Scars are not just physical. There’s emotional fallout when marks are left on your skin, and one woman is sharing her story to highlight the emotional stigma skin scars cause-and why it’s time for that stigma to end.
After struggling with severe acne on her face, back, and chest, Bianca Lawrence, now 24, was prescribed medication that was supposed to clear up her skin. Instead, some of her acne turned into keloids, which are large, scar-tissue growths that develop in some people when their skin is injured or damaged.
She tried injections and surgery to make the keloids less visible, but they caused Lawrence physical irritation and pain, as well as anxiety and depression. In an effort to feel better about her keloids and get others to stop viewing them as unsightly or negative, Lawrence began collaborating with photographer Sophie Mayanne for her body-positive project, Behind the Scars.
Lawrence tells Health that social media has helped her find a way to express herself and feel “free” with her scars.
“It took courage to post the first picture, but after the great feedback from friends, family, and people on Instagram, I didn’t feel as worried,” she says. “So many people who suffer with keloid scars have come forward and messaged me … It’s awareness for keloid sufferers who suffer in silence and also for others who feel uncomfortable in our own skin.”
While she hopes to change the way people view scars and convince people to look past them, she’s also embracing a new body positive outlook-one fueled by self-love.
“As long as I have self-love, I’ll be able to say I love my scars,” she says. “This is a new beginning, and I believe it’s a positive one.”
People Told This Woman There Was Something ‘Wrong’ With Her Face-Here’s How She Clapped Back
Right back at you, trolls.
Em Ford is a London-based makeup and skin positivity influencer with thousands of followers on YouTube and Instagram. She also happens to have acne. But unlike a lot of us who experience breakouts and try to cover up or hide blemishes behind photo filters, Ford puts her skin out there-all in an effort to fight this social taboo.
Earlier this year, Ford shared a makeup-free photo of herself on Instagram and revealed the uncomfortable questions people have asked her about her acne-prone skin. A lot of the comments from her trolls were condescending and critical.
“‘What happened to her skin?’ ‘what’s wrong with her face?’” she recalled seeing in her comments. “Well, I just cleansed, exfoliated, used a bucket load of serum and drenched my face in moisturizer. My skin is happy AF right now.”
Ford’s clapback asserted that there’s nothing ‘wrong’ with her skin or face, and she takes care of her skin health the same way many people do. Her acne is not a representation of what she fails to do in her skincare regimen; it’s a reflection of her approach to social media. It’s unfiltered, raw, and honest. And she’s not afraid to reveal her other imperfections.
“And since you asked, I have one eyelid which is 3mm more hooded than the other,” she wrote in her reply to the trolls. “A 1.2cm scar on my forehead. My left brow has a slight bald patch, the sides of my nose make it difficult to find sunglasses sometimes and my lips have a sharp Cupid’s bow. — What’s wrong with yours…?”
Too many people fail to realize that there’s a real person behind each Instagram handle-a person who might shy away from posting photos or expressing themselves because of insecurities about their acne. With help from people like Ford, there’s a platform to shut down negativity and start a conversation about acceptance.