Beauty resolutions. They’re a thing. So what were yours this year? To wake up every morning with a dewy glow and the inexplicably smooth skin of a newborn baby? To invest in a magical potion that bans all spots and clogged pores? To have the perfect skin? We get it. But we’ve got to let you in on a secret that no one in the skincare industry will tell you: Perfect skin doesn’t exist. But before you throw out your entire skincare regimen, hear us out.
Flawless skin is a myth — simply because skin is ever-changing. Not only does skin change as you age, but it changes daily. You can wake up with oily skin, but have dry skin by lunchtime. Stressed? (Hello, pandemic!) You’ll notice your skin reacts. Diet, lifestyle, and hormones all affect changes in the skin as well. TLDR? Your skin is constantly responding to changes in your internal and external environments — which means it can never be perfect.
So then why, like a bad ex boyfriend, does the ‘perfect skin’ myth persist? Because the skin industry is trying to sell you perfect skin. From airbrushed models to serums for every skin “issue” under the sun, the skin industry is working their hardest to tell you that your natural skin isn’t normal and isn’t beautiful — when in fact, it is.
But instead of questioning why women in magazines suspiciously all have glass skin, we feel pressure. We panic buy when we have a new breakout, fine line, or sun spot, and add the newest cult cream to our medicine cabinet. Then we add yet another step to our 15-step routine, and pray to the skin gods to give us the skin we had when we were toddlers. When this doesn’t work — or works temporarily, until we have a new problem — we panic buy again, trying a new product that promises to give us skin that doesn’t actually exist. Eventually, it becomes an exhausting cycle.
This pressure of perfection is exactly what the beauty industry banks on. Studies show that we buy cosmetics more for emotional reasons than for utility. Ultimately, we buy to feel better about ourselves than to solve skin “issues.” And the skin and beauty industry know that in order to continue to persuade us to buy products, we first need to feel some sort of (negative) way about ourselves. But we’re smarter and stronger than this.
Instead of spending nearly a quarter of a million dollars on our appearances over a lifetime, what if we embrace the skin we live in? We can choose to accept, little by little, that our skin is beautiful in its own right, simply because it’s ours. It’s a revolutionary concept in American culture, we know. But genuine acceptance? That’s impossible, you mutter — while slathering on your night cream. We’re here to tell you it is actually possible. The first step is to heal how you think of your body and skin. Here are some steps to take.
Spend some time writing down how you feel about your skin. Write anything and everything, and explore what comes up. How does it make you feel? Are there any particular things that bring up strong feelings? Let it all out so that you can become aware of where you’re starting from.
This helps rewire the brain to think, and reinforce, positive thoughts. A good way to do this is — yep, you guessed it — journaling again. Try writing down any negative self-talk thoughts you have, and then cross out each one with something positive that you like about yourself. Repeat as needed.
Before you roll your eyes and think “woo-woo,” hear us out. The words you speak have power and the ability to change your perception — and there are studies to back it up. So practicing self-affirmations, whether you say them in the mirror or as you wake up, can help you move towards self-acceptance.
While we’re not saying to throw out your skincare routine completely (we can’t give up the NuFace), we are saying that to love our skin is to accept it, in all its ever-changing beauty.