I have eczema. For those of you who don’t know what that is, it’s a skin condition that basically makes for very very sensitive skin. Pretty much anything that looks at me the wrong way will often leave a scar.
Needless to say, considering that I’ve had this condition for years, I’ve accumulated my fair share of scars. From falling across the train tracks to any tiny acne blemish. I have my fair share of dark marks and scars. My face as well as the rest of my body is not perfect.
I used to be very self-conscious about my appearance with them, even going so far as to using bleaching creams while in high school. Mederma for many years was my best friend. And it improved the look of many of my scars. I’ll wait for my check, Mederma.
But around the last few years or so of my high school career and then further on to college, I kinda just stopped caring. My scars were my scars. And I had plenty of people that still found me attractive enough to associate with me and in some cases even date me. Clearly I wasn’t Quasimodo, meant to be resigned to a bell tower for my appearance. This renowned courage left me with a very strict and personal view of make up. I almost never wore it. And when it I did it was very minimal and usually just on my eyes. I never tried to hide the marks on my face. I accepted them. Albeit for the at times special occasion: prom, senior pictures and social club galas. But those were rare. Most days I didn’t cover my appearance. Not to mention when you have as sensitive skin as I do, makeup usage was heavily discouraged, I shouldn’t even touch the stuff for fear of a terrible break out. Make up was a dangerous cover up and one I just decided then not to participate in.
But as I got older, a reality set it. The ones on my face weren’t going anywhere. And in fact, they were only getting worse. The number of dark marks had increased from my teenage years and started to make me a little concerned about what I looked like.
Recently, my agency revealed that we would have company headshots done. These professional headshots would go on our website to promote not only us as an agency, but also us as individuals. Kids, it’s picture day.
This left me with a dilemma. Do I cover my marks? Or do I maintain my confidence and go without makeup?
Having a very client-facing role in my agency, my face is my first business card. And while many I deal with on a day to day basis have yet to douse me with holy water over a few patches of acne scarring, it’s good to always put your best face forward, right?
I suddenly felt a massive wave of self-doubt come over me. My forehead felt like nothing but a billboard for my imperfections.
It was with that in mind that I did something I hadn’t done in years. I purchased make up. I went to the make up counter (which is a scary and intimidating experience in itself) bought just one single bottle concealer and went on my way, but I did receive a free mascara gift.
I left the bottle of concealer alone for days. Not wanting to touch it. Not wanting to acknowledge or admit that I was using anything to cover up my face.
Picture day finally arrived and I finally settled into ‘putting on my face’. Just a touch of concealer and a little mascara. This is by no means the heavily painted face of a concubine. I just did a little something to appear just a bit more flawless. To put my best face forward. But admitting that fact meant having to acknowledge that the face I have without the veil, is less than perfect.
No one likes admitting they are flawed. No one likes having to admit that the face they have isn’t there best face. And while by no means am I saying that the make up product didn’t do its job what I’m finding unsettling is the feeling.
It’s that all too familiar female existential crisis: Am I pretty? But it’s even worse than that, this question is: Is the real me not pretty enough?
I don’t plan on slathering myself in make up anytime soon. Day to day, the few dark marks I have are there. They exist, they happen. But for special occasions, maybe I’ll go back to using it from time to time. I haven’t decided yet. I’ll let you all know for sure what my final choice is on to make up or not to make up.
Just remember to love yourself. Acne scars and all.