Instagram sometimes gets a bad rap for its perceived lack of authenticity. Everything's airbrushed, filtered, or Valencia-filtered. Skin is perfect, teeth are white, hair is glossy, and limbs are lithe. But there's a handful of influencers standing up and reminding us all that the things we see on IG are usually only a very small part of someone's life. Influencer model Belle Lucia is one of them.
Lucia recently posted a before-and-after shot of her acne journey, and the post went viral. In the caption, the baby-faced model opened up about her skin struggles how they've affected her life career. It was raw, real, and relatable. That's why we decided to ask her a few questions about it—including what drove her to post this in the first place, what she learned as a result, and how she cares for her skin.
BYRDIE AU: What was it that made you decide to go ahead with the Instagram post?
BELLE LUCIA: I wanted to show young girls and boys that "models" like myself are not perfect. I know a lot of people look up to me and probably compare their lives to mine, so I wanted to show something real and hopefully help others feel to okay about their flaws.
BYRDIE AU: How did you respond to negative feedback on the post?
BL: I don't think it's productive to respond to negativity. I usually leave it, or if it's bullying, I'll delete the comment. There will always be people out there who see the negative, no matter what I post.
BYRDIE AU: What's your take on Instagram in general? Do you like to curate your feed or keep it as close as possible to your authentic self?
BL: I really love Instagram; it's opened up so many doors for me. I love being creative with what I post and being inspired by others. But like all things in life, there are negatives that come with it, such as cyberbullying and addiction. In general, though, I love it. I never thought I would have such a large platform. I've always posted what I've wanted to post and stuck to my authentic self. I wouldn't ever post something that isn't me. That's why you wouldn't see me advertising protein powder—because I don't eat it!
BYRDIE AU: You say that Roaccutane was what eventually cleared your skin—were there any other products that helped?
BL: Roaccutane is usually a last-resort medication. It's not to be taken lightly, and all other options should be tried before taking it. Before that, I had tried the contraceptive pill, topical creams, diet changes, ointments, and three different antibiotics, but my acne was aggressive. Both of my parents had cystic acne, so it runs in my family. It doesn't have much to do with my diet or hormones—just my skin type, I believe.
BYRDIE AU: How did your body react while on Roaccutane?
BL: Luckily I didn't experience any negative side effects (apart from dry lips; nothing a good lip balm can't fix). But before I went on the drug, I was informed of the severe side effects I could have faced, such as depression, permanent liver damage, birth defects, hair loss—the list goes on. I was lucky to not experience any of these.
BYRDIE AU: How did you look after yourself while you were on Roaccutane?
BL: My dermatologist put me on a low dose so the side effects would be minimal. I did avoid the sun at all costs throughout my treatment, and I needed to undergo blood testing every month to check if my liver was functioning like normal. I took vitamin E internally to combat the dryness and used a lot of moisturizer throughout my treatment. I think I also used a whole tube of lip balm a day!
BYRDIE AU: What does your current morning skincare routine look like?
BL: I don't like to wash my face too often because I don't want to strip my face of natural oils. In the morning, I'll usually wash my face with water only, and I use sunscreen every day.
BYRDIE AU: And what about your evening routine?
BL: My evening skincare routine is a little more complicated. I'll start with a cleanser, and every few days, I'll use either use a face mask or face scrub. I use toner followed by a light moisturizer, eye cream, and always sleep with a very thick layer of lip balm on (I don't know why I still do this—I think it's a habit). Most importantly I'll never go to bed with makeup on, no matter how tired I am.
BYRDIE AU: What holy-grail skincare product can you not live without?
BL: Sunscreen. I think it's the most important skincare product you can have, and it's usually quite cheap.
BYRDIE AU: What about your diet? Do you try to eat with skin health in mind?
BL: I feel like I have a very standard Mediterranean diet. I don't follow anything crazy, I just try to keep my portions in check. I'm a big foodie, so I could never cut things out. I grew up eating a Mediterranean diet and feel like it naturally contains a lot of foods that nourish my skin like olive oil, dark leafy greens, and lots of fish. I love seafood, so I eat a lot of that too.
This story was originally published on Byrdie AU and as since been updated by Kaitlyn McLintock.