Our current social campaign, #AskYourselfie, has us interrogating the selfie. We're asking ourselves about the lighting, angles, filters and overall production that colors the final image. What is actually reality? Here, we sit down with one of our collaborators, skin positivity proponent, Izzie Rodgers, who often explores the idea of Instagram versus reality. Below, Izzie discusses the helpful-harmful dichotomy of Instagram and how she, as someone with acne, has figured out how to have a healthy relationship with her skin.
ZitSticka: How would you describe your relationship with your skin?
Izzie: My relationship with my skin since getting acne has not been a pleasant one. There is so much pressure to fit a form of perfection that is just unachievable. However since realizing this, I have grown a really strong relationship with my skin. I now see the true beauty in it and own my own skin for what it is. I may have spots but it doesn't affect my perception of or relationship to my skin anymore.
How do you think Instagram has impacted how you feel about your skin?
Instagram had a massive impact on my skin at the beginning of my acne; all I did was compare mine to everyone else's flawless skin. I think it can be a really dangerous place in terms of how it makes us feel about our self-worth, but it's only since converting to the self-love life I realized there is actually so much beauty and realness on Instagram, you just need to find it. I unfollowed everyone whose account impacted my opinion of my skin negatively and followed everyone who was real about their imperfections and made me feel not alone. So in short, Instagram can impact you badly, but there is so much good in it—you just need to find it.
Do you think society's approach to acne and other skin conditions is changing?
I think there is a long way to go, but I do see change. I think there is a lot of representation and openness in the skincare industry which is amazing. You see way more representations of people with real skin, but it's not normalized anywhere else. You would never go onto a clothing site and see a model with acne, which i think would just be amazing. It took me a lot of digging to find the acne community on instagram as we're not a known community.
You often explore the misconceptions that Instagram can breed, for instance, how lighting and different poses can indicate a level of perfection that isn't necessarily realistic. Why do you think these posts are important?
The response to these posts have been overwhelming. I feel like there is just a sea of women so sick of feeling alone in the way they look, when really they're not. Instagram can be amazing but also so toxic, if you're constantly looking and comparing your life to a moment of perfect lighting and angles that is going to have a damaging effect on how you perceive your own life.
Instagram was made to show off your best self, but we all need reminding that keeping that up is not realistic. I totally believe in posting your best self because that makes you feel good, but a little reminder that people do also have bad days can change so much.
What's something you wish people would understand about acne?
I wish people would understand the mental strain having acne can have on a person. It's something that has the ability to bring someone to such a dark place, yet it's not common knowledge.
There is tons of solution for the physical cause of acne, but barely anything for the mental struggle. Waking up everyday and looking in the mirror to see your face covered in extremely painful, lumpy sores is devastating to your confidence. It's true that I have found peace in mine, but I'm still recovering from the loss of confidence—things like looking people in the eye I still struggle with now. No-one will ever understand just how much acne can take away from you unless you have suffered from it. I have been through a lot of things in my life and I'd say dealing with acne has been the worst.