Why Skin Care Isn't a Scam, 2 Experts Weigh In
Last week, a viral opinion piece argued that skin care is a scam, and achieving “perfect skin” is not only unattainable, but essentially a waste of time and money. Unsurprisingly, massive outrage quickly ensued across the entire beauty sphere. We at Skincare.com wanted to join the conversation with the help of some of our consulting experts.
It’s no secret at Skincare.com we truly believe in the power of a well-rounded skin care routine. We practice what we preach and see—with our own eyes—the positive effects of caring for our skin the right way. The proof’s in the pudding. We know we’re not the only ones who feel that way. We speak to scores of dermatologists, experts, influencers, and more who often credit their skin care products and routines with transforming their appearance and boosting self-confidence. There’s a reason we spend the time we do to educate our readers about how to achieve better-looking skin, so it should come as no surprise that we, along with our consulting experts, would have a very passionate reaction to someone’s viral claims that it’s all a big, fat sham.
THE BENEFITS OF A GOOD SKIN CARE ROUTINE
In the piece the author calls skin care, for all intents and purposes, a waste of money. We’re here to say that that is entirely untrue. Sure, there are some products that work better than others. But why bunch all skin care products under one umbrella? Curating a well-rounded skin care routine with products that work for your skin type can not only help you achieve better-looking skin now, but also in the future. “Good skin care achieves two important goals: prevention and reversal,” says board-certified dermatologist Dr. Michael Kaminer. “Reversal is the holy grail, and we are getting closer to it every day with products. We know that biologically active ingredients like peptides, alpha hydroxy acids, retinols, and growth factors can improve skin and reverse signs of aging.” The science, the research, it’s all there to back these points.
Of course, healthy-looking skin care goes beyond these biologically active ingredients. Products like broad-spectrum sunscreen and topical antioxidants are crucial to protecting your skin from the sun’s harmful UV rays and other environmental aggressors. UVA rays can prematurely age your skin, while UVB rays can cause cancer. Incorporating a sunscreen that offers protection from all UV light—and pairing it with antioxidants like vitamin C—is one of the best things you can do for the health of your skin.
LEARN HOW TO CORRECTLY USE PRODUCTS—BEFORE YOU USE THEM
Another skin care slam in the article is that the new era of skin care is an assault of chemicals, so to speak. This claim is a bit misleading, considering many chemical ingredients—think: retinols, and alpha and beta hydroxy acids—can help to visibly improve the overall tone and texture of one’s complexion. You just have to know how to use them the right way. The issue is when skin care is improperly taught and used, putting those at risk for skin damage and an appearance that looks worse than before.
For instance, one of the most sought-after multi-tasking ingredients is retinol. It can help visibly reduce signs of aging, in addition to smoothing and refining the skin’s appearance…but only when used correctly. “Retinols are an important cornerstone of any skin care regimen, and they may cause some temporary redness and skin peeling,” says board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. John Burroughs. “This, however, is a good thing when used properly. When quality retinols are used properly they help with the appearance of fine lines. When not used properly or if not of high-quality ingredients then clients are at risk for skin damage and a worsened appearance.”
PERFECT-LOOKING SKIN IS AN OBVIOUS END GOAL, AND THAT’S NOT A BAD THING
Putting time and effort into a skin care routine that targets the concerns you’re aiming to improve is recommended by the professionals. Take acne for example. It’s one of the most common skin conditions in the United States, affecting up to 50 million people annually according to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD). Studies have shown that having acne can cause a lower self-esteem, and when it clears, self-esteem rises again. Isn’t it more worthwhile to address acne head-on and improve your skin confidence? What’s the harm in that?
“Achieving the best skin you can is a very worthy goal and one that is not only attainable but affordable with quality medical grade skin care that actually works,” Dr. Burroughs says. “Investing in quality skincare that is medical grade is a good return on your investment as our skin is our biggest organ. Next to the eyes, our skin is what people notice most on our faces when we meet and talk to others.” Dr. Kaminer had a similar response, saying, “If we measured results by the number of people who obtain perfect-looking skin by using products at home, we would fail miserably. But that is not the goal. If we measure success by the number of people who simply feel good about being proactive and doing something good for their skin, independent of how close to perfection they get, I think we might be much more successful than the article implies.”