We Talked To Three Skinfluencers About Why They Finally Quit Using Instagram Filters

Meet some of the leaders of the acne positive movement.

We Talked To 3 Skin Influencers About Why They're No Longer Using Instagram Filters Shutterstock / ShotPot

Acne positivity influencers are reshaping beauty standards by creating a trend we can all get on board with: natural skin. 

Tired of filtered selfies and warped perceptions of what beauty means, acne-positive influencers are embracing the changes our skin goes through overtime. Some might call them flaws or imperfections, but for the ladies wearing their acne proudly, these blemishes are not something to be criticized. 


Nor are these posts necessarily intending to celebrate acne. Instead, acne positivity is about recognizing that, whether we like it or not, acne exists and it shouldn’t be something anyone feels embarrassed of or pressured to hide.

Meet the 3 acne-positive influencers going bare-faced on the ‘gram and see what they have to say about confidence, self-love, and natural skin. 

Maia Gray who posts her acne positive content on her aptly titled @its_just_acne account ditched filters and editing apps last September and hasn’t looked back. 

“I stopped using filters altogether because I want to be a positive voice for people,” she says. “I want to show people that it is okay to remove the filter. None of us need filters to look and feel beautiful and this is the message I want to spread around social media.”


Gray has been dealing with acne since her early teens and after experiencing intense bullying in school for many years, starting her Instagram account was an opportunity to reclaim her confidence.

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Given how little we see real skin in the media and online, it’s understandable that someone would feel discouraged from sharing their acne online but Gray insists that this should be normalized. 

“It's sad that sharing a specific skin condition is deemed as a 'brave' thing to do. It should be something that is a normal thing to do,” she says. “Acne is beautiful and will never be something that will define an individual.”

Patsy Chem who goes by @cystur on Instagram, initially struggled with her mental health when she first got cystic acne.

“I got to a point where I would avoid mirrors,” she tells us. “I learned how to do my entire skincare routine with my eyes closed so I wouldn't have to look at my own reflection. I avoided social interactions and if I did go out I would wear a lot of makeup or try to cover my face with my hair.”


Practicing self-love and embracing the parts of herself that once held her back was freeing for Chem. 

“This helped my mental health a lot as I was simultaneously struggling with an eating disorder, so attempting self-acceptance through this account has been really therapeutic.”


Once she stopped stressing about what others thought, Chem noticed an improvement in her skin and, more importantly, her mental health. The account is even helping her overcome her eating disorder. 

But Chem wants people to know that these acne-positive accounts are not intended to preach from a high-ground of confidence. She shares bad days with her followers, too.

“I honestly feel I've still got a long way to go with self-acceptance so I encourage people to not feel guilty if they haven't reached a stage where they can embrace their acne — because it can be really hard!”

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She has also found kinship with her followers and other acne-positive influencers, her ‘cysturs’ as she calls them, though she stresses that all genders are welcome to the community.

“The point of this community is to stand strong against the negativity and we find power in unity,” Chem says. “When someone trolls my photos there's always someone from the community that stands up for me and I think that's a beautiful thing, we always have each other's back.”

Bekki Jade aka @yours_sincerely_acne says the support she receives on her account has gotten her through some seriously turbulent times. 

“I get hate and trolls but that’s a small minority compared to the overwhelming amount of love I get on my posts,” she told us, “I have had a very emotional last six months after losing a baby and my dad, and honestly, I couldn’t thank the acne community enough. They have honestly saved me and kept me afloat even in my lowest lows.”


Like Chem and Gray, her acne used to infringe on every aspect of her life and self-worth.

“Prior to my account, my confidence was non-existent. I would wear so much makeup it’s honestly unbearable thinking about it, I was obsessed. I spent so much money on hiding any real aspect of myself,” she says.


“I honestly thought I was so ugly. I cried constantly and hated every aspect of myself.”

Following other acne-positive accounts helped her realize just how normal it is to not have the airbrushed skin we see in magazines.

She says helping others is just as fulfilling for her as it is for her followers. “I feel so empowered, by the fact I am constantly reminded by those who follow me that I am empowering them, which in turn empowers me.”

Having acne doesn’t make you flawed, unclean, or unworthy of confidence. It just makes you normal. 


The women behind these accounts are hoping to reshape not only how the media portrays skin, but also how we view our own so-called “flaws”. 

“I feel that this movement strives towards seeing a change in how we view beauty and standing up to the harsh beauty standards which we have been taught to accept for so long,” says Chem who notes that the media are slowly catching on to what real people want to see.

“It takes time but I feel that the media and brands are already beginning to appreciate real skin and I think the more we are exposed to real skin the more people won't be so shocked when they see it.”

As pioneers of this movement, these accounts are paving the way for a more accepting next generation, but systemic changes do still need to be made. “I am a firm believer that self-love should be taught in schools,” says Gray, “It should be a subject that is learned from an early age.” 


“Once we teach self-love into the younger, impressionable generation, the more people will be kind to each other and themselves and the more people will feel empowered within themselves.”

Casting judgment and shame on others for having acne is not only damaging but also completely unjustified.

“Having acne is normal. It happens to 90% of human beings,” Chem points out. “So how can we be made to feel bad about something that isn't our fault! I hope we can reach a point where we can truly be happy in the skin we are in — whatever that might be.”

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Alice Kelly is a writer living in Brooklyn, New York. She is a generalist with an interest in lifestyle, entertainment, and trending topics.