My obsession with skincare quickly accelerated in 2020. Pandemic isolation didn’t help. I looked at my skin all day in Zoom meetings. I’ve become fascinated with beauty influencers posting their flawless skin routines and selfies online. I asked everyone I met what they used on their skin and quickly changed my own routine accordingly. I’ve read about seven-step diets, watched Gua sha massage tutorials, and researched expensive serums. There were new skincare routines for every season, countless holy grail ingredients people swore by, and an endless parade of influencers touting the benefits of botox, slugging, and ice rollers. .
“Recommendations on social media are often what we consider anecdotal evidence,” says Dr. Elyse Love, MD, FAAD, Manhattan board-certified dermatologist. “It means that someone tried it and loved it. For aesthetics, this type of advice can be useful, but it often leads those who have real skin problems (eczema, rosacea, acne) to try this product. after product after product.
I had taken up residence in this rabbit hole. Skincare was all I could think of or talk about, much to my husband’s dismay. I’ve changed cleansers, over-exfoliated, and wasted hours researching, trying, and returning products that weren’t right for my skin. I went to bed reading one product, then woke up and ordered another. I tried to keep all the trendy ingredients – hyaluronic acid, vitamin C, vitamin E, AHAs and BHAs – but my brain was drowning in skincare jargon. Were the oils good? How many acids were too many? What is a peptide and a ceramide?
“Our society has become obsessed with skin and skincare in an unhealthy way,” says Dr Love. “The average patient’s basic knowledge has increased over the past couple of years as people spend more and more time viewing content. The question, however, is how much does the average person really know? need to understand skincare?Skincare hacks are the new diet hacks, and they promote a superficial relationship with your skin and your body.
My relationship with my skin was rooted in a fantasy of quick fixes and one-size-fits-all perfection. I would take any pill or try any product that promised to make my exterior beautiful. When I considered just taking spironolactone again even though my doctor had warned me against it, I realized I was willing to risk my health for my vanity. I constantly thought about my skin: In the morning, I walked away from my husband to examine my face in the mirror. I had trouble concentrating during conversations, wondering if people were judging my skin tone. Eventually, my mental gymnastics pushed me to a breaking point. I was tired of comparing myself to others, wasting money and chasing one quick fix after another. I needed help.