SZA Gets Real about Struggling with Self-Love and Cystic Acne


This week SZA spoke at Dove’s Girl Collective and opened up about her battle with having cystic acne throughout her life. She says that with fame came the acknowledgment that she had to learn to love parts of her appearance that made her self-conscious, or she would be ruined in the industry. She struggled with it for a long time before finally admitting that her breakouts were a result of living a high-stress life filled with nights where she doesn’t get around to washing her face or she doesn’t drink as much water as she should. Eventually, acceptance became integrated into her identity—she was still her, even with a giant cyst between the eyes. She says that she still has bad days, but refuses, overall, to let negative self-talk define her and tries to be authentic with her fans about her experiences with the same problems they deal with daily as well.

For Further Reading

Speaking of being comfortable in your own skin, look at other great things being done to celebrate female body diversity. Check out Dove’s #GirlCollective Project.

Discussion Question

Have you ever let an acne flare-up control your social life, isolating yourself until the angry red bumps calmed down? Next time you have a flare up, ask yourself—if an amazing thing would have happened at this event, would it still have been worth missing it because of your acne? What would you do?

Action Item:

Consider all the people you know: how many of them have acne? Probably quite a few. Think about how it’s never the first thing you notice about them—because it’s not nearly as obvious to you as it is to them. Usually, it takes looking at someone with the intent to see covered up acne to notice that something is amiss. Next time you see notice someone struggling with acne, or self consciously picking at their face, try to pay them a small compliment, or strike up a conversation that makes them more comfortable.

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