This Powerful Photo Series Unapologetically Celebrates Acne-Prone Skin

peter devito acne
peterdevito/Instagram

Acne is something that's usually thought of as that skin condition that plagued your teenage years with embarrassment. But did you know that 40 to 55 percent of adults also suffer from acne-prone skin? And yet, from what I remember, the media almost never portrays anything but smooth, pimple-free skin on both teens and adults. One New York City–based student and photographer named Peter DeVito set out to challenge that lack of representation with a new photo series.

  • The photo series aims to celebrate and empower real, unretouched human skin, and normalize having acne.

    Each photo is a close-up of someone's face and highlights that person's acne, with hopes of breaking the stereotypes of acne as "ugly" or "unhealthy."

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  • The close-ups also featur compelling words or sayings meant to signify people reclaiming their unretouched skin.

    One photo says, "Acne is normal," and another features the word "Retouch" crossed out. 

    One photo has the words "Drink water" on the lips, a shout-out to unsolicited advice that people give him. "Acne can't ALWAYS be treated by drinking water, eating right, or by going to the dermatologist," the caption for this photo says. 

  • DeVito, who has struggled with acne since the eighth grade, was inspired to do the series after coming across the body-positivity movement.

    "It is inspiring to see how people are starting to accept themselves and I wanted to create something that would help people who struggle with acne do the same," he tells CafeMom.

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  • DeVito started the series with photos of just himself, but soon moved on to other people's portraits.

    "I felt relieved," he told Elle about the first time he posted his unretouched skin on Instagram. "I don't know why this huge weight was on my shoulders."

    It seems to be that way for many others. "I love this so much because I have always been so self-conscious because of my acne," someone commented on Instagram.

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  • He hopes that his images will continue to "teach people to accept themselves and to stop comparing how they look to other people."

    Keep doing what you're doing, Peter!

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