Over the last five or so years, we’ve witnessed skin conditions become decidedly less stigmatized than they used to be. For instance, in the early to mid-2000s, there were seldom resources that didn’t feel overly medical and difficult to relate to, and because social media didn’t exist yet, it was super easy to feel alone. Moreover, people with skin conditions weren’t represented in the media at all back then, save for maybe your depressing drug commercial here and there.
Now though, thanks to factors such as social media, we’re seeing a whole different discussion surrounding skin conditions; one that’s rooted in conversation and raising awareness. It’s been a long time coming, and there’s still work that needs to be done, but there’s no denying the progress that’s been made. And so without further ado, check out three ways that skin conditions have become less stigmatized in recent years.
Celebrities have gotten real about their skin woes.
This one has played a major role in how people perceive skin conditions, as it’s shown that no one—not even megastars like Kim Kardashian or Cara Delevingne—is immune to them. Kardashian, in particular, has been especially vocal about her experience living with psoriasis, even going as far as to pen an entire essay about it (with photos) for her sister Kourtney Kardashian’s lifestyle site, Poosh. Additionally, she frequently posts about her psoriasis on Instagram, whether it’s showing off a flare-up she’s having or demonstrating how she likes to conceal it using her KKW Beauty Body Foundation. By showing the world that someone as seemingly “perfect” as she is can have a skin condition and still be sexy and attractive, etc., has inevitably helped to lessen the stigma and show people they’re not alone.
Kim K. isn’t the only one, either. You have stars like Queer Eye’s Jonathan Van Ness, LeeAnn Rimes, Adele, Kristen Bell, Nicole Kidman, and even Kate Middleton, who have all been open about struggling with skin conditions like psoriasis and eczema.
Social media has been a game-changer.
Say what you will about Instagram but it’s singlehandedly helping so many people with skin problems to feel less alone in their struggles. Not only are folks using it as a way to simply put skin conditions on the map, but they’re also using it as a way to bring people together and form a supportive community. For instance, Holly Dillon is the founder of @getyourskinout, a platform dedicated to putting people with skin conditions in the driver’s seat. Every week, she shares a collage of #getyourskinout photos, which helps to spur conversation in the comments and create a sense of solidarity among fellow sufferers. Additionally, some people choose to use Instagram as a diary of sorts by documenting their ups and downs and the different treatments they try along the way. Ultimately, it’s become an excellent resource tool for people to learn from their peers, as well as a safe space where they can come to commiserate and feel seen.
The media has shown skin issues in a different light.
Dial it back a mere decade ago and medical brochures were one of the only ways people with skin conditions could see themselves represented. Now, thanks to the aforementioned factors, large scale outlets with major reach like Refinery29, Allure, and more are featuring folks with skin conditions and celebrating their spots and scales in hope of spreading skin positivity. From a beautiful photo series highlighting people’s personal experiences living with psoriasis to long-form essays about battling severe eczema, it’s stories like these that have helped to break down the stigma—and that are continuing to do so.
Aside from the personal pieces, publications are also making more of an effort to educate their readers about the signs, symptoms, and treatment options of common skin conditions, which can be super beneficial for those who may not have easy access to a dermatologist. It also serves as another way to showcase just how prevalent skin issues really are, as it’s a common misconception that not many people struggle with them.