Honest Talk: The Pursuit of “Perfect” Skin

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Honest Talk

Assorted Makeup

Even after two years of discovering and using green beauty products, I don’t have perfect skin. That’s the honest truth.

Don’t get me wrong, I have definitely come a long way in terms of how my skin looks. My skin is absolutely more balanced and less prone to acne than on a non-green routine. I feel more confident in myself than ever before. But I still could go on and on about the things that are in my way of having perfect skin: acne scars, large pores, unwanted facial hairs, and rough and textured blemishes that won’t go away no matter what I do.

I think the hardest thing to grasp is that our individual pursuit of perfect skin is faced with so many obstacles. Yes, one of those obstacles might be that g-word (genes). But it’s also the environment we live in, our diet, our health, and our stress levels.

Plus the most scary thing is, we live in a world where every part of our body and complexion is scrutinized under the largest magnifying glasses you can think of. We get beauty magazines that publish toxic articles on which body parts you need to fix immediately (or risk being unattractive) or at least make better through products. On top of that, we read critical comments about the shape of our eyebrows and the cuticles of our nails. Our cuticles! But nothing hurts more than feeling the social pressure of having terrible skin. You might not actually hear those things said about you but, somehow inside, you internalize the anxiety and the doubt. Even worse, you might take that negativity and apply it to someone else, in real life or on the internet.

I’m extraordinary lucky to surround myself with friends and family who don’t care about those things and have told me they don’t care on multiple occasions. If I could give you one piece of advice about beauty, it would be that surrounding yourself with people who think the best of you (even without makeup), is better than any product you can buy out there.

I would say that the pursuit of perfect skin is not always fruitless nor is it something we should feel ashamed about. There is nothing wrong with chasing “flawlessness,” or wanting to heal your skin through skincare products. If you found something that changed your skin for the better, that’s incredible! I’m thrilled for you and I would love to know which product has helped you. But overall, I think it’s healthy to make sure your relationship with your skin and the products you use is something you are happy about.

So think about it! Sip on some coconut water, eat some watermelon, and try not to worry about how your skin looks this summer or ever. It’s what I’ll be doing.

Please feel free to chime in with your thoughts and comments in the comment box! How do you feel about your relationship to your skin? Have you tried to achieve perfect skin through products or other means?  I would love to hear what people think about this topic and I promise this is a judgment-free space. 

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The Author

Brooklyn-based natural and organic beauty writer.

26 Comments

  1. What a amazing post & topic one that should be talked about more, Hats down too you for writing this lovely piece.
    I just like you struggle a lot with Acne in my early days and still do as I have acne pore skin. The way I have achieve perfect skin is my treating it form the inside out. Having a high diet of greens, fruits, water, no animal products has made a big impact and I combine this with simple natural skin care products . also drinking loose leaf tea and adding it to my own beauty routine by making home mist and steam facials has help to keep it balance inside & out >. 🙂

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    • Thank you so much for your comment! It really means a lot to me that you read and enjoyed it. I love that you try to treat your body inside and out with good things and loose leaf tea too! I love loose leaf tea too and I am trying to drink more green tea everyday. Do you have any teas you are loving in particular that I need to check out?

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      • I been loving Teavana summer tea edition ( cucumber melon cooler green tea- very refreshing & strawberry lemonade herbal tea & raspberry riot lemon mate tea – a nice treat for a warm day, wild orange Blossom herbal tea -is great for facial steam , morning tea ) 🙂 love these for their antioxidant & staying hydrated

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      • Oh yum! One of my friends have been introducing me to mate teas, a yerba mate, so that raspberry riot lemon tea sounds really good! Thank you so much for your suggestions – I’ll try to get myself to a Teavana soon so I can check them out.

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  2. Great post! I’m lucky that my skin isn’t very breakout-prone anymore, but I still think there’s this pressure that EVERYONE should be striving to better their skin. My biggest “issue” is under eye circles, but I also tend to fall prey to products that claim to brighten the skin and refine pores. Not that internal factors don’t matter as well! I’ve yet to find an eye cream that can compare to a good 8 hours of sleep 🙂

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    • Caitie, I’m so happy for you! It really is an amazing feeling when your skin stops breaking out at everything. I’m crossing my fingers too because I haven’t suffered a huge breakout in months. Isn’t that pressure to have great skin so out of hand sometimes? There’s a reason I stay away from beauty magazines – I can’t stand it!

      Absolutely, sleep is the best thing there is! Thank you so much for reading and commenting.

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  3. Unfortunately, I used BCP back in the day so that I won’t be plagued by my sporadic hormonal breakouts. I was happy that it worked and for the time I was very relaxed with my skincare, i.e. didn’t care what I was using. Switching to clean skincare now still doesn’t guarantee me clear skin, but I can see that my skin tone and texture has improved a lot. Tho yes the hormonal zits still appear, but at least I know I’m not feeding my body artificial hormones anymore! xx

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    • Augh, I remember you talking about BCP and it made me want to never use it too! My hormonal breakouts can be bad so it might even be worse under BCP. Thank you for letting me know and I hope we both have more clear skin days.

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  4. Marcy, you speak the truth! I can’t say my skin looks perfection, but since leading an overall healthier lifestyle (relaxation, green beauty routine, some zzz, more veggies etc.) I feel naturally more comfident in my skin, and I’m not afraid to go outside with several zits ;D. Like you said, it also has to do with your entourage, surrounding yourself with positive and genuine people makes a huge difference in how we perceive ourselves. xx

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  5. michellegoesnorth says

    A little late joining in, but wanted to say that I especially loved this line from your post: “If I could give you one piece of advice about beauty, it would be that surrounding yourself with people who think the best of you (even without makeup), is better than any product you can buy out there.”
    I used to spend way too much time stressing over finding the right product. I would also get frustrated with all the different choices. There were so many options for each category that seemed so necessary…face washes, toner, moisturizer for morning and night, anti-aging specialty products, masks. It just kept adding up and got overwhelming. Once I started shopping around for natural products, I felt more at ease. I did not feel as though I HAD to have this arsenal of products in my bathroom. I also felt more of a connection with the people making the product, which also made the experience more enjoyable. And my skin is still behaving. 🙂

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    • Michelle, you are not late at all and your support means so much to me! I really loved the last bit of your comment – sometimes we do get caught up in a dizzying amount of choices out there but we really don’t need an entire arsenal of products. I’ve actually been trying to cut down on buying too much and really just go for products from brands/people I love and trust. It’s really freeing!

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  6. You hit the nail on this one, lady. I’ve been in a hormonal rollercoaster with my skin this year (I haven’t had a spot since summer 2013, but then it all went downwards). One time it’s really improving (sadly a very short period), and the spots are nearly gone and the scarring is too. And the other time (sadly most times) I just get a full face of tiny red bumps which just makes my confidence level go to below 0.
    Yes, my friends and family members don’t care, which I’m very grateful for. However, I just don’t feel good about it… I don’t feel good in my skin, looking in the mirror pains me during the bad breakouts and I am very conscious of myself. After all, foundation and concealer cannot smooth the skin out.
    So sorry for this rambly post, I just had to get it out here as I was just frustrated… I’m taking some meds prescribed by the dermatologists which I hope will help clear things up. I bought some Zinc and Cod Liver supplements and treated myself to some new (natural) skincare to fight blemishes. The game is on.

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    • Don’t feel bad about rambling at all! It’s what the comment space is meant for on blogs. I hope those supplements help you with your skin. Just recently, I turned down my Doctor’s offer of putting me on birth control pills because I didn’t want to make my hormones even more crazy. Drinking more water, avoiding caffeine/spicy foods, and using gentle natural products are also good things to do while you’re being conscious of your skin. I’m wishing you lots of good skin happiness!

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      • Thank you! I declined my Derm’s offer to get on Accutane – about 5 times now. Basically it’s something that keeps the bacteria and oil at bay (so I’ve been told). I’m a bit of a caffeine junkie (tea and coffee are my all), so cutting down on that will be a challenge. Happy to day that I think the Cod Liver Oil supplements and some minor skincare changes have really helped and I do see minor improvement. Saw your post on the ED4OLO Cleansing Oil and really want to try that!

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      • I’m so happy that you’re starting to see some changes in your skin! I think you would love the Cleansing Oil and your acne-prone skin might benefit from it. I’ve been using it regularly for months now and I have definitely felt like my skin is clearer, with a lot less cystic acne! It’s gentle and doesn’t strip away all your oils. If you get to try it, let me know if it works for you.

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  7. Marcy, perfect skin has been my struggle since I was 11. I started my period at that time (what’s that, 5th grade?!) and my hormones went crazy. My three older brothers struggled with acne, too, so I saw my future before I was even a teenager! I will admit that my skin has gotten a lot better post-college as my routine has become more stable (sleep, diet, beauty products, etc.), but even then, I get flare ups based on just what you mentioned — diet, environment, stress, travel — and it’s agonizing. I’ve embraced the fact that as an oily, acne-prone person, perhaps I will have a less agonizing struggle with wrinkles / aging as I get older, but doesn’t it suck to even have to think about that?! I’m coming to terms more with “this is just how I am” and learning to streamline my products and tailor my regimen to certain weeks of the month. I will never be one of those women who can use just soap and water or a simple moisturizer at night. But such is life! I hope to give you a hug soon and we can talk more about how annoying skin can be. 🙂

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    • Thank you so much for stopping by and sharing about your skin, Kim! I think it’s awesome that you’ve decided to just work with your skin when it’s being troublesome. Besides, when you stop worrying, you get more time to do pampering mask time and sip on wine and cocktails – y’know the real good stuff. I can’t wait to see you when you’re in town and give you a hug too!

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  8. caprinic says

    I totally agree with you on this Marcy. I think it’s more important to focus on what makes us feel good and surrounding ourselves with beautiful people who see past the skin, as it were, is one way to do it! If I find something that works for my skin, great, but I’m certainly not going to delude myself into thinking that perfect flawless skin is mine anytime soon…or ever. Just like you, my skin has done a journey and some days it feels as though it’s regressing but on most days I can say that I’ve come a long way since switching to green skincare. And that’s enough for me. I also believe a lot has to do with hormones, diet, genes, exercise and what have you as well as finding products that work for you- we all know what a trial-and-error job that is!
    Truly wonderful post Marcy. Thanks for sharing. xx

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    • Thank you so much for always being so sweet and supportive, Nic! I say “go you!” for being so smart and thoughtful about the products you use and how you view your relationship to your skin.

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  9. Marcy,
    Great read and thank you so much for sharing your heart and journey with us. Acne-prone skin can be a beast to deal with and a huge confidence killer. I’ve had my own personal battles with extremely blemish prone skin over the years. Good people in our lives make all the difference…people that love and celebrate us unconditionally, flaws and all. May we all be in the pursuit of being the best versions of ourselves instead of being perfect and expecting perfection from others when we’re not. Beautiful Marcy! xx

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    • Your support means the world to me, Brandie! I struggle with the idea of confidence even though I have breakouts on most days, but I love that green beauty is giving me a way to be healthy about healing my skin. Thank you so much for stopping by – Organic Beauty Talk is such a gift to the green beauty community so hopefully you never stop doing what you’re passionate about!

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  11. linda says

    Great post! While I luckily don’t suffer from acne, I think everyone has something that they aren’t happy about with their skin. As you mentioned, we’re all too hard on ourselves. Looking back at pictures from my younger days, I realized I looked wonderful…not sure why I used to always feel like my skin wasn’t good enough. I still stress a little…now that I’m older, I’m getting hyperpigmentation spots from sunbathing when I was younger. But such is life…I do my best and try not to focus on them too much.

    And your chinese mom line cracked me up! I’m Korean…my mom is typically the only one who comments on my dark spots and recommends that I see a dermatologist. Asian moms only want the best for us…but they don’t mince words.

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    • Thank you so much, Linda! I think it’s wonderful that you don’t feel the need to be critical of your skin. Go you! I bet you had amazing fun and memories from playing in the sun as a kid. Asian moms really are the best. It took my mom a long time to declare that my skin looks great – the journey was long but now I really am happy with my skin!

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