By Jenna Merony
Originally Posted: April 21, 2021
This article is part of The Current’s “Throwback Thursday” series.
Quarantine brought plenty of time to develop a skin care routine, but it wasn’t the ideal time to afford it with job markets down, increased layoffs and a world full of unease. However, skin care brands seemed to use this to their advantage. The beauty industry was “up from $483B in 2020 to $511B in 2021” and continues to push the need for the “perfect” skin care.
Influencers like skin care specialist Hyram Yarbro exposed people to cheaper, yet still effective, skin care products. Using multiple social media platforms like TikTok and YouTube, Yarbro, or as he is better known, @skincarebyhyram, was able to spread a new found love for the health of one’s skin.
Yarbro is one of a few influencers to look up to when searching for products to get actual better skin, rather than doing it for the sake of feeling beautiful. Society has programmed people, especially women, to connect their self-worth to their beauty and how much money they need to spend to earn that younger, fresher skin.
High-end skin care brands aren’t always worth the money but make consumers think otherwise by using commercials to convince women that their products will make them beautiful. Amanda M. Gengler, author of “Spelling Feminism, Consuming Femininity,” states in her article that advertisers do this by using terms like “empowerment,” “self-determination” and “independence” to persuade women that buying their products will make them feel that way.
This rhetoric helps sell these expensive skin care brands and keeps women in this feminine mindset of needing to look presentable at all times. However, the message is that women can only achieve the perfect skin with their far from affordable products.
If someone can’t afford these skin care brands, will they be able to attain this idea of true beauty? Big brands tend to make consumers feel that they can’t reach true beauty unless they buy the brands’ expensive products.
Unfortunately, the world has been obsessed with the idea or need for clear skin to feel beautiful since the very beginning. From Ancient Egypt to today, women have been convinced they need clear skin to be beautiful. In reality, when thinking about skin care for healthy skin and not for beauty, there is only a need for three products: a cleanser, a moisturizer and sunscreen.
Sunscreen is the most important product to use as it helps save your skin from the harshness of the sun. Chicago Tribune reports that “even when it’s overcast, up to 80% of the sun’s rays are still being absorbed by your skin. And the presence of snow can nearly double the amount of ultraviolet radiation that bombards your skin.” It might seem crazy, but wearing sunscreen should be a year round thing.
A cleanser and moisturizer are also important for a skin care routine. Cleansers are used to cleanse the skin of the dirt and oil it took on from the day’s events, and moisturizers help lock in moisture to help keep your skin hydrated and soft, especially during the cold, dry winter months.
With those three products, anyone can keep their skin looking healthy and beautiful, changing the idea that true beauty will only come when using multiple skin care products from high end brands that break bank accounts. True beauty exists within all, no matter the state of their skin. What society deems as impurities are what make people unique, and they should be embraced.
Society should not control how anyone sees themselves. Women are the only ones who can truly define their beauty by being themselves and embracing their skin no matter its appearance. There’s no need to spend a lot of money on products that may not even work. They just need to get a hold of some sunscreen and self-acceptance, and they are all set and on their way to finding their true beauty.
Jenna Merony is a senior pursuing a double major in professional writing and English with a concentration in creative writing. Her plans after graduation involve graduate school to get a M.A. in creative writing and possibly write a poetry book during that time. After graduate school she hopes to work for a publishing industry as an editor. In her free time she likes to read, run and write poetry.