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Throw Out Your Fancy Skincare Products, Justin Bieber Says Pimples Are Cool

Is This the Beginning of Acne Positivity?

By Cait Munro ·
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Remember that time Kanye West sent Kim Kardashian an email boldly declaring the return of tiny sunglasses, and demanding she dispose of all other manner of UV ray-blocking device? Well, Justin Bieber just did the same thing, except in this scenario, Kim Kardashian is all of us, and tiny sunglasses are acne. Yep, pimples. According to Bieber, they're cool now, so I guess throw out your fancy skincare products, just as Kim did with all those sunglasses bigger than her actual eyeballs.

Bieber recently uploaded a story to Instagram in which he alerted viewers to his own zits, captioning it: "Pimples are in." For acne sufferers, this is obviously great news, not to mention a long-awaited moment in the sun. While traits like thick eyebrows and straight hair have cycled in and out of fashion, acne is one attribute that has never, ever been considered remotely cool, despite the fact that it affects an estimated 60 million people in the America alone. Countless other so-called "flaws" have historically been rebranded as attractive on the right person—think Lara Stone-style tooth gaps and Cindy Crawford-esque facial moles—but acne has almost always been considered unappealing. So from all of us with less-than-clear skin, I say something I never thought I'd say: thanks, Biebs.

Granted, Bieber, who is actually a former Proactiv spokesperson, is far from the first celebrity to reveal he has blemished skin. Katy Perry, Kendall Jenner, and Lorde have all talked publicly about having acne, as have countless beauty bloggers, models and Instagram influencers. But he's definitely one of the first and most notable to try to rebrand it—even jokingly—as a positive, rather than merely a hurdle to overcome with veganism, prescription drugs, thousands of dollars worth of skincare procedures and products, or some combination of the three.

Fortunately, he's right on time, as calls for an acne positivity movement similar to the one that's emerged for plus-size bodies have grown louder in recent years. One notable pioneer is Malaysian fashion designer Moto Guo, who famously sent models down the runway at Milan men's fashion week in 2016 with blemishes. Some of them were apparently created by makeup artist Roberta Betti (despite the fact that there are plenty of models out there who struggle with acne), but nevertheless, they were there. And they certainly made a statement

The notion propagated by Bieber and Guo, that acne could be acceptable or even somehow cool, is also a refreshing break from and welcome backlash to our heavily airbrushed culture, perpetuated by Instagram and Snapchat, which encourages masking perceived flaws, rather than celebrating them. While it remains to be seen if baring blemishes will become a full-blown trend, a ringing endorsement from the likes of Justin Bieber is certainly a step in the right direction. 

Cait Munro is a freelance writer, editor, and digital content creator who obsesses about art, fashion, entertainment, and culture both pop and otherwise. Her work has appeared on Vice, New York Magazine, Artnet News, xoJane, BULLETT, and elsewhere.

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