From Kim Kardashian to Alicia Keys: Five celebs spreading skin positivity

Skin issues are often dismissed as not much more than vanity, but in fact they have the power to knock your self-esteem, self-confidence and general mental health.

There’s still a lot of stigma surrounding things like acne, eczema and psoriasis because traditionally there’s a perception of ‘uncleanliness’ and they don’t fit in with society’s expectations for perfect, clear and glowing skin. That’s why it’s so important when famous face open up about their struggles with skin – it helps to normalise certain conditions.

Here are some of the celebrities who are leading the charge and being honest about the struggles they face with their skin, and why it doesn’t have to define you.

1. Kim Kardashian West

Businesswoman and media mogul Kim Kardashian West has been open about her struggles with psoriasis since 2011. It manifests as red, flaky patches of skin, in small or larger patches on any area of the body.

It’s a long-lasting condition which comes in ebbs and flows, and is something Kardashian West still speaks about dealing with today. She’s crowdsourced potential cures on social media, and often posts Instagram stories of her skin when it’s particularly painful.

When media outlets pick up on her skin when she’s had a flare-up, she shuts down any suggestion that she’s having a ‘bad skin day’ by replying: “It’s psoriasis all over my face.”

The fact that she’s been so open and honest about it – in a way that shows the ups and downs of living with psoriasis – really has been an inspiration for the many other people who are living with the same disease.

2. Taylor Hill

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Thanks to the shiny veneer of social media, everyone can seem impossibly perfect and this can only serve to make you feel worse about yourself. That’s why it’s important when people with a big following show that no, not everything is always as it seems on Instagram.

Victoria’s Secret angel Taylor Hill doesn’t try to hide her acne. She tells Allure: “I’ve struggled for a long time, probably since I was 15, because of make-up, travel and hormones. I get my really bad breakouts around my period.”

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She often posts unretouched photos on Instagram. Sure, it helps that she’s outstandingly gorgeous, but it still shows that having acne doesn’t equate to ugliness or unworthiness. Hill knows the power of celebrity so tries to use hers to spread realness and positivity.

“Everybody’s retouching their images like crazy and it’s not really fair to the girls. I’m not perfect and I don’t try to be,” she tells the magazine.

3. Cynthia Nixon

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Actor and activist Cynthia Nixon struggles with rosacea, and knows just how much your skin can affect you internally. “I think we all know this: when our skin looks bad, we just feel bad about ourselves. For whatever psychological reason, we value clear skin. And for me personally, when my skin is looking good, it just makes it that much easier to go out in the world and feel confident, and feel that people aren’t looking sideways at me,” she tells Marie Claire.

In interviews, she’s been upfront about her experiences, saying she used to scrub her skin in an attempt to clean it – only to later learn this was just irritating it. “I feel like rosacea is just one of those things that can be such a downer. It’s such an impediment to looking your best and feeling your best. But the good news is that once you know what it is and once your doctor tells you the right course of treatment to do, it really is pretty simple to deal with in most cases,” she says.

4. Daisy Ridley

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Star Wars actor Daisy Ridley has endometriosis, a condition where tissue, similar to that on your womb, grows elsewhere. Endometriosis can manifest itself in a lot of ways, and a lot of women experience chronic pain as a result of it. Ridley has given the condition greater visibility by talking about her experiences. One thing people might overlook is how it affects your skin.

In 2017 she told Elle Australia: “I was in my flat going nuts, and then my skin got really bad in the stress of it all, and I hadn’t been well – I had holes in my gut wall and stuff – and we were trying to figure out what to do with that because I’d felt poorly.”

She’s now deleted her Instagram account, but she once posted a selfie wearing a clay mask, describing how her skin was bad because of her diagnosis with polycystic ovaries.

She wrote: “I can safely say feeling so self conscious has left my confidence in tatters. I hate wearing make-up but currently I don’t want to leave the house without it on. HOWEVER PROGRESS IS BEING MADE! My point is, to any of you who are suffering with anything, go to a doctor; pay for a specialist; get your hormones tested, get allergy testing; keep on top of how your body is feeling and don’t worry about sounding like a hypochondriac.”

5. Alicia Keys

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Unlike some of the other women on this list, Keys isn’t struggling with a particular skin condition. Instead, she’s empowering because she promotes skin positivity by not wearing make-up – something which is surprisingly rare among famous women (and, indeed, women in general).

Keys stopped wearing make-up back in 2016. She writes in Lenny that before this: “Every time I left the house, I would be worried if I didn’t put on make-up: What if someone wanted a picture?? What if they POSTED it??? These were the insecure, superficial, but honest thoughts I was thinking. And all of it, one way or another, was based too much on what other people thought of me.”

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The singer realised this was messing with her mental health, so she stopped putting on make-up, and is regularly seen fresh-faced on social media, on the red carpet and in photoshoots. She says: “‘Cause I don’t want to cover up anymore. Not my face, not my mind, not my soul, not my thoughts, not my dreams, not my struggles, not my emotional growth. Nothing.”

Of course, if you want to wear make-up and that makes you feel good, go for it, but don’t feel like you have to just because society calls for it.

- Press Association

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