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5 People With Skin Conditions Share the Most Hurtful Things Ever Said to Them

Health logoHealth 6/18/2018 Blake Bakkila

Powerful photos that will change the way you think about acne and other skin issues.

It all started when New York City photographer Peter DeVito uploaded closeup photos of himself that revealed the acne on his face.

He captioned the images with body positive phrases such as “stop telling people that they just need to wash their face more or drink more water to have clear skin.” The photos attracted attention, and his Instagram page gained new followers who applauded DeVito's empowering images.

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Soon he began getting requests from people with acne and other skin conditions. “I got sent several messages from people with albinism, vitiligo, alopecia, and birthmarks asking me to make work they would be able to relate to,” DeVito tells Health.


DeVito recently began collaborating with @CHNGE, a gender neutral clothing company, on a new powerful campaign. Each post features an individual embracing their skin condition and divulging the most hurtful thing ever said to them about the way they looked.

“Hong long did it take to draw those?” “what’s wrong with your skin?” and “but you’d remove it if you could” are just a few of the comments people in the photo series had to hear.

"how long did it take to draw those?" - @peterdevito x @chnge x @kokeadile - SWIPE to read Kokie's thoughts???

A post shared by PJ DeVito (@peterdevito) on May 7, 2018 at 10:07am PDT

"but you'd remove it if you could - @peterdevito x @chnge x @sruhtaylor - SWIPE to read Sarah's thoughts???

A post shared by PJ DeVito (@peterdevito) on May 5, 2018 at 9:06am PDT

"what's wrong with your skin?" - @peterdevito x @chnge x @yvesmark.chery - SWIPE to read Yvesmark's thoughts???

A post shared by PJ DeVito (@peterdevito) on May 6, 2018 at 10:11am PDT

In nearly every post, users can swipe right to see a message that provides context about that person’s experience. For example, a woman named Amber was once asked, "What's on your face?" In her message, she explained how she took the opportunity to say what her birthmark meant to her—and that what other people think of it "shouldn't matter."

"what's on your face?" - @amberrmarinescu for @i_d - SWIPE to read Amber's thoughts???LINK IN BIO for full article????

A post shared by PJ DeVito (@peterdevito) on May 16, 2018 at 10:54am PDT

In the campaign, DeVito also shared an emotional tribute to his mother, who has a skin condition called melasma. “Thank you mom for teaching me that I don’t need to be ‘perfect’ and for everything else you do,” he wrote, then educated his followers about what melasma is and how it develops.

Thank you mom for teaching me that I don't need to be "perfect" and for everything else you do???? Swipe to see a pic of me and my mom mid-blink??? *This is a picture of my mom? She has melasma, a skin condition that causes brown patches to appear on her skin. The patches grow and get darker whenever she goes in the sun.*

A post shared by PJ DeVito (@peterdevito) on May 13, 2018 at 11:19am PDT

DeVito says he will continue to share more of these powerful individual stories. “I think a lot of people can connect to the message I’m trying to put forward,” he says. “What is on the outside is not what defines you.”

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