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This Instagrammer documented her acne treatment with no-filter selfies — and her transformation is stunning

INSIDER logoINSIDER 10/4/2017 (Caroline Praderio)

kali kushner my face story instagram © Provided by Business Insider Inc kali kushner my face story instagram When most of us get a breakout, our first urge is to hide all evidence of it. We use foundation, concealer, and filters to disguise acne, for fear that others might notice — and judge — even the tiniest blip in our complexions.

Instagram star Kali Kushner is trying to change that attitude one selfie at a time. 

Kushner is the 22-year-old behind the popular account @myfacestory, Marie Claire reports. Since October of 2015, she's been posting photos that show how she's treated her cystic acne and the resulting scars. Her radical openness about skin issues  and her dramatic before-and-after shots  have attracted nearly 24,000 followers so far. 

"People think you have acne because you're dirty, or you don't wash your face, or you're just generally unkempt," she recently told Marie Claire. "But it's about hormones, blood sugar, and genetics, more than anything else, and yet people look down upon it as if it's something you’re not trying hard enough to fix, which is what I try to dispel in my Instagram."

Here's a closer look at her story.

Kushner never dealt with serious breakouts as a teenager. But in 2014 — out of nowhere — her face erupted with deep, painful cystic pimples.  

7 months post accutane: Skin update/comparison 💕! I've been experiencing breakouts again around that time of the month which linger around for about a week. They pop up around my jaw & smile lines (mostly faded at this point) - which is strange as chin acne wasn't my main concern pre-accutane🤔. My cheeks, forehead, and nose have remained clear! I stopped using my retin a about a month ago because it was drying out my skin & instead began using @banishacnescars vitamin c serum every night before bed. I am very happy with my results & feeling blessed everyday 🤗❤️-side note just realized there's a real weird yellow orange beard shadow on my face , that isn't the color of my actual skin just a cast shadow from the window🤓-

A post shared by Kali Kushner (@myfacestory) on

After about a year of trying treatments that didn't work, Kushner started taking a prescription drug called isotretinoin — better known by the now-defunct brand name Accutane. It has some nasty side effects, but a single four to five month course can permanently cure severe acne for about 85% of people who take it, according to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD).

That's when Kushner started to post photos of her progress on Instagram. 

"I used to think it was odd, because I really didn’t do anything magical — I just took Accutane and a bunch of selfies, but now I realize that the reason people are so dedicated to following my story is because nobody actually posts stuff like this," she told Marie Claire

It's now been more than a year since Kushner finished taking isotretinoin, and things have changed. When her cystic pimples started to come back, she shifted her diet, cutting out dairy then transitioning to veganism. (The evidence is still limited, but a handful of studies do show that certain dairy products — particularly skim milk — can make acne worse.)

These days, she's also working on treating her acne scars.

"I've been treating my scars for almost a full year," Kushner told INSIDER in an email. (She uses a line of products called Banish Acne Scars.)  "It's not 100% where I want to be, but I am so ecstatic with the progress I've made. Besides that I've switched to all natural skincare and no makeup which has also helped my skin in healing."

Just a tinted chapstick 💄💕 & #cliniquemoisturesurge

A post shared by Kali Kushner (@myfacestory) on

And at every stage of the journey, Kushner has continued to posted raw, unfiltered photos of her skin — often with simple, powerful captions like "I have acne scars and I am beautiful." It's a refreshing alternative to feelings of shame and frustration that tend to accompany skin imperfections.

Kushner wants people to know that acne shouldn't hold you back. 

It's important to remember that the treatments that work for Kushner might not work for you — the unfortunate truth is that there's still no acne treatment that works perfectly for all people. But everyone can learn something from Kushner's approach to acne.

"[Acne] is not your fault. Sometimes your skin may be clear while other days you may be experiencing a monstrous breakout. Don't waste your time or money searching for a 'quick fix,'" she told INSIDER. "Instead, listen [to what] your body is telling you it needs, whether that be a rigorous workout, meditation, or hopping into a bubble bath to relax. Don't let your skin ever hold you back from what you want to do in life. You have to push forward."

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