Why now do we care for our skin more than ever?
I can’t quite put my finger on whether skincare is particularly popular at the moment, or if it has always been this popular and I’ve only just gotten on board with the skincare obsession. Skincare product usage is certainly more widespread than it was three decades ago; my mother said no one even owned moisturiser when she was in her twenties. So, why now do we care for our skin more than ever?
Our skincare obsession comes down to a few things really; science, materialism and boredom all being integral contributing factors.
The fundamentals of skincare stem from our craving for young skin and child-like beauty: no spots nor redness, and certainly no wrinkles. Science plays a significant role in people’s skincare regimes. Our understanding of the science behind skin types is ever advancing as scientists are becoming well researched on factors that fund ageing and choices that can be made to delay it. This ultimately aids the bettering of product quality, a consideration that naturally increases people’s desire to use skincare products.
Having a skincare routine and using numerous products is not a bad thing, in fact, copious clinical studies show that a number of products (specifically SPF moisturisers and retinol) have excellent anti-ageing actions. It is important to find a routine that works for one’s individual skin type. So trying things out is key, a little wasteful, but key.
The product hungry, materialistic attitude that echoes through modern-day society plays a big part in the growing obsession for skincare. There is an element of psychological reassurance in greed, in having lots of something, lots of skincare products; as though the more we have, the cleaner we are and the slower we will age. Whilst this is obviously not correct, I myself am not innocent and have materialist and moreish tendencies when it comes to skincare products. Industrialism and mass production have fed our material hunger, providing us with easy access to all sorts of products, for charmingly low prices.
Social media is another fuel for the skincare obsession. Whilst the development of social media has numerous pros, it can, unfortunately, be a rather toxic space in many aspects. Big names online with high followings, people such as Bella Hadid, Kylie Jenner, or Molly-Mae Hague, frequently promote skincare products to the masses for large sums of money. What we often forget is that, whilst these girls are also naturally beautiful, they have teams of professionals editing their photos, giving them faux flawless skin and us a distorted sense of perfect. As a result, it is easy to believe that through buying these promoted products, we will look as gorgeous as the models in these airbrushed images. After trialling such products, and figuring that perhaps they aren’t as magical as influencers were paid to say they are; when our skin doesn’t morph into that of a social media sensation, our self-confidence is nibbled at, a phenomenon that can seriously impact mental health. Nonetheless, social media has been critical to the success of many skincare brands and is a useful tool for finding out about new skincare providers. Regardless, it is essential that we have realistic expectations of a product’s capabilities, and as buyers; we must research a product before purchasing.
Interestingly, skincare sales soared during lockdown. It’s logical really, whilst bored on furlough or zooming from 9 to 5, we spent much more time looking at ourselves, looking at our faces; noticing little lumps and bumps that we’re not that happy with. As a result, we turned to skincare for assistance, for relief, for reinforcement – as demonstrated through an immense elevation in Google searches for beauty categories and sales in skincare brands such as Estée Lauder and REN – according to the British Beauty Council. My skincare obsession was definitely exacerbated by lockdown boredom.
I suffered from acne during my teenage years and couldn’t find a product that worked for me. I eventually realised, my skin was so sensitive that the products I was using were not helping my acne-prone skin. When I ceased usage, my spots began to clear. I then avoided all products besides a gentle wash until fairly recently, when I noticed my first wrinkle, aged 22. I am now a sucker for skincare, and use an array of hydrating, anti-ageing, and repairing creams and serums, which I will list in a follow-up post.