Stephanie Beatriz

On My Radar: Stephanie Beatriz Talks Acne and Why It Sucks (Duh)

Get inside the mind of Brooklyn Nine-Nine's Stephanie Beatriz as she gives you an exclusive look into the show, her (hilarious) thoughts on pop culture, her (serious) appreciation for Dolly Parton and basically anything else that enters her radar.

Have you ever had acne? Duh you have. Unless you are a total and complete freak of nature who has beautifully perfect skin in which case YOU LUCKY BASTARD and no need to read the rest of this blog, if I were you I’d go stare at myself in the mirror and contemplate where my pores have gone.

If you are like the rest of us, you’ve struggled with some form of zit or skin issue. Maybe teeny little blackheads, maybe annoying whiteheads. Or maybe you hit the mother load, like I did, and you got blessed with cystic acne. For those of you who don’t know what cysts are (see: lucky bastards) they are the zits that swell and hurt. The zits that feel like they have their own heartbeat. The zits you cannot help but poke and prod at and inevitably make worse. I’ve had cystic zits with not one, not two, but THREE HEADS. I AM NOT KIDDING. I remember sobbing as I looked at in the mirror, desperately attempting to cover the redness with concealer.The thing about cysts though, is that you can change the color but not the texture. There is no hiding that big eruption and it EFFING SUCKS.

I got my first cystic pimple at the age of 12. Right smack in the center of my nose, it marked the onslaught of puberty and ushered in an era of pimples that would last until my 30’s. I also remember my mom trying to pop it like you would a regular whitehead. Alas. My mom was not used to they type of acne I was destined to have, since she herself has beautiful skin and always has (see: lucky bastard sorry Mom). That pimple got SUUUUUPER infected and stayed on my face for a month. FUN!

Ever since, I’ve struggled to find a product that would make my acne magically disappear. I tried it all. I was at my wit’s end. The thought of going on auditions with huge zits on my chin kept me awake at night. I would lie there thinking “ok, well, you can act, but there is no way anyone is going to hire you when they get a look at your tape and all they see is a giant zit.” My dermatologist at the time recommended I try Accutane, which is a pretty serious drug. You have to commit to blood tests and monthly pregnancy tests if you are a woman and taking it, because it can cause crazy serious birth defects. I did some internet research and freaked out. It seemed so intense, so I said no. Instead I kept bursting into tears when I looked to hard at myself in the mirror.

So I must have solved the problem, right? I mean, I’m on a network television show, I must have perfect skin! WRONG WRONG WRONG. The first season of Brooklyn Nine-Nine I had some serious whoppers, particularly in the “Pontiac Bandit.” You know how movies and TV can go in and add sounds in post-production? They can take things out too. They legit computer scrubbed that zit out of every frame, and it’s like it never happened.


People on TV have a trained makeup artist helping to hide their skin issues. They also have a lighting crew adjusting lights around them so as not to highlight any pimples. And they have an entire post –production team cleaning up each frame so that their pimples disappear. Comparing yourself to that is setting yourself up for feeling inadequate and gross. Believe me, I used to do it all the time.


I know you don’t want to. I hate drinking water. I know that I’m so lucky to have access to fresh drinking water but GOD it is the most boring, dull beverage ever. BUT. This summer I had a major breakout. I couldn’t figure out why for a few days- I had been doing everything right, washing my face with all the same products. I was scrolling through Instagram and Mindy Kaling posted something about doing a magazine article where all the celebrities included were to wear no makeup. In the caption to her selfie, she said she was super nervous about doing it so for two weeks before she drank water like a mofo. In the photo, her skin was flawless. You better believe I downed a huge glass right then. I like to flavor mine with essential oils like grapefruit and lemon. I still have to force myself to drink it, but when I drink I pretend the water is a magical elixir that is going to heal my skin, and that usually makes me finish a glass REAL quick.

Read her final lessons on page 2 >>


Last year, a makeup artist introduced me to Dermalogica. I was sitting in her chair crying, as I explained how I’d been fighting off zits FOREVER. She took pity on me and told me all about their line. Dermalogica does something called Face Mapping – basically, they “map” out every part of your face and tell you what you need. It’s not cheap stuff, but the ingredients are really good and I’m telling you my skin has never been better. The texture is better, the surface is softer and less dull, and I get less acne overall. It costs a pretty penny, but remember that THIS IS YOUR FACE DUDES. Like, what if you only got to wear one pair of jeans for the rest of your life? You’d invest, right? You’d find the best fitting, most well made pair and you’d save your pennies to be able to afford them. Your face is worth spending a little more on: you have to wear it out in the world every day.


The shittiest truth of it all is that something that works great for someone else might not work great for you. Dermalogica was a scary move to make – as someone with acne, I was super scared to try anything new because WHAT IF IT GETS WORSE. It’s terrifying when you’re struggling with acne to go out on a limb and try something new, but you HAVE to. Some really popular acne washes and tonics did nothing at all for my skin but dry it out and make it worse. But I wouldn’t have known that they didn’t work for me if I didn’t try them for a while. Just make sure the risks you are taking are well researched and reviewed. Don’t just start rubbing your face in a rag soaked in your own pee because the internet says so (A REAL THING PEOPLE DO. GROSS!). I asked around. I asked friends, makeup artists, facialists, dermatologists, people who had skin I admired. Start making a list of products and why people say they work, and save that money!


Last but not least, the biggest lesson in skin care I had to learn was to love the skin I’m in. I literally used to stare at my face in the mirror with hate and anger. I’d focus on those gigantic zits and just wail about what a monster I was, how I would never have a career because of my gross skin. I couldn’t pass a mirror with out thinking about how hideous my skin was, and how I wished I was someone else, someone with perfect skin.

THIS IS REALLY REALLY BAD FOR YOU, GUYS. You know why? BECAUSE HATING YOURSELF IS BAD. I had stopped looking for the things I like about myself and was only seeing the zits. When I looked in the mirror, I didn’t think about how nice I am to strangers and little kids, how much my face lights up when I’m happy. I didn’t focus on my awesome eyebrow scar or those crazy cool four freckles I have that make the shape of a crescent moon on my right cheek. I didn’t think about my talents, my passion for Shakespeare, or what a good friend I am. I made myself so small and worthless that I was just the pimple. Don’t do that to yourself, guys. Go stand in front of that mirror and remember that YOU ARE AWESOME. (I even made a list of stuff I liked about myself and hung it on my vanity mirror, so that when I started to self-hate I’d redirect and love fest myself instead.)

P.S. As I type this, I have a giant cyst healing on my chin. We just shot the fourth episode of the second season and yesterday at work I looked at myself in the mirror and thought… looking good, Beatriz. And then I drank a buttload of water. 


Read more of Stephanie's thoughts by reading her other On My Radar entries here.