young skinny girl with a head,I decided who cares. I started walking with my head held high and I got rid of my bangs. I was through. I am not sure what made me tired. But once I accept that was cute big head and all, the teasing slowed down. For some strange reason I did not get teased as much and when I did, it did not bother me as much. But it does not mean that little insecurity does not pop up every once in a while,
    even as an adult because it do. Then I remember the day when I got rid of the bangs and decided who cares and I smile.