Lili Reinhart: Having Acne On Riverdale Makes My Anxiety A 10 Out Of 10

Photo: Gabriel Olsen/FilmMagic.
Lili Reinhart shot to fame playing Betty Cooper on the hit show Riverdale, but that doesn't mean all her skin issues got tossed out with her old headshots. The 21-year-old sat down with Refinery29 to share her struggle with acne, how it impacts her mental health, and the one change that actually brought her clarity. The following was told to Lexy Lebsack and has been edited for length and clarity.
I developed acne when I was 13. I remember getting my first big pimple on the center of my forehead when I was doing a musical. I had to be on stage, so my mom took me to see a dermatologist. I grew up seeing a lot of different dermatologists and being told a lot of different things that I should do for my skin, but most felt very one-size-fits-all. I was using products that weren't made for my skin type, which is sensitive, and I think that's why my acne didn't get any better.
Career Bumps
Nothing is worse than when I have a breakout and I have to be in front of a camera; it makes my anxiety a 10 out of 10. I had a bad breakout on my forehead two weeks ago while filming and I woke up that morning knowing it was going to be a hard day, which is really sad because I’m letting a breakout control my mood.
Photo: Steve Granitz/WireImage.
Ive styled my hair for events to cover a breakout on my forehead; I always have to do this fake swoop thing. I'm not encouraging anyone to hide their acne, but a lot of people feel so much embarrassment and shame that they won't leave the house.
I do my own makeup for the show this season. We have a head of makeup and she's great, but I know my skin better than anyone else and I know what works. Riverdale is such a perfect world that my skin has to look perfect, so I cover my breakouts; it's just the aesthetic of the show, which can be hard. A lot of the girls on the show have really beautiful, clear, smooth skin, so sometimes I feel like the odd one out.
I can't wait to see the film 8th Grade because she's not covering her acne — it makes me so happy. It's so real and so relatable. Same with Lady Bird: Saoirse Ronan had her acne scars show. There's nothing less relatable than seeing young teens with perfect skin. That's why I started #breakoutbuddy on social media; I was having a bad breakout and I just didn't want to feel alone. Even outside of Hollywood, it's easy to think you your skin isn't as good as someone else's, because you're looking at images that have been Photoshopped or taken through an app that smooths their skin.

I woke up that morning knowing it was going to be a hard day, which is really sad because I'm letting a breakout control my mood...

Lili Reinhart
Seeking Clarity
As I got older, I started seeing facialists who were able to look at my skin and give me more information on how to care for my acne. Then I went on a little splurge where I was using every face mask under the sun, which was just making my skin worse. I started paying attention to ingredients and stopped using things that had added perfumes and alcohol.
My breakthrough came when I started limiting the products I was using to a smaller pool, which was what actually helped clear my skin. I partnered with Dermalogica to help them launch their Clear Start products like the Breakout Clearing Booster and Blackhead Clearing Fizz Mask. I'm also promoting the Clearly Glowing Facial, which is really affordable. I wish I had it when I was a teenager.
Learning to not pick was also a big step forward. Some people don't have a problem with picking at their skin, but I do. If I see a blackhead on my forehead, I go at it. It’s almost like you’re in trance that you have to snap yourself out of — you have to tear yourself away from the mirror. The day I told myself, 'The moment you pick at something, it's going to get worse,' my skin has gotten significantly better.

A lot of the girls on the show have really beautiful, clear, smooth skin so sometimes I feel like the odd one out.

Lili Reinhart
You might think, ‘Just get over it!’ but people who have acne are very hyperaware of it. It's a journey, but I'm getting more confident in knowing that my breakout doesn't define me. I'm the person that cares the most about it — no one else is focused on it. It's a matter of knowing that you're worth so much more than the breakout on your face and it shouldn't stop you from going about your day, even though it's hard.

More from Beauty

R29 Original Series