3 Ways I Learned To Love My Hyper-Pigmented Skin

It's my skin and I love it--acne scars and all.
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Taylor
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It's my skin and I love it--acne scars and all.

My absolute biggest skin complaint is my hyper-pigmentation. Acne comes and goes, but whenever I get even the slightest inflammation, whether from a zit, an extraction, or even scratching my face, I’m in for a dark mark that hangs around on my skin indefinitely. 

I’ve written about a lot of really awesome, effective treatments that can fade these marks, but even using those treatments I experience ups and downs. 

If you hyper-pigmented gals (and guys) ever doubted that I feel your struggle, I present to you these unflattering photos of my skin.

Contemplating my scarring on a boat in Hungary.

Contemplating my scarring on a boat in Hungary.

I felt awful seeing my face next to the beautiful, porcelain-skinned Bailey.

I felt awful seeing my face next to the beautiful, porcelain-skinned Bailey.

#notimpressed by these tiny leaves, my rained-on hair, or the marks on my cheeks.

#notimpressed by these tiny leaves, my rained-on hair, or the marks on my cheeks.

I was so self-conscious at work that I took a covert photo-booth pic to see how bad my skin looked. 

I was so self-conscious at work that I took a covert photo-booth pic to see how bad my skin looked. 

Don't know what I'm thumbing down here--probably the state of my skin. 

Don't know what I'm thumbing down here--probably the state of my skin. 

A screenshot from a recent YouTube video. Some nasty commenters told me, "No one will ever want you with that s**t on your face."

A screenshot from a recent YouTube video. Some nasty commenters told me, "No one will ever want you with that s**t on your face."

I show you these photos to let you know that I don’t always have the pretty skin you see in some of my articles, and to say that it's okay if you've tried everything and your skin is still bumpy--you are definitely not alone. Totally clear, even-toned skin will never be a reality for me. It took me a long, long time to be okay with that. Here are three of the ways I got there: 

1. I mastered the art of the #nomakeupselfie.

Selfies get a bad rap, but for me, they’ve been an invaluable tool in learning not to hate what I see in the mirror. Taking photos of myself in full hyper-pigmented glory has gotten me out of many a rut. The more self-portraits I took, the more I saw my attitude towards my skin shift from shame and horror to acceptance. I started to view my natural skin as normal and acceptable. Soon, I saw myself for more than just the spots on my face.

2. I wore all of the pretty things.  

A couple awesome commenters pointed out in a previous article that so many beauty tutorials start with creating a “flawless base.” Because of that, I spent a long time thinking I could never get away with bold, colorful makeup if my skin was anything less than perfect. Even if I concealed my heart out, I thought I didn’t deserve to experiment with makeup in the way girls with perfect skin could. Then, finally, I was like, EFF THAT NOISE. I still don't regularly wear foundation and concealer (because it makes my skin feel worse), but that's not going to keep me from playing with color. 

Dark red lip, dark brown scars. 

Dark red lip, dark brown scars. 

I’ve been allowing myself to use products that make me feel good and beautiful and confident, flawless base be damned. But by that same token, if what makes you feel stunning is creating the look of perfect skin using makeup, go for it. I’ll always indulge in a little spot concealing before a special event or photo shoot. Life’s too short to spend it not feeling beautiful.

3. I stopped seeing my skin as the enemy.

When you're all alone in front of the mirror and you feel smaller than small, remember this: Your skin is good. You are good. Being scarred and speckled might make you feel self-conscious and awful, but your skin is still rocking at its job of keeping your organs in and infections out. You can at least give it that credit, right?

Once I make it through a whole week, I get to buy myself an extravagant skincare treat.

Once I make it through a whole week, I get to buy myself an extravagant skincare treat.

Picking at your skin or being too harsh with it, as tempting as it may be, will just make things worse, dermatologically and mentally speaking. Take care of your skin and be kind to yourself. Hyper-pigmentation and scarring can be tough to deal with emotionally. I know the feeling deeply. But take time to remember all the ways in which you’re beautiful, and much, much more than your skin. 

Have you ever taken a no makeup selfie? No pressure, but this is as safe a place as any to try it!