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“Acne was one of my biggest secrets, until I entered a modelling competition”

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Hollie Richardson
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Campaigner Louise Northcote used to mask her acne, until she decided to #FreeThePimple. She spoke with Stylist about why you too should embrace the pimple as part of Acne Awareness Month. 

As a backlash to the shame women are made to feel about having less-than-perfect skin, there’s been rise in support of skin positivity over the last couple of years. 

Instead of letting skin conditions like acne continue to negatively affect our mental health, campaigners like Louise Northcote are using social media to champion all types of skin. After living with acne all her life, Northcote’s #freethepimple campaign is helping others to embrace the skin they’re in and help normalise a classic beauty taboo.

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“I’ve stuck turmeric on my face, turned myself yellow for two days,” says Northcote, reflecting on the lengths she went to try and improve her self-esteem while growing up with acne. 

“Acne was kind of one of my biggest secrets,” she continued. “Makeup was my mask and I would put on foundation even to walk down to talk to my family in my house. And it affected my mental health so much, I kind of shut down as a person. It affected me going out with friends. If I had loads of acne all over my face, I didn’t want to go to a lecture at university.”

But the turning point in accepting her acne happened when Northcote entered a modelling competition.

“The first challenge was to take off all your makeup and when it came to the airing I was extremely terrified of what anyone would say,” she recalls. “I took a makeup-free selfie and I decided to post my story.”

This is when #freethepimple was born, and the positive response Northcote received proved what a prevalent problem skin confidence is among women and men.

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“I just thought, ‘You’ll get the horrible comments’. However I think I’ve been very lucky and I’ve actually got nothing but love and support,” she continues. “It’s made me be more open and want to share my story even more. I’ve gained a lot more confidence, I used to wear makeup as a mask, now I wear it because I enjoy wearing makeup.”

Follow Louise and join the #FreeThePimple campaign @lounorthcote.

Images: Stylist

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Hollie Richardson

Hollie is a digital writer at Stylist.co.uk, mainly covering the daily news on women’s issues, politics, celebrities and entertainment. She also keeps an ear out for the best podcast episodes to share with readers. Oh, and don’t even get her started on Outlander…

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