otrbristol | 31st May 2018

GUEST BLOG: Zinnia’s skin tips

Looking forward to some sunshine but worried about showing your skin?

Many young people may experience anxieties around summer with their body, particularly their skin. Check out these helpful tips from OTR’s Peer Navigator Zinnia.

  1. Check out the skin positive movement. #skinpositivity is trending on Instagram – all skin is good skin, but it can be hard to feel that way when TV, film, fashion and so on rarely represent skin which isn’t covered and smoothed out with makeup, lighting and/or editing. Same with many social media photos and Snapchat filters. With the movement, you can see lots of different skin with acne, hair, scarring, birthmarks, eczema, burns, stretch marks and other so called ‘blemishes’ and the various wonderful people that wear them.

  2. It’s OK to feel pants. All skin is good skin, but it’s not abnormal to feel pants about it too. As mentioned above, we are in a society that mostly sustains this idea that smooth, matte, unwrinkled, unblemished skin is beautiful and healthy and fashionable and desirable. It is understandable that the majority of people feel some insecurity with their skin! Don’t feel bad for feeling bad sometimes.

  3. Things will change. In my teens I was so self-conscious that the skin on my armpits was not smooth enough. I don’t think anyone has ever seen my armpit skin; I barely even see it myself. Now, they look much the same but my feelings about them are changed – this isn’t invalidating the way I felt before, but is a good reminder to me that things which feel big now might feel different in the future.

  4. Find others who you can relate to. For me, seeing someone else with a similar look to me is empowering and helps with my self-esteem. Maybe you have a friend, celebrity, or see someone on the street who shares your body shape/oily skin/height/hair type, and you think they look great. Particularly seeing someone confident and owning the feature I have felt insecure about has helped me feel more confident too!   

  5. Have fun with your look. Even if my acne is inflamed and raging, if I am wearing an outfit I feel good in, or have my hair styled the way I love, I instantly feel more comfortable and confident.

  6. Take back power. If taking away the mirror in your room makes you feel good, do that. If wearing no makeup feels good, do that! If experimenting with skin care or wearing makeup everyday feels good to you… again, do that! Skin ‘problems’ can make you feel out of control (because often it is) – so take the control back. Some things that make me feel good are: low lighting in my room when I’m reading before bed, covering inflamed spots with a face mask, and on other days going out in the sunshine with bare skin feels really good too.

  7. Celebrate your strengths. I’m repeating myself again: all skin is good skin, BUT you are not your skin. It doesn’t take away from your immense knowledge of dogs, your musical abilities, your kind and patient listening skills, how you always stay true to yourself!

  8. Remember the basics. I struggled with this blog, writing and re-writing it because I did not want to offer any advice for ‘how to change your skin’. That being said, there are some simple things that will make you feel good and might nonetheless help soothe it. Remember the basics of getting enough sleep if you can, staying hydrated and making some movement if you’re able. When my skin is super sore, taking my dog out to a green space can be really soothing with the fresh air and having my hands occupied (and away from touching my face).

  9. Reach out. Finally, if you are really struggling with experiencing low mood and negative thoughts around your skin or appearance, know you don’t have to experience it alone! There are lots of different ways you can deal with these feelings and emotions such as with OTR’s Resilience Lab workshops and Mind Aid group, speaking to a friend, making something creative, leading your own skin/body positive blog, the list goes on! Reaching out to others can be really helpful.