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Popped: Adult Acne In The 'Perfect Skin' Era

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An illustration of a white person in profile. The person has long brown hair tucked into the collar of their dark blue shirt. They are wearing large gold earrings, plum-colored lipstick and heavy eye makeup in white, black and purple shades. There are pimples and acne scars along their chin and jawline, and three star-shaped pimple patches on their cheekbones that match the colors of their eye makeup. The background is light purple with white flowers. The text “Popped” is angled from left to right in the upper left corner.
Charnel Hunter

Dealing with pimples and blackheads in middle school is practically a right of passage. But when acne is a defining feature of your adulthood... it’s a whole different experience. Anita meets two acne content creators and a photographer who talk about the emotional toll of severe acne, the myth of normal skin, and the responsibility of being today’s skincare influencers.

Meet the Guests:

  • Patsy Chem, an acne-positive skinfluencer, shares the experience of getting severe acne in her 20s and how that shaped her social life
  • Peter DeVito, photographer behind the "Acne Normalization" project, talks about creating a safe space in portrait photography for models with acne and the ripple effect of those photos
  • Cassandra Bankson, a medical esthetician, model and skinfluencer, discusses how she handles the responsibility of challenging beauty standards while also reviewing skincare products and practices

Dig Deeper:

Cassandra's viral video and YouTube channel

NYT on adult acne

Jessica DeFino in Teen Vogue onthe myth of "normal skin" and in Vanity Fair on dermatology’s biggest rule that was meant to be broken

Patsy Chem on accepting her acne

Read the transcript | Review the podcast

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Gabriela Glueck is a producer for Embodied, a weekly radio show and podcast about sex, health and relationships.
Kaia Findlay is the lead producer of Embodied, WUNC's weekly podcast and radio show about sex, relationships and health. Kaia first joined the WUNC team in 2020 as a producer for The State of Things.
Anita Rao is an award-winning journalist, host, creator, and executive editor of "Embodied," a weekly radio show and podcast about sex, relationships & health.