Choose Your Lens: The Myth of Perfect Skin


Brianne DuoIf you strive to be in front of the camera (or if you’re worried about your appearance for other reasons), there is something you need to know. Perfect skin doesn’t exist. Flawless skin is a myth. And trying to attain it is a waste of your precious time and energy.

Most folks in the skin care industry won’t tell you this, because perfect skin is exactly what they’re trying to sell you. But we are all smart gals. We are fully aware  how much the images of women are altered – Photoshop, makeup, lighting. We know how it works. And yet we still feel the pressure to fit the mold.

I understand that when your goal is to be in front of a camera, there is added pressure to look perfect. Once upon a time, before I was a holistic esthetician and created my own skin care line, I was an actress. And at the time what I felt held me back the most was my skin. I was never without acne. And I was aware that you never see a pimply faced actress gracing any sized screen. I just knew that if I could get my acne under control I would be unstoppable. No more self-consciousness.

So you’d think that when I finally healed my skin I’d feel great, right? Nope. Once my acne was gone, I became more aware of my melasma – hyperpigmentation that leaves me with dark splotches. Instead of obsessing over pimples, I obsessed over dark spots.

Even after I’d moved away from acting, I felt the pressure to have “perfect skin”. I thought I was so close, if I could just get rid of this one last problem, I’d be happy with my skin. But the thing is, there will always be “one more problem”. There will always be another thing to obsess over.

And this doesn’t just apply to skin. Weight, shape, size… is your nose too big? Boobs too small? Hair not full enough? Teeth not white enough? As long as you let your image dictate your self worth, you’re in a losing battle.

So, it’s honesty time. I am a skin care professional. I take good care of myself and my skin. I know plenty of skin care tips and tricks, and I do NOT have perfect skin. I still get breakouts (hello period), and I always will. I have days were my skin looks tired and worn out, days it looks splotchy. If I’ve been in the sun, my hyperpigmentation becomes more visible, even though I wear sunscreen. Changes in weather can leave my skin dry, which shows the fine lines around my eyes. And none of this is my fault. I strive to be healthy and help my skin when I can, but beyond that, my skin is going to do what it’s going to do, and that is ok.

Take a look at those photos. Those are the exact same picture. I used the HDR setting on my iPhone where it takes one “regular” photo, and at the same time uses several different exposures and combines them in to one high def resolution photo. I took them with no makeup, no primping, no fuss or hair fixes, using the light from my living room window, right after I got up from a nap.

One shows a softer me, with semi glowy skin tone, looking fairly healthy. The other brings out my splotchy skin tone, a few fading spots from a couple pimples, and makes we look more tired. The question is, which one is “real”? Which is accurate? The answer is both. And neither.

When I used to look in the mirror, all I ever used to see was the one on the left. I’d obsess over everything that was “wrong”. And I assumed that was what others saw too. But over time I let the baggage go. I let go of the idea of fitting some ideal. I’ve learned that others never look at us as critically as we look at ourselves. Now I almost always see a version like the one on the right. Nothing actually changed on the outside. I just started looking at myself with a different filter. I changed my lens, and I’m not talking about a camera. Most days I feel beautiful – and it has absolutely nothing to do with what I look like.

Ladies, remember that what’s reflected back to you from a camera is not you. Lighting, filters, makeup can change what you look like for a moment, but it’s not real. Connect with what is substantial.