beauty

6 things the skincare industry doesn’t want you to know.

Look, you don't have to be a beauty aficionado to know that a lot of what we're told about skincare is fluff. It is! It really is. And yes, we all know you can't believe everything you see slapped on the front of products. 

However! We also know that skincare is a WONDERFUL thing, and there are some hard, meticulous, science-driven brands out there that can do some pretty amazing stuff for people's confidence. It's not all just BS in nice packaging.

But see, there's a wee problem. 

The beauty market is very noisy, overwhelming and riddled with wildly buzzy/trendy/unnecessary stuff. And it can make things awfully confusing for the average dame.

Watch: Here's seven ways to improve your skin while sleeping. Post continues below.


Video via Mamamia

Y'see, someone on TikTok was having a yarn about the skincare industry recently, and since we're very cool and down with the kids these days, we watched it. And it was a little confronting. 

Like, we chuckled it off, but we're still thinking about it.

Here it is below:

@cassandrabankson

I mean, if the companies aren’t going to tell you, I will. 😊 follow for more #skincare stuffs and the occasional cat. 😸

♬ original sound - Cassandra Bankson

Pretty crazy, right? 

In case you couldn't be arsed watching it, we'll give you the gist of it. 

Basically, TikTok user @cassandrabankson (who says she's been an industry expert for over 10 years), had a few things to say about what's going on behind the scenes in the skincare world.

First off, she said that contrary to what you may believe, skincare packaging does not indicate how good a product is. 

If that product is heavier and fancier - brands will make you pay more money for them. According to Bankson, the cosmetic standard is for products to be marked up 10x what they're worth.

Yikes.

Next, Bankson claimed that probiotic skincare is a lie (casual), and unless the bacteria is alive, it's not going to have a dramatic effect on your skin's microbiome. 

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Wait - there's one more. 

In her last point, Bankson goes on to say that celebrity skincare lines are not guaranteed to transform your skin - which we kinda already know right?

We know. It's A LOT.

So, what is one to do with all of this information from one viral TikTok?

We asked two dermatologists if there were any other things the skincare industry really doesn't want us to know. And apparently there are a few things you need to stop believing.

Listen to Mamamia's podcast for your face, You Beauty, where we find out everything a skin expert puts on hers. Post continues below. 

Just a quick note: We don't care what you buy - if you like pretty packaging, go for it! If celebrity skincare is your jam, good for you! If you're always first on the hyped-up products, get in there! What you choose to spend your money on is your own personal choice. But! Knowing how to demystify the process can certainly come in handy, no?

Shall we?

1. No one actually needs to use a toner.

Hands up if you've been following the 'cleanse, tone, moisturise' routine, since forever?

Well, bad news. 

Skin experts say that the whole toning thing is actually a completely unnecessary skincare step.

To top that little tidbit off, you could also be doing more harm to your skin than good. Not ideal.

"Toners tend to contain alcohol and other drying ingredients that disturb the skin barrier and cause irritation," said Dr Katherine Armour from Bespoke Skin Technology.

"This is a completely unnecessary step in your skincare regime. There is no ingredient miraculously delivered in a toner that cannot be delivered in a more skin-friendly way." 

A toner is generally used to balance the skin's pH levels and remove excess cleanser. But as long as you remove your cleanser properly, there's no real need for a toner. Plus, many cleansers now offer a wealth of ingredients to help balance the skin's pH - so you're really not missing out.

"There is a current trend for AHA toners... [but] AHAs are already elegantly delivered in creams and lotions."

2. Natural and organic brands aren't better for your skin than chemical ingredients.

This is a biggie. You know all those skincare brands out there pushing 'natural' ingredients as being cleaner and healthier for your skin than those with chemical ingredients? 

Well, Dr McDonald said it's untrue. No really, she did.

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"Most people do not realise that all 'natural' ingredients (which are generally defined as those extracted from plants rather than made in a laboratory) are chemicals in themselves," said Dr McDonald.

How unbelievably awkward.

If you're a person with sensitive skin, you'd think that slathering on natural and organic ingredients would be better for you, no? Apparently not.

"What’s most important to know is that many natural and organic ingredients can cause significant skin issues including irritation, sensitive skin and allergic rashes," said Dr McDonald. 

"If you are having problems with your skin, it is more important to look for products that are designed for sensitive or allergic skin rather than natural or organic products," she adds.

On top of this, it's useful to know that pretty much anyone can slap the word 'natural' on their skincare products, even if only a small percentage of the ingredients inside are natural. 

Wait - what?

These terms aren't strictly regulated - meaning it's confusing as hell. "The terms 'natural' and 'organic' are often used simply as marketing terms, as these appeal to certain consumers."

More often than not, you'll find that products that claim to be 'natural' are actually full of chemicals and synthetic ingredients - which is probably not what consumers had in mind when making the switch.

3. Eye creams aren't really necessary.

Look. A serum or moisturiser will do for your eyes what it does for the rest of your face - hydrate and protect.

"I bang on about this a lot. But, there is nothing miraculous in an eye cream that is particularly different to your standard day or night moisturiser or active skincare," said Dr Armour. 

"Eye creams just come in a smaller jar, and are more expensive, and we buy them because we have been told that we need to. The only ingredient that might be of use that is often added to eye creams is caffeine (to de-puff)."

Just to reiterate: We're probably paying more for something in a SMALLER JAR.

"I'd recommend just patting your facial active skincare and moisturisers carefully to the eye area, and save yourself some serious money," said Dr Armour.

Just make sure you don't take these up any closer than about 1cm under your eye, okay? 

"If you’re using very strong retinoids, AHAs, or vitamin C, you may need to take care with these, or use something a little gentler in the eye area."

4. Most active ingredients won't actually reach your dermis.

"Unfortunately, many ingredients that are named in skincare products such as collagen, antioxidants, vitamins and hyaluronic acid never reach the dermis where they are required to action any changes in the skin," explains Dr Cara McDonald from Complete Skin Specialists.

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We... we need a minute.

"Similarly, many ingredients are not in the active form nor required concentration to exert any biological effect on the skin biology," adds Dr McDonald. 

Meaning? While marketing might make us believe otherwise, a lot of skincare products out there aren't actually strong enough to make dramatic changes to our skin.

"Unfortunately, most skincare products are not regulated, and therefore it is difficult to determine whether the products will have any of the claimed benefits on the skin."

*Cries softly*.

5. There are chemicals in mineral sunscreens.

Whoever told you mineral sunscreens don't have chemicals in them is telling you a big fat fib, kay?

"I love mineral/physical sunscreens. But, mineral sunscreens still require preservatives to stop microbial growth once they are opened. So, they definitely contain chemicals," said Dr Armour.

6. Serums penetrate better than other skincare preparations.

Everyone knows serums are the superior members of the skincare family. They're the heavy-lifters. The hard workers. They're potent. Penetrate deeper. Make a bigger difference. 

Right? RIGHT?

"Again, I love serums. They are light, elegant, and can be layered if you wish," said Dr Armour.

*Waits in suspense*.

"However, what matters about the effectiveness of a skincare ingredient is its concentration, biological activity and size - not the base that it is delivered from (i.e. serum, lotion, cream, balm)."

Okay. What does that mean? Serums aren't actually better for your skin than other products?

"Skincare companies love to sell serums, because you can plaster so many of them on your face at once as they usually layer well."

Sneaky, sneaky.

So, while you can and should stand by a serum if you love using it, Dr Armour said multi-tasking products in the form of creams, balms and oils are just as good at tackling your skin concerns.

"My preference is for products that contain numerous multi-tasking active ingredients to save on time and packaging."

Feature image: Getty

Are there any skincare claims you'd like us to tackle with an expert? Share your questions in the comment section below.