On July 28, 2015 By Andrew Hogg In Uncategorized

For those media savvy types out there, you may well have seen this video created by vlogger Em Ford entitled “You look disgusting”. A video in which she shows her natural face, free from any artificial embellishments but badly ravaged by acne- so far

Em Ford- before and after

Em Ford- before and after

it has built up over 10 million hits. Appended to this are the many less than flattering (more like vitriolic) comments that she received on her blog from all the haters out there about the state of her appearance. She then proceeds to skilfully cover up her skin flaws through her well rehearsed makeup routine- the result, a stunning complexion on a beautiful face.

With these changes came further comments- some of support, but many still of derision. The video is an apparently well meaning attempt to discourage body shaming and encourage acceptance of our various imperfections.  I see many young people with acne among other disfiguring problems and I would certainly agree with it’s  sentiments.

It seems however that many people don’t share this opinion. The outcome of social media campaigns can be notoriously difficult to predict and are frequently hijacked as demonstrated by the New York Police department and their catastrophic public relations gaffe #myNYPD.



In our example, the internet has responded with it’s own hashtag #dontjudgechallenge which is now trending on Twitter and Instagram. Browsers are awash with parodies of the original video where the subjects post footage of themselves with comical drawn on mono-brows, acne and various other imperfections only to wash them away and reveal their real beauty.

The mocking tone behind these parodies seems a little misguided- are they poking fun at people with acne? Are they angry with Em Ford’s original post- condemning her desire to cover up, surely this is her prerogative? Or are people just jumping on the narcissistic selfie bandwagon? Maybe it’s a bit of all three. Clearly many were offended by this and the backlash now has it’s very own retort in #beautyInallchallenge where users share pictures of their acne, stretch marks and various other things that celebrities like to get airbrushed out, it’s a commendable response all in the name of self acceptance.

So what have we in the cosmetics business got to say about all this electronic tittle-tattle? To many of the grow old gracefully brigade, we are part of the problem- people should accept their imperfections and learn to love themselves warts and all. As a GP however, I have seen first hand the devastating impact that that “minor” things like acne can cause. Clearly much of this angst is due to societal pressures- we don’t come out of our mothers womb worried about bingo wings (well, if we had them we wouldn’t). Some concerns however are clearly caught up with mental illness, be it anxiety issues, depression or personality disorders- to the untrained uncaring eye, every client is a pot of cash waiting to be emptied, regardless of the consequences for that person. The mark of a good professional is helping to steer a path between these conflicting pressures and knowing when “no” is the right answer…….

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