Acne Neutrality Is The Radical Self-Love Practice Opening The Floodgates For Skin Acceptance

A new kind of approach has risen to the surface of the self-love movement: neutrality. More specifically, acne neutrality, or the idea that we can reject traditional beauty standards and wear our skin as it is — flaws and all. While it's all well and good to be aware of the secrets to defeating summer acne or feeling comfortable getting real about butt acne, it's more important to prioritize self-love at the center of it all. In a culture that feeds off our insecurities, establishing a neutral relationship with our self-perceived flaws is one of the best ways to fight off insecurity.

If you struggle with acne, this one's for you. The physical neutrality trend started with body neutrality and serves as a gradual journey to self-love. Certified personal trainer and inclusive fitness expert Lauren Leavell told Byrdie, "Going from 'I do not like my body' to 'I love my body' can be a stretch for a lot of people. 'Body neutrality' offers a space to observe without judgment and forced positivity." The same goes for acne neutrality, which encourages us to embrace rawness and relatability, rather than erase something that so many people have in common with us. At the end of the day, most acne is caused by a buildup of essential substances in our hair and skin. There's nothing to be ashamed of.

Self-worth is not tied to our skin

Acne neutrality embraces the idea that our worth is not attached to what's on our skin, and morality does not only run high for those with a clear complexion. Our inherent worth grows when we treat people with compassion, lend a helping hand to someone in need, or stand up for what we believe in. Learning to compartmentalize our self-worth, which is internally created and maintained, from our external insecurities is one of the biggest steps in achieving physical neutrality.

While acceptance can often be confused with celebration (which we won't oppose!), it can also look like having an impartial or unbiased idea of ourselves. At the end of the day, our self-perception is riddled with childhood insecurities, opinions of others, and experiences no one else knows about. It is highly unlikely that a stranger on the street views you in the same ways you view yourself, and learning how to let go of that hyper-awareness can help you live a more authentic life.

Fixating on one thing can catastrophize it

Let us remind you that where attention goes, energy flows. The things we worry about most can feel a thousand times worse when we overthink, examine, analyze, reexamine, rinse, and repeat. Acne neutrality encourages us to identify an obsessive thought we may have about our skin, acknowledge it, and move on. Regardless of how you truly feel, directing less time, attention, and energy toward it will neutralize your position on it. Once neutralization is achieved, acceptance is next. We know it seems impossible, but it's a fact of life only witnessed when achieved.

Have you ever noticed that when one problem is fixed, you're no longer ruminating over the umbrella of problems it could create? That's because our energy has moved forward and found another spot to land on, and our previous concerns are no longer being fueled by fear and expectation. If you're someone who wants to create self-love and acceptance but your skin flaws are creating a roadblock, practicing acne neutrality may help you ease into that positive mindset. What we pay attention to is what sticks, grows, and becomes a part of us. If we get the chance to decide what defines us, let's not choose our insecurities or the things that we're afraid of.

Accept that nothing can be perfect

The idea that nobody is perfect has been recycled time and time again for a reason — it's extremely true. There is no part of us that was created with perfection in mind, and it is clear through human nature that we are bound to have flaws, insecurities, mistakes, and regrets as an integral part of us. If nothing else, acne represents the imperfections that remind us we are here and alive. Besides, when was the last time you glanced at a stranger with the intention of noticing their flaws? We'll answer that for you: never.

If acne neutrality is the newest beauty trend, we'll all be better for it. While you are entitled to hide your insecurities, you are also entitled to show your most authentic self to the world. Neutrality, love, and acceptance are all practices that develop through time and effort. The next time you're hyper-fixating in the mirror, we hope you remember what actually makes you, you. If you need some help, try following the acne neutrality hashtag on Instagram.