Why I Decided Skin Stories Needed to Be A Thing
It cropped up suddenly on social media. It seemed like everyone I knew was spending hours in front their bathroom mirrors, undertaking complex multi-step Korean skincare regimens and glopping on serums, cleansers, sheet masks, snail goo, collagen, vitamin C, you name it, in pursuit of self-care.
As someone who’s lived with moderate to severe eczema almost my entire life—and who’s done a lot of writing about it—I was a little bit taken aback. How could moisturizers and creams be a trend, when I’d been using them for decades? But here’s the difference: for me, the goal has never been perfection, or dewiness, or staving off aging. Skincare hasn’t been my personal bastion against tyranny. It’s been medical and unceasing, and a necessary part of staying healthy and comfortable enough that my skin condition doesn’t stop me from leading a full life.
Our skin functions as an introduction: it’s where the self meets the world, and it projects out our identity for others to see. If we are to complicate the prevailing narrative about skin—to reveal it as another sort of cultural mythology that holds up a particular (young, white, texture-less) ideal—then we need to see and hear from people whose skin deviates from that prescribed norm. We need to know (and even deeply internalize) that the characteristics of a person’s skin are not a referendum on their worth or character, and that they’re not a barrier to a happy and fulfilling life.
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