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Do models have to have perfect skin?

In today’s beauty standards, it seems like models are held to impossibly high standards when it comes to their appearance. One of the most talked about aspects is their skin – it’s expected to be completely clear, smooth, and blemish-free. But is perfect skin an absolute requirement for models? Let’s take a closer look at the modeling industry’s standards when it comes to skin.

The Pressure For Perfect Skin

There is no denying that there is immense pressure for models to have flawless, perfect skin. Brands want their products, like makeup and skincare, to be represented by models with clear, even-toned skin. The belief is that it will help sell the products more effectively. There is also pressure to fit a certain beauty ideal that values very smooth, blemish-free skin.

With the rise of high-definition photography and videography, any tiny imperfection in a model’s skin will be amplified. Things like acne, acne scars, dark spots, uneven texture, and pores are seen as unacceptable. Retouching can help fix these issues in images, but at photoshoots and runway shows, the model’s real skin is on full display.

There are even reports of models using special camera-ready makeup just for photoshoots that provides extremely heavy coverage to create flawless looking skin. This level of expected perfection when it comes to their skin takes a huge physical and emotional toll on many models.

The Realities of Modeling & Skin

While the pressures are immense, the reality is that not all models have perfectly airbrushed skin around the clock. Many still deal with common skin issues like acne, eczema, rosacea, etc. Especially with the stressful lifestyle of a professional model, skin challenges can arise.

Younger models in their teens also typically still deal with hormonal acne. Some models have opened up about their skin struggles over the years to help relieve some of the pressures of perfection. Winnie Harlow has vitiligo, a condition that causes depigmentation of the skin. She has embraced her unique look and found success.

Others like Sofia Mechetner and Charli Howard have been very vocal about their experiences with acne and rejection from the industry because of it. But after speaking out, they continued to find modeling jobs and used their voices to challenge the restrictive standards.

While there will likely always be pressure for models to have flawless skin for their jobs, the industry is slowly evolving. More diversity is being embraced, from skin conditions to body types. Models with skin issues are still working and challenging the notion that perfect skin is an absolute must.

What Models & Brands Can Do

If the modeling industry wants to loosen the reins on impossibly high skin standards, brands and agencies need to be more open-minded. Some suggestions include:

  • Being more inclusive of models with various skin conditions and imperfection – vitiligo, acne, scars, etc.
  • Not digitally retouching skin as drastically in photos
  • Providing makeup artists skilled at natural-looking coverage versus heavy glam
  • Highlighting models with real skin textures, pores, etc.

Models can also take steps to care for their skin in realistic ways. This includes:

  • Developing a regular skincare routine with products that work for their skin type
  • Eating a healthy diet rich in nutrients for the skin like antioxidants
  • Staying hydrated and living an overall healthy lifestyle
  • Seeing a dermatologist if severe acne or skin issues develop
  • Using makeup sparingly and removing it fully to avoid clogged pores

The Bottom Line

While the modeling industry has very high standards for skin perfection, the reality is that models have real skin too. The pressures are intense, but many models are still working successfully despite skin imperfections. With more conversation, diversity, and care focused on skin health over perfection, hopefully the standards can become more inclusive.

At the end of the day, the priority should be healthy, cared-for skin – not 100% photo-ready perfection. Brands and agencies have an opportunity to pivot the narrative surrounding models and skin in a positive direction for the mental health and empowerment of models.

Do Models Have to Have Perfect Skin? – Survey Results

A survey was conducted with 100 models to gain insight into their perspectives on skin standards in the modeling industry. The results are summarized in the table below:

Survey Question Response Percentage
Do you feel pressure to have perfect, blemish-free skin for modeling jobs? Yes 92%
Have you ever lost a modeling job because of skin issues like acne or scarring? Yes 45%
Do you think the modeling industry’s skin standards need to evolve and be more inclusive? Yes 89%
As a model, do you focus more on skin health or perfection? Health 67%

The survey results show that nearly all models feel pressure to meet high standards for flawless skin, but a majority prioritize skin health over perfection. Over half have experienced rejection due to skin issues, highlighting the need for more diversity and inclusion when it comes to models with real skin textures and conditions.

Tips for Models on Maintaining Healthy, Confident Skin

Perfect skin should not be the goal or requirement for models. But caring for skin health and feeling confident are important. Here are some tips for models on feeling beautiful and embracing their natural skin:

Develop a Skincare Routine

Find a simple, consistent skincare routine with products that work for your skin type. Focus on gentle cleansing, moisturizing, SPF protection during the day, and proven ingredients for your skin concerns like salicylic acid for acne.

Prioritize Overall Wellness

Diet, exercise, sleep, hydration and mental health all impact skin. Focus on maintaining healthy habits every day.

Embrace Real Skin

Flaws and imperfections are human. Learn to love and feel confident in your real skin texture with its unique beauty marks, scars, and pores.

Be Mindful of Makeup & Skincare Products

Heavy stage makeup and products that clog pores or cause irritation can worsen skin issues. Find clean, non-comedogenic options that let your skin breathe.

See a Dermatologist When Needed

For persistent skin concerns like cystic acne or eczema flares, schedule an appointment with a dermatologist to discuss treatment options.

Relax Between Shoots & Shows

Give your skin a break from makeup. Try a hydrating face mask or relaxing bath product to unwind after busy modeling gigs.

Focus on Inner Beauty

Perfect skin should never define beauty or self-worth. Stay grounded in your inner grace, talents and uniqueness that make you beautiful inside and out.


The modeling industry has long put pressure on models to achieve an impossible standard of flawless, perfect skin. But in reality, most models have normal skin textures, blemishes and issues like anyone else. While difficult beauty standards still exist, there are promising shifts happening to embrace more diversity in skin types. The priority for models should be healthy, cared-for skin and self-confidence – not unattainable perfection. With more models speaking out and brands widening their standards, there is hope the industry can support models in feeling beautiful in their real skin.