Welcome to our NEW segment: The Confidence Club where we’ll be spreading positivity + self-acceptance, ensuring that all of you in our community feel confident no matter what.

For many of us, acne can be mentally and physically challenging. It’s something that a lot of us think only teenagers should have, but it’s not always the case. For Monique, her skin journey only started in her mid-twenties and, even now, she continues to experience breakouts; however, instead of hiding behind the camera, she uses her platform to encourage others to talk about their skin struggles.

We were so excited to chat with the lovely, skin-positivity, influencer, Monique Schreiber, who discusses her relationship with acne, her journey to self-acceptance and her mission to help others accept their skin.

Hi Monique, could you tell us a bit about yourself and your skin journey?

I am 26 years old, I live in Durban, South Africa, and am recently married. My skin journey started in 2019 when I moved back home after living in Cape Town for 5 years. At first, I didn’t understand what was causing my breakouts, but in hindsight I can now see that it was a mixture of hormonal fluctuations, poor skincare choices and stress. I travelled for modelling in 2018 and all these changes were sparked by that trip as it was a very challenging time for me personally. Fast forward 6 months, and my skin was all over the place. I tried everything under the sun but nothing seemed to help! Then finally, at the start of 2020, I decided to see a dermatologist and go onto Accutane. I wish I had done it sooner.

How has your relationship with your skin changed since starting your skin account @moniqueschreiber?

My account changed as my life changed. Before, I was sharing mostly about my modelling and my general lifestyle, but that quickly changed when I stopped and started getting bad acne. I felt like a fraud because I never shared about my skin, but after finding other creators on Instagram sharing about their skin, I felt encouraged to do the same. It was the most freeing thing I could have done for myself at that time. The support I received was phenomenal, and I no longer felt alone or ashamed of my skin. It also opened by eyes to how toxic beauty culture is, and how as a society, unattainable standards have been created and projected onto us.

What are some common misconceptions, comments, questions that you get about acne?

Some misconceptions are that having acne is a direct result of your lifestyle, which it isn’t. Yes, there are some lifestyle choices that could impact your skin, but that is not the case for everyone. I also often get asked how to treat acne quickly. There simply is no “quick fix” with skin. It is a process which you have to stay committed to, and find your triggers to understand how to manage it. Some people are genetically acne-prone, like myself, and you just need to make the necessary changes to manage it over time.

People often talk about the link between skin & mental health, what are your thoughts on this?

I firmly believe there is a definite link between skin and mental health. I personally experienced this while going through severe acne. I lost count of the number of days I didn’t want to leave my house, let alone my room. Yes, my acne wasn’t the prettiest to look at, but it was the physical pain I went through that caused me to become so depressed and anxious. And now, after healing my acne, I still live with the repercussions of the trauma I went through. It is a serious condition and not many people are away of the mental impact it can have on a person.

Self-care is so important, especially when you have a demanding lifestyle, how do you like to practice self-care?

As much as I love doing a face mask and taking a bubble bath in the name of self-care after a long day at work, I far prefer spending quality time with my husband and my family to fill my cup. I also really enjoy being outdoors in nature - those slow evenings watching the sunset, seeing my friends, and playing with our dogs are things that feed my soul.

What do you want to tell people who struggle with self-confidence?

You aren’t alone! I can tell you right now there isn’t a single human on this planet that doesn’t struggle with self-confidence. We all have something we wish we could change that we forget how beautiful we are naturally. Unfortunately, societal beauty standards have led us to believe that we are not enough, and that there’s always something we need to fix or change about ourselves. It simply isn’t true. You ARE enough.

And, finally, what does ‘beauty’ mean to you?

Call it a cliché, but beauty comes from within. The most beautiful people I have met are those that are kind, generous, considerate, loving, caring, and emanate beauty from their souls.