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Weekend Reading

     Today I bring you a themed weekend reading, focused on skincare of all things. A consistent skincare routine is something I don't really have, other than that I always wear sunscreen. Always. I read an article here or there, but I don't feel I know enough to be a savvy consumer who understands the science of skincare, and then can use that knowledge to confidently differentiate between products, routines and ingredients.  
     Also, to be honest, even after all you are about to read, I still wish I knew more. Which is probably why this string of articles, caught my eye:

1. What I saw first, although it is out of order, was this conversation piece on Man Repeller, talking about a backlash that ensued when, The Outline published their recent article, The Skincare Con

2. Essentially, the main point of The Skincare Con is as follows:
"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." 

 A lot of the negative reaction to this piece was the tone, which at times feels condescending (poor women are just being duped by wiley marketers), but I don't think they are totally in the wrong about women being the target of the messaging around perfect skin. I don't believe women are just gullible sitting ducks here, but I do think that skincare/beauty is a huge industry (the Global Cosmetic Industry says the U.S. skincare market is expected to reach $11 Billion dollars in 2018) that messages and advertises to us 24/7 and it is hard to totally ignore and opt out of that. Frankly, if advertisements make up even a small fraction of that amount and are not getting their message through to you, it probably means they aren't very good at it and should all be fired immediately. This article did make me think about the fact, though, that less might be more here. I thought about the women and men I know who take very little in the way of action about their skin, and all have skin that is probably better than mine. Also, that when I say better I purely mean more aesthetically pleasing - obviously my skin does its primary job of being a barrier for my body, just fine. 

3. For a well-written in-depth response to the Outline piece, 

check out this Racked piece, Skincare is Good and Also Works. In it, the author makes a case that while some skincare is no doubt snake oil, there is real science behind a lot of it. Additionally, that skincare is something that has provided common ground/a community for the, mostly women, who bond over it. As such, the attacks on these communities (aka you shouldn't care about how you look) are a way to discredit the women who use their free will to be interested in skincare, in the first place. 

4. Interesting, all of this led me down a rabbit hole, thinking about where all of this is headed. I don't think people deciding not to care about their skin is probably what is going to happen, but it appears it won't be a concern for just women much longer. The skincare (and even beauty) market is coming for men (I mean, why not, everyone has skin) so who knows what the landscape will look like in 5 or 10 years.

5. So for now, although I have many more questions and few answers, I leave you with this ridiculous but totally entertaining piece from People: We Tried It: Kim Kardashian's $3,000+ Beauty Routine Changed My Skin Forever.

Thanks for stopping by!


  1. Thank you for the interesting links! I saw some of the responses (generally not positive) to that Outline piece. I definitely have some similar feelings to you, that there's some truth to the original Outline piece (tons of wily marketers shilling crappy, but very expensive, products out there), but that there is a lot of skincare that works out there, for a fair price, which people can easily access. Alas, I do agree that "perfect skin" or something approximating it can't be obtained with products, whether prescription or otherwise. So much of it is down to genetics, though almost anyone can probably improve something about their skin with the right product.

    As a longtime acne sufferer, various things I do for skincare, a lot of them prescription-strength, are absolutely necessary if I don't want to be tending 2-3 of those nasty, persistent cystic bumps (big enough to distort the lines of my face from a few angles) most of the time. (At a bare minimum, the birth control pill, retin-a micro, and at least one other medication, most likely.) I've also experienced some definite and noticeable benefits from adding at least one to two more clincially-proven "active" ingredients (BHA or AHA, probably one of Vitamin C or Niacinamide, if not both), though with all the things I'm using, it quickly gets to be too much, and more is definitely not better and can cause it's own breakouts. I had a good routine set for a while, but skin can change so much over time that I don't really have one now.

    1. Thank you, as always, for your thoughtful comments, and I'm glad you've found some skincare routine success! Retinoids are definitely one area that I am curious to explore, so I just ended up googling it for an afternoon and ordering one off of the Ordinary - we'll see how that works out.