Much has been made of Kendall Jenner‘s recently announced partnership with Proactiv, but just as she overcame the long-term skin issues that led her to team up with the brand, she’s ignoring the doubters and forging ahead in touting Proactiv’s acne-fighting and skincare products as truly life-changing. On Thursday, she shared two photos of herself sans makeup, and confessed that she’d never felt comfortable doing so until she started using Proactiv.
“While there are much bigger problems happening in the world, suffering from acne for me was debilitating. It’s something that I’ve dealt with since I was a young teen and has caused me to feel anxious, helpless, and insecure,” Jenner captioned a black-and-white shot in which, though turned almost completely away from the camera, she appears to be completely bare-faced. “Being insecure about my acne gave me thick skin, but I wouldn’t ever wish that feeling upon anyone, so after trying countless options, I found something that has been helpful in maintaining clear skin for me. It’s been a long journey, but I’m excited for where my skin is now. I didn’t think I’d see the day where I would feel confident posting a makeup-free picture. My goal is to open up a dialogue around skin positivity.”
Though Jenner doesn’t mention Proactiv by name in the caption, she did use Instagram’s “Paid Partnership With” feature to link the brand to the post. Additionally, she turned off comments on the post, likely to protect it from those who don’t believe the highest-paid supermodel in the world—who has previously been open about turning to a dermatologist for acne help—actually relies on a $19.95 infomercial product to clear her skin.
Around the same time, Jenner shared a few more related posts in her Instagram Story. In the first, she joined in on the ongoing “10-Year Challenge” meme to share throwback photos of that “debilitating” acne. “I was 13 and ran home crying everyday because people would stare at my skin,” she wrote, then followed those shots with a photo of her, seemingly from the same photo shoot as her initial post, writing, “yesterday on film zero makeup.”
Beyond general skepticism about the veracity of Jenner’s claims of the wonders Proactiv has worked on her skin, many people were also annoyed with how she chose to reveal the partnership, framing her acne as if it was, indeed, a “debilitating” condition and not a common, treatable issue that impacts nearly anyone going through puberty. “When I was 14, I couldn’t reach as many people as I can now. Now that I’m 22 and I have this whole thing behind me, I can speak to so many people and just be like, I can help you, and it’s okay, and I experience it and I’m very normal, and, like, I understand you. I can connect with you and try and help you,” she said in a teaser video shared ahead of the official announcement.
Mom Kris Jenner added, “I’m so proud of my darling @KendallJenner for being so brave and vulnerable. Seeing you share your most raw story in order to make a positive impact for so many people and help foster a positive dialogue is a testament to the incredible woman you’ve become.” In response, one sarcastic Instagrammer commented, “Wow, this year we have seen some very remarkable stories of people persevering. War hero’s [sic], volunteers, cancer patients and violence victims. But none of them can hold a candle to @kendalljenner’s battle with acne as a hormonal teen. To be 14 and have a pimple must have been TRAGIC!” Touché.