In 2023, we anticipate skin neutrality (and body neutrality) to make even bigger waves. No one is entirely safe from acne, breakouts, or other common skincare conditions — no matter how closely you follow your regimen or the latest viral TikTok hacks. For many, this reality can cause embarrassment and shame, which is why skin neutrality can help you be more accepting of your skin, flaws and all.
With skin neutrality becoming the new normal, we’re prioritizing healthy skin function over appearance. We’re putting an end to unrealistic beauty standards and the glorification of perfect-looking skin. We asked two skincare professionals to share their views on skin neutrality and clarify what it is, its benefits, and how to join the movement.
What is skin neutrality?
According to Krista Suter, RN, BSN, the founder of BLUR Aesthetics, a medspa in Middleton, Wisconsin, skin neutrality is just what it implies: taking a neutral stance on societal beauty standards surrounding skin. “This can include accepting and embracing any imperfections or differences in skin tone or texture without feeling the need to conform to societal beauty standards or expectations,” she said.
Board-certified dermatologist Dr. Anna Chacon added that skin neutrality extends beyond attitude. Not going overboard with your regimen plays as much of a role. Aside from “choosing a realistically neutral stance towards one’s skin troubles over an overly optimistic one,” it also means “adhering to a mild routine to enhance one’s skin health,” Chacon said.
The benefits of skin neutrality
Skin neutrality is more about loving your skin in its current state than actively trying to improve or enhance its appearance.
“By embracing and accepting the natural state of your skin, you can avoid the harmful effects of certain beauty practices that can damage your skin, such as excessive use of makeup, harsh chemicals, or extreme skin treatments,” Suter said.
Research shows that acne-prone individuals are more likely to feel unattractive or self-conscious about their skin’s appearance. As a result, this may affect their confidence levels and cause them to want to hide due to fear of their imperfections being seen. Suter explained that skin neutrality aims to eradicate toxic views on skin altogether. “The goal is to promote self-acceptance and self-love and to encourage others to do the same,” she said.
It’s different from skin positivity, which promotes the idea of glorifying our imperfections. The truth is, you probably won’t be thrilled at the sight of a fresh pimple or jump for joy when you have an unexpected acne flare-up. That’s where skin positivity becomes a slippery slope.
With skin neutrality, it’s okay to embrace raw and unfiltered feelings about your imperfections but view them through a lens that normalizes imperfect skin and removes all negative stigmas. Balance is key when it comes to skin neutrality.
How to practice skin neutrality
Preaching skin neutrality is one thing, but practicing it takes much more effort. Here are tips for gradually incorporating skin neutrality into your life, according to Suter.
- Unlearn harmful beauty standards. The first step to adopting a neutral skin stance is establishing that there’s no standard for beautiful skin. End all comparisons and realize that “all skin types and tones are beautiful,” Suter said.
- Embrace imperfections. Instead of beating yourself up over acne, scars, or natural aging, embrace what you have with no apologies. Imperfect skin is more common than people may think or realize — so it’s time we normalize it. This requires adopting the mindset that “everyone’s skin is unique and imperfect in its own way,” Suter said.
- Ditch toxic skincare treatments. If you’re trying every new TikTok hack or viral treatment under the sun to perfect your appearance, you might be wasting your time. Glass skin is not a marker for healthy skin. Before trying a new treatment or product, consult with a skincare professional.
- Prioritize self-care. Another key to healthy skin is maintaining healthy self-care habits. You can start by drinking a lot of water, eating a balanced diet, and getting enough sleep.
- Accept compliments. Compliments are a confidence booster. What you think matters more than what others think of you, but it never hurts to acknowledge nice words about your skin (or otherwise).
Skin neutrality: The epitome of loving the skin you’re in
After today, we hope that you leave all toxic skincare views behind and truly embrace your skin in its current state. With skin neutrality, perfect-looking skin is no longer the end-all, be-all goal of a healthy skincare journey. Normalizing the fact that healthy skin may even look imperfect — and being okay with this reality — is what it’s all about.