Why I’m ditching makeup in May – and why you should too

Sze Sze Yuan, founder of the Who Is Olivia Foundation and the No Make Up In May Challenge, is trying to teach women about empowerment.

She started the movement due to her own anxiety and insecurities, and now wants to help other women who feel concerned about how they look.

Here, she writes for Sky News about why this issue is so important to her.

I have always suffered from anxiety for as long as I can remember, it is something that was with me throughout my formative years and over the past five years I have found that I am not alone as I discovered lots of people who suffer from this condition.

Although with me, each anxiety attack and self-worth issue has escalated into my everyday life and created other worries on top of worries until I just felt like withdrawing from society completely.

The trigger was no doubt from my childhood.

My mother was obsessive about appearance and the constant pressure of how she expected me to behave and look felt impossible to achieve.

She was my main role model and the constant comparisons and criticisms levied at me were pushed down, gave me a sense of never being good enough and created self-worth issues around body image.

If I did not look a certain way I was not good enough. This role model pressure is enhanced a 1,000 times by the advent of social media today as there are so many examples that create pressure, not just parents.

After years of struggle I finally have the belief to do something and have overcome many of these pressures and now want to help others through what I learnt on my painful journey.

I have wanted to do this for more than three years but never had the confidence, but now I have and I am striving to make a difference with like-minded souls.

Being ourselves and loving ourselves for who we are is one of the most important steps to self-confidence, a lack of which has plagued me throughout my life.

I have chosen a makeup campaign because putting on makeup is the number one way to try to hide what we perceive to be a flaw, to cover up who we really are.

We as women are constantly conditioned to not conform to a norm but one that the cosmetics industry encourages us to look like.

This is filtering down to kids as young as eight and it is creating a huge number of issues within society – something already well recognised in the NHS.

We should not be shaming anyone for what they look like, male or female.

Who is Olivia Foundation is holding a one-day Be Bare Festival to kickstart its annual campaign No Make Up In May.

Men and women will be gathering together to remove makeup and commit to 30 days, with the aim of empowering and inspiring women for self-love and to combat unrealistic beauty standards that are increasingly imposed upon us by social media.

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