On January 31st, 2018, Time Magazine ranked the article "The Skincare Con", written by Krithika Varagur, as one of the best "idea" articles circling around the web. It categorized trendy skin care brands such as Glossier and Drunk Elephant to be "New Skin Care", claiming their products are chemical induced problems being marketed to woman. The author writes, "Perfect skin is unattainable because it doesn’t exist. The idea that we should both have it and want it is a waste of our time and money. Especially for women, who are disproportionately taxed by both the ideal of perfect skin and its material pursuit"
I understand criticizing makeup as a materialistic waste of money. I can wrap my head around that argument, even though I am a happy makeup addict. But why are we going after skin care products? Is it because it's becoming more popular than makeup brands? Is that a bad thing?
I grew up with cystic acne (large, painful acne) and I never believed I would find a cure. I was fortunate enough to not have it as bad as others, but my teens were not enjoyable years because of it. I remember being about sixteen years old and telling my dermatologist that I have accepted the fact I will always have acne. I tried everything, honestly, and I wasn't getting very far with results. It began my fascination in skincare. Was I seeking "perfect" skin? No. I was looking for relief and self-confidence.
After working with dermatologists and estheticians, as well as conducting a heavy amount of self research, I was able to find my own solution for healthy, clear skin. Is my skin perfect? No. I do have minor scaring and the occasional break out, but overall my skin improved dramatically. I sometimes shake my head at myself for giving up on skin care when I was in high school and throwing my hands in the air.
I think about how early I used to wake up to put on makeup to try to make myself feel better. It wasn't until recently that I have felt comfortable enough to not wear makeup in public. The root of my better skin, believe it or not, was the "New Skin Care" products that Krithika Varagur shakes her head at.
Krithika Varagur talks about how many chemicals and acids are featured in these new products. Yeah. We know. Chemicals such as glycolic acid and lactic acid, used in variation based on your skin, can prevent effective results without harming the skin. Chemicals in your skin care products aren't as scary as it sounds. The key is using the right ones for your skin.
A product that may not work for you, could help someone else. Your skin is heavily effected by your environment and your hormones. The stress in your life can reflect on your face. Eating habits and hydration can also shown off on your skin as well. Someone who has dry, sensitive skin would not respond well to products that show success for oily skin. Is every cosmetic brand ethical and proven to work? No.
I do have a handful of brands that I feel live up to the reputation that Krithika Varagur talks about. Selling the idea of the impossible "miracle" products for the sake of giving people the illusion they could finally get the skin they have been dreaming about, is a clever marketing tool that isn't unheard of. I call it "selling the dream" and skin care isn't the only industry that does it.
If you want to know the truth about achieving your own version of perfect skin, here it is:
1. Know your skin, understand your problems (acne, dry, sun exposure, etc)
2. Do your research. See what's out there. See what has worked for other people. Look into skin care lines that have products to help your skin type and concerns. The best products don't always cost the most money.
3. Talk to professionals. Estheticians and dermatologists are skin care experts, ready to guide you down the correct path.
Taking care of your skin isn't about vanity or materialism. It's about taking care of yourself and feeling good about the person who is looking back at you in the mirror. Women should not be ashamed or criticized for having a skin care routine that works for them, even if that means its nothing at all. If you have skin concerns, don't be like me and throw your hands in the air because it seems like nothing will help you. Seek help. There will be some trial and error, but I promise you will find an amazing amount of confidence in your results.