My cystic acne in 2006. The picture that Facebook considered "extremely undesirable". Clearly nobody wants this, but for many this is the reality of their skin.

My cystic acne in 2006. The picture that Facebook considered "extremely undesirable". Clearly nobody wants this, but for many this is the reality of their skin.

A few weeks ago, as I was promoting my spring detox (mostly because I wanted to do a detox and I know that doing it with a group keeps me more committed and inspired :), I decided to post about it on Facebook.

I created a post on my business page and then clicked on the boost button, which is a form of paid advertising. Sometimes they review the post to be sure it's not offensive or against FB policy and then they approve it.

A few hours after boosting my post, I got notice that it was not approved because it violated FB policy.

I was puzzled. Why was it not approved? What about it violated their policy?

I wrote them to find out so I could change it. I got a message from a woman in their customer service group. As I read her response, I felt the tears well up in my eyes.

The part of her message that got me crying as I replied, was this:

"The image depicts a body or body parts in an undesirable manner. Ads may not depict a state of health or body weight as being perfect or extremely undesirable."

"Ads like these are not allowed since they make viewers feel bad about themselves."

The image she was referring to was an image of me! It was a picture I took of myself when I had cystic acne. It was one of my lowest moments with acne. I was in profound physical and emotional pain.

Anybody who has had cystic acne knows how painful it is too look at yourself in the mirror. Many of us know the tears of despair of having your face look like this.

We all wonder what people are thinking about our skin.

We all feel undesirable when we look like that.

And here she was, the faceless, nameless girl at Facebook telling me exactly that. I was extremely undesirable.

I cried for the 32 year old woman I was back then. Her feelings were profoundly hurt.

I cried for all of the people whose faces have acne and in whose name I was the recipient of the Facebook rejection.

I felt like she was saying, "nobody really wants to see that." Like the medieval lepers and handicapped cast out of the village because they were unsightly.  

I do see some of the reasoning behind the Facebook policy. They don't want predatory, cheesy or deceitful marketing flooding people's feeds. Users might get fed up with their feed (though they already are) and stop using the platform.

But their policy also promotes a super-sanitized version of reality.

Their policy is one of the thousands of ways in which our culture pervasively delivers the message that the way you are is NOT OK.

Paradoxically, their policy stating that they don't want to make feel people badly about themselves perpetuates a more insidious way of shaming them.


The other paradox is that by showing my picture, I'm looking to connect with the people who are hurting. I know that pain well, as you can imagine.

I took me YEARS to share that picture. That's how long standing the shame can be.

Now I want to say to each person with severe cystic acne, "I love you and I see your beauty. I've realized that part of what brought me about to healing was learning to love myself acne and all... instead of waiting to love myself once the acne disappears."

The HUGE challenge with every health issue is that the more we wish it away, the more it persists.


Taking that picture was a turning point. I started exploring how I could come to love my skin AS IT WAS then and there.

My skin was speaking to me and I learned to listen.

If there's something about your body or your health that makes you unhappy, perhaps this story may help you start asking yourself, "what would it take for me to listen to what my body is saying?"  And, "how might I move into a place of greater love and acceptance for your body?"

And obviously, if you need help, you know where to find me ;)

I send you MUCH LOVE.

Your body is PERFECT in this very moment and it is speaking to you all the time.