Depending on where you work, your appearance can play an unfortunate role in the way you’re treated at the office. Certain clothing or types of makeup might get you disapproving looks from your supervisor or coworkers, and in some workplaces, having acne can have the same anxiety-inducing result. Putting on makeup might temporarily save you from judgmental passing glances in the hallways, but no one should feel like they have to spackle on concealers and foundations for fear of being deemed “unprofessional.”
Acne has a much larger impact in the workplace than many people assume, as pointed out by Denver-based Instagram user Hayley Wester, who runs an acne-positivity account called @myuglyacne. On January 12, she posted a makeup-free selfie to her feed, and while that’s not a rare occurrence, the post’s caption had her followers feeling more seen than ever.
“Is acne… unprofessional?” she began. “Acne is something that one cannot control. You can try and cover it up the best you can, and sometimes people might not even notice you have acne when you’re wearing makeup! But… what if you don’t want to wear makeup? What if you want to go bare-faced?” Further along in her post, she revealed that she’d been thinking a lot about acne in the workplace because she’s on the verge of starting a new job.
She continued: “When I worked at the warehouse, it didn’t matter if I wore makeup or not because of the type of work I was doing. Now, however, I’ll be going into the medical field, and I’m nervous about people staring, judging my health because of my face, and judging my professionalism. I can’t help to think that maybe people in the medical field consider acne to be unprofessional. It’s a bummer, and even though my acne isn’t as bad as it was, I still have lots of scarring that looks pretty bad under different lighting.”
After asking her followers if they have similar fears or have ever been asked to cover their acne at work, people chimed in with some sadly relatable experiences. “In my personal experience in corporate settings, I feel like people treat me less than or like I’m a child because they associate acne with puberty,” commented one follower. “I could also be overthinking, but I notice a huge difference in how ppl treat me when I wear makeup.”