Why Skincare Matters to Me
Skincare has become a heated topic in the last few years, as people all over the internet debate the importance of skincare regimens, and the lastest cleansers and creams to come into the market. While the debate is mostly harmless, the main arguments surrounding skin care are mainly concerned about the price point of items, and whether a higher price item is better than a lower priced item. It has recently taken a turn for the worse as an article entitled The Skincare Con was posted on the Outline.
To best summarize the article, the author, Krithika Varagur, paints skincare as a scam women are forced to spend thousands of dollars into to adapt to society’s standards of beauty. Peppered with skincare horror stories of products gone wrong (mainly of people who used the products wrong in the first place), Varagur makes a strong argument that skincare products are not needed, when for centuries, our skin have been fine without expensive serums and lotions to fit our needs and empty our wallets. However, I believe that Varagur misses the point of way skincare matters to most people, because it makes us feel good, and because some of us, in fact, did not grow up with the pleasure of great skin.
My Skin Background
Before I continue with my argument, I feel, it is best for my case to describe my skin type as this will better help you understand where I am coming from. I have fairly oily to combination skin that in my youth used to be more oily. While I still struggle with some shine and some hormonal acne every once and a while, I can honestly say that I am pleased with the state my skin is currently in, and I am always striving to make it look its best. However, it took years of trial and error to find the products that worked best for me, and while I do wish some of these products were cheaper, I am personally fine paying a little bit more if I get good consistent results.
It Makes Me Feel Good
A point I want to illustrate is that taking care of my skin makes me feel good. Washing my face is a nice way to unwind after a very long day at work or school. There is just something so soothing about having a routine that allows a wave of comfort to just wrap itself around you. My skincare routine does not affect how people are living, nor does it significantly change my life as well. But it is nice to have something to fall back on when you just want a breather. I do, in fact, get pleasure from skincare, the same that I do from reading books. As Varagur muses that this is a lost pleasure in our skincare obsessed society.
However, these two enjoyments are not mutually exclusive, and it is possible to enjoy both skincare and reading. To view one pleasure as being better than the other based on taste is an elitist behavior that claims that one preference is more valuable than the other. However, because tastes are continually changing, and actions like this make women feel inferior for their interest, it is important to illustrate that a woman liking to smear creams and serums on her face, does not make her any better or else than anyone else. It merely means she finds pleasure in having a skincare routine.
Skincare is a Form of Control
I know this is a loaded argument, but throughout her article, Varagur argues that women shell out their hard earned money on products that cost way too much and do way too little. While I see why she stands with this arguments, as skincare is viewed as a luxury for the elite to indulge in, I would like to counter with this case. Skincare is a form of control. It is a way of how we control our skin, but also how we control our money. If I want to spend $90 on a face serum in which I don’t have the slightest idea will even work for me, then I will pay that $90. That is a choice I am making as a consumer, and I do not owe anybody an explanation.
While I am more than happy to discuss and debate the way the beauty and skincare industry makes women feel, or how they have to wear layer and layers of products in order to be valued in society, or why society fears women aging. I will not discuss what a woman chooses or does not choose to spend her money on, as frankly, that is none of my business. If a woman wants to spend her whole paycheck on skincare, then she can, it is her money and she has control of what she wants to spend it on.
The Skincare community
Varagur in her article disregarded the popular subreddit SkincareAdditon, passing the site off as a bunch of women wasting their time talking about the ways they make their skin immune to acid treatments.
However, Varagur misses the point of why the community itself is so popular, it is crowdsourcing at its best. This is a site where people from all walks of life share their routine and recommendation in the hopes that someone reading will find the information useful. Strangers want to help other strangers be the best they can be. There are endless reviews of products, and even list of ingredients so people have a better understanding of what they are putting on their face, a tool that is useful to people who offer from skin issues such as acne, eczema and sensitive skin as they can see if they might have a reaction to the product before they buy.
This site inspires its users to become informed consumers and to question products before spending their money on things that might not work. To disregard what this community really means to most of its users, ignores the community itself and paints the image that their words do not matter because of an elitist attitude that skincare is nothing more than women wasting their time and money. In reality skincare is more than just the time and money we spend on our appearance, it is about making sure others can feel just as good as we do.
While it may shock some of you, Skincare is more than just a fad, but a community joining together to say, they had had enough of being told their interest have no use in society when in reality skincare was never meant to be used as a way to change the world. Time does in fact change, as do fads, and while the way women being ridiculed for using their money may not cease in our lifetime, we as a society can ensure we do our best to tackle these issues now, so future generations never have to face scrutiny for doing the things we love.