The skin-positivity movement has been around for a hot minute, but lately, more influencers are showing up on social media to embrace skin for what it is: imperfect.
Influencers Taylor Efford and Nikki, from Ugly Duckling Skincare, both struggle with acne. Through bare-faced selfies, product reviews and relatable videos that challenge society's expectation of perfection, these women are creating safe spaces online for young Canadians to feel comfortable in their own skin.
"I know how painful it is to struggle with acne, but half of that struggle is this big sense of shame that you have somehow failed to have clear skin. We rarely get to see acne in social media or Hollywood, yet acne affects millions," Taylor told Narcity.
"It is so strange to me how we have convinced the world that acne is ugly, or wrong, or dirty," she continued. "Acne is none of those things. Acne is complicated."
Acne is also not your fault. "You could be doing everything right, using the right products, eating well, and still have acne," Nikki said.
Still, if you do battle with mild or moderate acne, there are some products you can use to help treat it — and these influencers have a few favourites.
To start, Taylor typically double cleanses with an oil-based cleanser and a regular cleanser. "This just really helps get all the makeup, sunscreen and whatnot off, making a perfect canvas for the rest of your routine," she told Narcity.
One of Nikki's favourite acne products is the NEUTROGENA® Rapid Clear Stubborn Acne Cleanser. It has 3.5% benzoyl peroxide, and she says it's effective on both her face and back.
Nikki believes all you need to combat acne is a good cleanser, treatment and moisturizer. In fact, she's a fan of the whole NEUTROGENA® Rapid Clear Stubborn Acne Solution kit for its simplicity and affordability.
The three-step system helps combat three key signs of acne – in fact, the Rapid Clear® Stubborn Acne Daily Leave-on Mask can reduce the size, redness, and number of pimples in as little as four hours. The kit also includes the Rapid Clear® Stubborn Acne Cleanser and NEUTROGENA Moisture® Oil-Free Sensitive Skin moisturizer.
The cleanser and mask work to reduce the size and redness of spots, as well as the number of breakouts you experience.
The cleanser and mask are formulated with benzoyl peroxide, which kills and prevents acne bacteria to help treat and control stubborn breakouts. The moisturizer won't clog pores as it's designed to accommodate sensitive skin and prevent greasiness.
"I'm currently using it and loving it," Taylor told Narcity. "What I like most is how simple it is! I always find too much in a routine always upsets my skin, so it is nice to have three easy steps that actually work."
Dermatologist Dr. Renée A. Beach, who owns medical and cosmetic dermatology clinic DermAtelier on Avenue, stands by NEUTROGENA®'s Rapid Clear products. "Benzoyl peroxide is known to work fast, so patients love it," she told Narcity.
According to Dr. Beach, benzoyl peroxide decreases inflammation and sebum, so acne is less prominent. If you use it long term, it even has the ability to prevent acne.
If you battle with mild or moderate acne, you know treating it can be a challenge.
Nikki has a few words of wisdom to those who have had difficulties getting rid of acne: "Always remember your acne is not permanent, it will pass, the scars will heal and millions of people are going through the same thing as you are. And even if it doesn't clear, you are more than your skin."
"Pores are normal, texture is normal, acne is normal, pigmentation is normal," she continued. "Hopefully, we will get to a place where that is the norm and filtered skin is a thing of the past."
You can find the NEUTROGENA® Rapid Clear Stubborn Acne Solution kit on Amazon and at your local Shoppers or Walmart. It retails around $24.97 to $30.99. Before using any product, you should always read and follow the label, and don't forget to first test for sensitivity reactions.
To learn more about acne-fighting products, check out NEUTROGENA®'s website or follow them on Facebook, Instagram or YouTube.
This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.