skin care the outline
photo: iStock

Yesterday, The Outline published a story about the entirety of skin care being a scam, and the beauty world EXPLODED with rage.

If you haven't read it yet and do not feel like being trolled, here are the big points:

Every woman in the world is trying to get "perfect skin," and we are ALL going to ridiculous, dangerous lengths to get it. Anyone who has a multi-product skin care routine is a capitalist lemming, because humans have had skin for millions of years, and it's been GREAT until now. Imperfect skin is *fine*, according to the piece, but also you'll be silently judged by your friends if you have it.

Moisturizer is a scam. So are acids. So is Reddit.

As a beauty editor, I was annoyed by this. At its most basic level, the story is built on a false premise — that ALL people, primarily women, want "perfect" skin as it's defined by Glossier (apparently), and that we're big ol' dum-dums who will just buy any crazy bullshit to try to get the skin of a teenage model.

As a human in her 30s who has struggled mightily with her skin, this story pissed me off. It's VERY important to discuss the failings of the skin care industry, because there's a lot of dangerous misinformation out there. But shaming people who buy serums? Come the hell on. Shine a light on the industry; don't unkindly shit on those of us who are "obsessed with skincare" but also maybe "don't have great skin."

ANYWAY. I am not alone in being furiously pissed about this story. While you were sleeping in your ~OBVIOUSLY VERY FRIVOLOUS~ overnight gel mask, Twitter was engaging in the Great Skin Care Family Roast of 2018.

Twitter rose straight up and told "skin care is a scam" haters to take a (historical) hike.

Humans have literally *always* done things to their skin to preserve and beautify it.

(The entire thread is worth reading in its entirety, as it includes so! damn! much! historical context on the "criticism" of cosmetics and how women's worth is systematically tied to and diminished by it.)

Some people brought the TRUTH...

Some brought the simple advice...

Some brought Tahani...

And some brought the sick SEO burns.

The fact is, people love skin care for a MILLION different reasons. It's not all to achieve impossibly smooth Barbie skin.

Wait... you mean everyone *isn't* just spending too much money because they love 2 exist in a capitalist hellscape?

It's almost like there's literally NO way to win.

If only you could put EMPATHY in skin creams.

Self-care is NOT just a sexy buzzword that marketing companies toss around.

People rely on it for their mental and physical health, something The Outline piece just doesn't address.

And did you notice the strange end to the story, which appears to incorporate a "self love" message? Allure EIC Michelle Lee did, and she is *on* that.

Skin care is not just about adhering to messed up societal norms. Many see it as an act of resistance.

Other acknowledge that a lot of skin care marketing has misogynistic roots, but also, it's cold and nobody wants their faces to flake off.

The science about what ingredients are beneficial and which are not *is* actually there. No dermatologist will tell you to skip moisturizer unless there's a really specific reason.

Because "What if skin care was BAD" is a rejected "Black Mirror" episode, not a legit fact-based story.

In our shame-based culture, literally EVERYTHING is seen as bad.

And stories like this just reinforce ideas about "bad" skin versus "good" skin.

Wanting to look and feel YOUR best — not look exactly like a teenage model — is an urge that's been around as long as humans have.

Cleopatra was so ahead of the curve with the ACV.

And choosing which "medical studies" to cite to back up half-baked opinions is pretty irresponsible.

And anecdotes like the quoted one here are dramatic, but not exactly illustrative of how most people use skin care products in 2018.

Even magazines are coming in hot, subtweeting the everloving shit out of this article.

Marie Claire with the direct burn.

But never let it be said that good can't come out of bad.

I HIGHLY recommend The Hanacure mask, btw.

Speaking of masks...

When you're a beauty editor and your phone is blowing up and you're like:

OMG, did nobody tell you we're all meant to be fleshless meat sacks now?!?!


But really, there are MAJOR skin care issues affecting the country. Perhaps we should spend more time talking about those, instead of needlessly hurting women who like a good cleanser.

Because, at the end of the day...