Studies claim that one in every three women suffer from PCOS or Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, making it one of the most common health problems among women in India. Even though this is a hormonal issue that affects fertility in women, most of its symptoms are beauty-related, with weight gain, acne, hair fall and excessive facial hair being the most common ones.
One of India’s most famous skin-positive influencers, Prableen Kaur Bhomrah, has been dealing with PCOS since a very young age too. As someone who has dealt with PCOS-related acne and weight gain for as long as she can remember, she understands how difficult it can be to come to terms with the side effects and learn to love, accept and embrace yourself despite these supposed ‘flaws’.
In this exclusive interview with BeBeautiful, Prableen shares the story of her struggle with acne and weight gain and how she overcame these society-defined beauty standards to finally love and accept herself, acne and acne scars included…
BeBe: Tell us a little bit how your journey with acne and PCOS?
Prableen: I have been dealing with acne ever since I was in school, but initially, I obviously brushed it off, thinking that it’s only puberty. But over time, I realised that something was wrong with my body from the inside because no matter how many medicines I took, my acne would still be persistent. But it was about three and a half years ago when my dermatologist suggested that I get tested for PCOS. Then I understood that my acne isn’t because of anything that I am doing wrong on the outside, but a result of hormonal issues. I slowly took steps to come to terms with it. Even though it was quite a long, hard process, I can say that I am much more confident in my body today.
BeBe: When did you start creating content, and what would you say are the big advantages of your “influencer” status?
Prableen: I started creating content around two years ago, in Feb 2019. In the beginning, I wanted to put out perfect Insta-aesthetic pictures just to be recognised. But this one time, I posted a picture with my real skin, which got a lot of recognition. This was when I realised that people can relate to my acne way more than anything else I was uploading because not many people were talking about PCOS-related acne back then. Thanks to my page, I now have a voice that encourages and influences so many girls all over the country to feel more normal about having acne. I know how long it took for me to come to terms with my condition, but the fact that my journey can influence and motivate so many other girls has to be the biggest advantage of being an influencer.
BeBe: Have you had people give you unsolicited advice when it comes to acne or weight gain? How do you deal with it?
Prableen: I have always been overweight even though I was very athletic and active back in school. Everyone kept pointing out that I was overweight and that I won’t get married because of this. Initially, it started with weight, but eventually, they also started calling me out for my acne. This triggered me to eat more food as a coping mechanism. But later, once I realised that this isn’t because of me being lazy, it is because of my condition and the stubborn weight that often accompanies PCOS, I still deal with it on a regular basis, but I have now made the decision that these comments are not going to make a difference to my life.
BeBe: How do you deal with backlash on social media, and how has that strengthened your relationship with your skin?
Prableen: I get told that it is because I wear so much makeup that I am prone to acne. People also ask me to try all sorts of face masks and Ayurvedic treatments. But during the lockdown last year, a picture of mine went viral, and I got a lot of positive and encouraging comments from so many people. After that, I realised that 90% of the comments on my pictures are so positive and motivating. Everyone is so supportive of the fact that I am putting out something like that on social media. So, the hate comments are now negligible, and I give them zero importance.
Bebe: Tell us a little bit about your skincare routine…
Prableen: Even though I get to try a lot of new products thanks to my job, my skincare routine is pretty straightforward. I cleanse and tone my face, dab on some serum and moisturiser before applying a generous amount of sunscreen. Apart from this, I use an exfoliator and face mask at least once a week, depending upon what my skin feels like and needs on that particular day. I also apply a layer of aloe vera gel onto my face every night, which heals and repairs my skin overnight.
All images courtesy: @prableenkaurbhomrah on Instagram