Swedish Acne Influencer Showing Self Love Through Imperfect Selfies

Your voice cracks in the middle of a big presentation. Your body starts producing hair and odors from previously smooth regions. And the night of the big the dance you notice that annoying red spot right in the middle of your forehead… Puberty sucks.

And the worst part of it all? Acne. Whiteheads. Red dots. One or a hundred. In whatever form it took for you, we’ve all suffered from that acne affliction at some point.

Now, in my 30s, I count myself among the lucky ones that have the good fortune of only suffering minor breakouts from time to time.

But it wasn’t always clear skin and rainbows.

I graduated high school with an almost blemish-free record and it seemed I had finished that transition from boy to man we call puberty. Kids in high school could be so cruel, especially to the kid with zits…I counted my blessings that I wasn’t that kid. I thought I made it out free and clear…

I was wrong.

I was lucky enough to get hit by late teen/ early adult acne….and it sucked. For my 19th birthday, the only present I got was f’cking acne. I can’t necessarily remember graduation (I was high), or the finer details of losing my virginity….but I can remember this experience so clearly. Maybe that’s due to my extreme vanity, or the lasting years of trauma that resulted, but the memory – unlike my skin at the time – is clear as day.

I woke up with a zit. OK, I thought…I could get through this. So, like any 19-year old guy naïve to serious skin issues I popped that sucker using my dirty, grimy teenage thumb and index fingers as medical instruments and went along my merry day.

Little did I know then that this experience would prove to be just the beginning of my battle with acne. And I’m not talking about a pimple here and there…I’m talking about real acne.  Sit in your room and cry because you’re too embarrassed to be seen in public acne.

In what seemed like the span of a week, that one zit became many zits and they didn’t go away for over 1.5 years. So, what changed besides skin tone, texture, confidence, and diminished self-worth? I managed to pull myself up from the floor, go outside and visit yet another dermatologist that actually listened to me and subsequently prescribed benzoyl peroxide. This changed everything.

Fortunately, I discovered ‘Acne Free’ – a more economical and stronger version of the $300 cream the Doc prescribed very soon after, which resulted in clearer skin and $1,000’s in savings. That’s the short version of my story, which has omitted anecdotal stories chronicling what would sometimes be weeks of my life spent living in acne treatment masks and dark rooms alone, refusing to go outside or look in the mirror. Then deciding to look in the mirror for hours upon hours, criticizing each and every inch of my skin. I was so unkind to myself and going crazy.

(For transparency, I’d like to make it very clear that this was not just a one and done appointment that lead to clear skin. I saw several dermatologists, tried laser treatments, detoxes, Cetaphil, Accutane, etc.)

The most damaging thing I can recall was the long days and nights I spent hiding out in my room, face inches away from the desktop computer screen, carefully looking over celebrity skin, male and female actors and models, etc.  I would question how they had such flawless skin with microscopic pores. I didn’t know how it was possible.

In hindsight, I don’t know what I would do if I was this same 19-year-old today. I scroll through my social media accounts and see nothing but perfect skin and bright white teeth. With social media of today, we put so much more of ourselves out in public – and be honest – we’re all judging every. Single. Image. We see. I may not be a model, but you better believe I have one or two tricks up my sleeve to make my skin appear a bit smoother on my Instagram account than it is in real life, a trick to hide that stray hair…we all do, and you’re either lying or in the minority if you don’t.

We’ve become so scared as to how people view us, that it has become so rare to see people celebrate themselves for who they are, as they are.

That’s why I love Sofia Grahn. Once I discovered Sofia’s Insta account, my 19-year-old-self jumped for joy (but, in truth, only after a moment of silence in recognition of the years of pain I endured suffering in silence in my room and head).

When I saw Sofia’s blemished skin, unedited, free from layers of makeup and multiple filters, it was a breath of fresh air. Rarely have I actually found someone online that I identified with and admired. It’s hard these days to find someone that really puts it all out there in this authentic fashion, showing all faces to life, not just the pixel-perfect version of ourselves.

And bravo to her. We’re the social media generation that put our lives out there for strangers to view, comment, judge….

Life is not perfect. And neither is your skin. So, when you need to find strength, bravery, and beauty look no further than Sofia.

With Instagram’s latest move to censor and limit the viability of photoshopped images, we hope to see many more REAL influencers like Sofia on The Gram.. and other platforms.


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Me N my strawberry cheeks🍓 . I’m clearly delusional wearing sneakers and a dress in the midst of January. I’m archiving this look for spring though🍒Hope you all had a lovely start to your week. I’ve really been trying to get my inspiration, motivation and drive to be creative recently and today I finally felt like I took a step out of that pit of feeling “meh” about everything. I really really want to branch out, so I guess this is it! . And another question for you if you made it this far: What other platform(s) would you like to see me on?📱I really want to expand my presence on the World Wide Web, so please let me know🤍 . #skinpositivity #acnepositivity #acnepositive #skinpositive #skinneutrality #acne #ootd #fashion #makeuplook

A post shared by SOFIA GRAHN⚡️ (@isotretinoinwiths) on


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Christmas time. My skin and I, one year apart🎁 . These throwbacks always makes me feel some type of way. Christmas time is wonderful, but it can also be difficult for a lot of reasons. It can be a harsh reminder of loneliness. It can be something that makes you compare your position in life with people from your that you’re suddenly making small talk with. For someone with acne you might have a lump in your chest knowing that you’ll meet people that you haven’t met since your skin flared up again. You might be going over worst case scenarios of having to have conversations surrounding your skin. . Unsolicited advise . Hearing about that diet your relatives daughter tried that you simply just “have to try yourself” because “sugar and dairy really is the devil” . You might be dreading to simply leave your comfort zone of your home . You might wonder if this full coverage foundation will ensure not having your skin being a topic of conversation . Christmas time is wonderful, but it can also be a struggle to get through when you’re coping with hardship, whether that hardship actually manifests itself on your skin or simply something that’s going on within. . Whatever you feel serves you best this holiday, do it. There’s a time to push, and there’s a time to rest. Does it feel better to nod and try to change the conversation? I say do it. Does it feel better to put on that makeup? I say do it. Do you have the power to speak up? I say do it. . Last Christmas I put on a full face of makeup, this Christmas I might just not cover my acne at all. Simple because I’ve found so much empowerment in flaunting my skin – acne and all. But that does NOT mean that I’m any better this year around, it just means that I’m doing whatever feels best in the moment. And as for how to handle those conversations surrounding my skin, I really haven’t found one singular way to respond. But I wish for you to have some peace of mind this Christmas, not having to deal with those kinds of situations. And if not, just know that this holiday will pass, too❤️ . #skinpositivity #acnepositivity #acne #acnescars #skinpositive #acnepositive #normalizeskintexture #normalizeacne #acneawareness

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🦋Dear body, thank your for letting me stretch and bend when I needed more space🦋 . Bodies change and sometimes the costume that encapsulates our being can’t quite keep up with the changes, like seams loosening, revealing what’s underneath. It is a necessity for living that our bodies are able to shift and stretch through our lives. Though we are taught through society that our body should be something that is stagnant, forever young, forever free of any signs of living. For reasons that I’m not yet ready to share as of yet, I have fluctuated a lot in weight throughout my teenage and early adult years. My physical body have seen varieties of shapes and sizes and my skin stretched when it needed to, as simple as that. . A lot of the time I fall back on the thought that my body took the shape that it needed to when what I dealt with internally was larger than myself. They have a history, the marks that run up and down my thighs, they mark what I trudged myself through. I have stretch marks on my legs, calves, my hips, my inner thighs, my bum and my breasts. The marks on my legs decorate my muscles, the physical and mental strength that carried me up and down the hills of my life. Through these marks I know that what I am now does not have to be forever. So, all in all what does a few marks and scuffs matter when it means that I am able to stretch both physically and mentally? I am determined to live in my body, so if it looks well used after my time here, that’s more than okay with me🌍 . #stretchmarks #bodyneutrality #bodyneutral #effyourbeautystandards

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