Meet the acne-fluencers, empowering young women by showing real skin on Instagram
It’s time to get airbrushed, filtered skin off your feed
95 per cent of young people are affected by acne, according to the NHS. But when was the last time you saw anything less than filtered, airbrushed skin plastered all over your social media? These acne influencers are here to change that.
Dealing with skin conditions such as acne can seriously impact your self-esteem and mental health – but following people on social media who look like you and talk about their acne can help massively boost your positive outlook and help you feel supported, says Dr Don Grant of The Independent Pharmacy. The Independent Pharmacy has put together a list of acne Instagram influencers, or “skin-fluencers”, who you can follow for just that – and we’ve added some of our own, too.
Here are all the best influencers and Instagram accounts that talk about acne and share real skin:
Durham student Sophie Dove (@skinwithsoph) has 21k followers since starting her Instagram account over lockdown. She’s previously told The Tab she had just finished her treatment of Accutane, a medication used to treat severe acne, when she started uni. She said: “I had really bad scarring and I wore makeup pretty much every day during Freshers’. I wouldn’t ever go out without makeup.”
Kadeeja Sel Khan
After being reportedly dropped by a beauty company over her “skin issues” and speaking out about being bullied for her skin growing up and the impact this had on her mental health, acne model Kadeeja (@emeraldxbeauty) has amassed over 423k followers on Instagram and even won awards for sharing images of her skin alongside beauty tips.
Activist Lou Northcote (@lounorthcote) is the founder of the #freethepimple movement and Instagram account, which provides a safe space to help people openly post about their acne on social media. On her own account, which has 55k followers, Lou is documenting her experience with acne drug Accutane, which she has been on for eight months.
Salford Uni student Faye (@fayes_skin) has 15.5k followers, sharing her acne, “self-love journey” and skincare recommendations. She’s told The Tab she wants companies to be more inclusive with the types of people they use to model in marketing campaigns. “I just want to see more real people with real skin in adverts. Acne is completely normal but we’ve been made to think that you’re not beautiful if you have it.”
“Skin realist” Oyintofe Oduyingbo (@oyintofe.o) is a beauty influencer with over 3k followers. In a recent post, talking about her “real skin” with pores, spots and hyperpigmentation, she wrote: “If someone had made me understand this when I first started breaking out I would have felt a whole lot better about myself having acne. This is why I won’t stop preaching acne positivity and acceptance because I know somewhere, there is someone that hearing these things from me would help.”
Ella Gorton is a beauty therapist and makeup artist from Manchester, and has over 30k followers on her account @_myskinstory. The My Skin Story website says “acne took over Ella’s life” when she was 21 and affected her mental health, and she now offers advice to people struggling with their skin. She also has a podcast called Speak Skin.
Kyrie Green (@kyrie_g_) first developed severely painful acne last year, telling The Tab: “I went to the dermatologist and when I took off my mask she actually grimaced.” She now shares acne and skin positivity to her 21k followers, including showing her acne scarring and the true texture of normal skin.
Goldsmiths student Patsy (@cystur) studies Art History and preaches “skin neutrality”, calling her Instagram an “acne-prone appreciation zone”. She has almost 17k followers and earlier this year spoke to The Tab about the amount of retouched images on Instagram. “It’s cool if people use filters but we need more of an awareness of the fact that it’s not real. Seeing more makeup-free images on social media would create that sort of balance.”
American influencer Alexandra Breeze (@alexandra_breeze) describes herself as an “acne flaunter”. Her Insta is full of positive vibes and bare-faced selfies, which she shares with her almost 16k followers.
Haniya’s Instagram bio calles her: “A human who talks about her body, mind, and skin enabling others to find comfort in their own.” She shares a lot of positive, bare-faced selfies on her account (@thoughtsofhealing) to almost 2.5k followers.
South African influencer Monique Schreiber (@moniqueschreiber) shares photos from her life (you’ll be very jealous of her stunning holiday pics) whilst normalising acne. She was told by her dermatologist she has “the most aggressive form [of acne] one can possibly have”, and has been through “grueling” acne treatment which Monique says tested her both mentally and physically. She has over 36k Insta followers.
“Skin realness advocate” Sofia Grahn (@isofiagrahn) posts great fashion and very vibey pics all over her Instagram, along with some beautiful bare-skinned makeup looks that show off her acne and skin texture. She’s based in Sweden (so you KNOW she’s cool) and has almost 98k followers.
Seattle-based Katie (@asianacnegirl) posts arty and day-to-day pics, documenting her street style, skincare recommendations, and thoughts on acne positivity – all whilst showing her true skin and texture. She has almost 4,000 followers.