Gen Z and acne stigmas alive and strong in the workplace

A new study by holistic skincare company, SkinB5 reveals the damaging beliefs about pimples, professionalism, and personal hygiene

Gen Z Australians believe pimples make you look less professional, and it’s impacting their confidence in the workplace, according to a new study from holistic skincare company, SkinB5. The research revealed that despite two thirds (67%) of Australians 18 to 35 having experienced problems with acne, 41 percent of Gen Z respondents believe having pimples makes you look less professional, while 32 percent believe acne is related to poor hygiene.

The survey of 2010 Australians over 18 also revealed that almost half (46%) of Gen Z admitted to having felt judged in their workplace because of a breakout, while one in four confessed to keeping their camera off during virtual meetings when they felt self-conscious about their skin.

“Acne has absolutely nothing to do with professionalism, your ability to perform a job, or your personal hygiene, but this January 2022 research shows us that there are some seriously damaging stigmas that still exist around acne, and we’re talking about perceptions held by adults, not teenagers,” said Judy Cheung-Wood, skin expert and founder of SkinB5.

“As a former acne sufferer myself, I know all too well how much acne can affect your confidence and self-esteem at any age, but the reality is, we need to normalise breakouts and champion skin positivity, in the same way that we’re making great strides in the body positivity movement.

“It’s shocking that despite two thirds of Aussies under 35 having experienced problems with acne in their lives, there is a group of these same people that hold very misguided beliefs around what acne says about you as a person. The reality is, acne is no different to any other health issue that needs to be managed, and it is not your fault,” says Judy.

Here, Judy shares her tips for boosting skin confidence whether at home or at work:

Audit Who You Engage With Online

“The research revealed that for many young Australians affected by breakouts, it’s social media and the influencers they follow that impact how they feel about their skin (61%),” said Judy. “While there is a huge and growing community of skin positive influencers, there still remains many, heavily filtered images that clutter our feeds and chip away at our confidence.”

According to Judy, if social media is where you turn to for skincare advice, it’s worthwhile considering an audit of who you follow, “Look for those who are authentically sharing their lives – not only their skincare journeys but their content in an unfiltered and real way.”

Shift Your Perception

Depending on where you work, appearance can still play a role in the way you’re treated in the workplace. Judy believes the way to tackle this head on is to start with your own understanding that acne is not something you can avoid entirely, but it is possible to manage and minimise its occurrence. “Much like stretch marks and puberty, acne is normal, so key to overcoming the fear of a breakout is to acknowledge that ‘perfect’ does not exist. This is essential to finding happiness in your own skin.”

Challenge your own beliefs

“When chatting to someone at work, be that via a virtual meeting or in person, it can be distracting to think that they’re staring at that red pimple on your chin and judging you while you present or speak, but the reality is they most likely haven’t noticed, and if they have, they’re certainly not judging you for it,” Judy explains.

“Instead of focusing in on what you think they’re thinking, laser in on the conversation and matter at work, and push aside the belief that you are being negatively judged,” she said. “Plus, if you’re on a video call, I can guarantee they’re staring at themselves!”

Test Your Confidence

“Makeup is a great tool for concealing breakouts but in a bid to getting comfortable in your own skin, gradually winding back the amount you wear will not only help to build your confidence but can also help to improve breakouts by reducing skin congestion,” says Judy.

“Be aware that too much of a good thing can put you in a vicious cycle of clogging your skin, then working to cover it up.” Judy suggests looking for non-comedogenic foundations that won’t block pores, or applying concealer or foundation more sparingly, just in the spots you need it, but not over the entire face.”

Good Skin Starts from Within

“Holistic skincare, such as SkinB5, that works from the outside in and the inside out, using dietary supplements, tackles acne both topically and systemically,” explains Judy.

Their patented formulation with SB5-BIOTRxTM combines the strategic use of high-dose vitamin B5, with other essential vitamins in an oral supplement is the first step to an effective 3 step system that helps reduce  acne from within. Vitamin B5 is a core ingredient that may help regulate the over production of skin oil, known as ‘sebum’. Skin B5 has patented a formulation with SB5-BIOTRxTM, combining the strategic use of vitamin B5 with other essential vitamins in a 3-step system to help reduce acne. “I know what it is like to suffer the pain of early adulthood acne – you feel so isolated and alone, wanting to hide and not show your face to the world. That is why I founded SkinB5, to help acne sufferers overcome this pain and gain confidence again to thrive.”