#happyYOUyear: why ‘pimping’ your pimples is the next big thing

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  • Inspired by our favourite acnevists, looks like zit stickers are a make-up bag essential

    Words by Kerry Parnell

    Forget caking on concealer every time you get a spot, now it’s all about pimping your pimples by making a feature of them – popping a neon yellow star or flower sticker over the offending spot, instead.

    It’s not a Snapchat filter, it’s real life, as zit stickers have become the next big thing in beauty, inspired by the rising trend of online acnevists, who are out to make us love our skin, whatever condition it is in.

    The stickers work by treating pimples while both covering and highlighting them. Squish Flower Power Acne Patches, £10, squishbeauty.com, are the brand-new brainchild of UK model and body activist Charli Howard and aim to beautify blemishes while drawing out impurities. ‘The acne positive movement definitely inspired me to design something that made light of blemishes, rather than feel embarrassed by them,’ she tells Marie Claire. ‘I think we’ve grown up with seeing constant, overly-Photoshopped smooth skin and people just want to see reality. A lot of skincare products, especially for acne, look very clinical and we just want our customers to feel good.’

    Likewise, Starface Hydro-Stars, USD $22, starface.world, were launched by American beauty journalist Julie Schott, who says they aim to reverse the stigmatisation of spots by traditional skincare companies who are ‘looking to capitalize on insecurities’.

    ‘Pimples aren’t blemishes or imperfections, they’re part of having human skin. Starface is here to normalize acne and put an end to the idea that those with acne should ever have to feel less desirable,’ she says.



    Hydro-Stars, which will be available in the UK soon, are part of a growing movement online for acne positivity – where people proudly post photos of their break-outs, under the #acneisnormal. One of its biggest stars Em Ford, 29, became an online phenomenon in 2015 when the British beauty blogger developed adult acne and began showing her bare skin, blemishes and all, for before and after make-up tutorials on her blog My Pale Skin. Horrified by the flood of negative comments she received, she made the YouTube video ‘You look disgusting’, which went viral, racking up 32 million views to date. She now has 861,000 Instagram followers and 1.1million YouTube subscribers, and has worked with everyone from Kylie Jenner to L’Oreal and the BBC.

    ‘In the beginning, I felt overwhelmed. It took a lot of energy to step up and share my story,’ she tells Marie Claire. ‘But it quickly changed and every day I wake up feeling empowered by the people who now have the confidence to be themselves and to feel true beauty inside and out.

    ‘I’ve accepted that some days are going to be harder than others – regardless of what products exist to help. But now, I don’t let it stop me. I’ll happily hit the streets bare-faced. It’s the best thing for my skin and mind, and I work through it because we are more than just our skin,’ she says.

    Another original acne positivity influencer is Kali Kushner, of @myfacestory, who also began posting before and after shots in 2015 when she started suffering from cystic pimples, initially wanting to track the progress of her medication. ‘In the beginning I was shocked that people would want to follow me,’ says Kali, 24.

    ‘My content wasn’t the ‘Insta-worthy’ stuff we’re all used to. But looking back I can see why I was able to grow a following, because I was being real and vulnerable in a time that Photoshop and Facetune were at an all-time high. I remember scrolling through Instagram before I started my account and it didn’t feel like my feed was relatable, nor did it make me feel good; I wanted to be a part of the movement to change that.’

    The US poster girl activist has certainly done that, clocking up 67,800 Instagram followers and now working as an ambassador with trusted brands. She’s also up for decorating her break-outs. ‘I think pimple stickers, like stars and hearts are very cute and would help to further normalize acne,’ she says.

    You could say she gives them a gold star.

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