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Is an obsession with skincare healthy?

Hannah Gul-Khan
1st March 2022
Image: Instagram @hyram
With the promotion of skincare as self-care and the increase in the use of K Beauty, have efforts to achieve flawless skin gone too far?

The pandemic made us more conscious of our skin. In 2020 alone, women’s skincare sales increased 0.4% to £1.4 billion. Skincare by Hyram and IAMKARENO are just a few of the many skincare influencers that currently dominate the sphere. Viewers are recommended products and routines for their skin concerns.

Korean skincare influencers advise that to achieve poreless skin, a 10 or 20 step routine is required. These consist of oil cleansers, foam cleansers, exfoliants and serums to target skin concerns. Snail mucin and pig collagen are a few of the ingredients in Korean skincare products that aid skin regeneration.

Image: Instagram @inthegldnhour

The desire the cure ourselves of our facial "flaws" is heavily influenced by celebrity culture

This desire to cure ourselves of our facial "flaws" is heavily influenced by celebrity culture; you do not have to look far to find countless Vogue skincare tutorials of models and celebrities. They view their routine as ritualistic, allowing them to enter a meditative state. It is a place soothing for both skin and mind. Skincare is self-care and purposeful as it reflects that you value yourself enough to invest in your visual self. The tutorials portray beauty as an easy, attainable task and not an extreme societal pressure placed on women from birth.

Fair skin and a flawless complexion are often synonymous in various asian cultures, with origins spanning from the late 1300s, a time where many avoided the sun to flaunt their affluence. This idea of porcelain skin equating to beauty is seen in the modern trend of “glass skin” that has emerged within the last few years. It arrived with the purpose of achieving a curated natural radiance where minimal makeup application is needed. Korean Skincare brand Peach & Lily told Healthline that “Glass skin is when your skin is at its very healthiest”.

Image: Instagram @peachandlily

The natural cannot co-exist with the flawed: our skin is viewed as a constant work in progress

Wearing less makeup and opting for a more natural look is a recent phenomenon being masked as progressive. Women are embracing their “natural skin” and revealing themselves to the world in an act of liberation from impossible beauty standards. But not without frequent and often extreme usage of anti-aging creams, hyperpigmentation and blemish treatment. The natural cannot co-exist with the flawed: our skin is viewed as a constant work in progress.

Incredibly, skincare feels more accessible and yet "perfect" skin feels more unattainable

Though western interest in skincare has meant that there is a greater focus on ingredients as opposed to the specific name brand. In recent years, incredibly, skincare feels more accessible and yet "perfect" skin feels more attainable. Information can be reached online from dermatologists or people who possess a similar skin type.

It cannot be denied that this continuing pressure means beauty remains a laborious activity where investments of time and money are imperative. It relies solely on how the world reacts to us, not how we perceive ourselves.

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