Doing it for the 'Gram' has become a massive and integral part of our lives, especially over Lockdown when we've had a little/lot more time to scroll through posts about skincare, health, and beauty.
But how much can we learn from Social Media about skincare and health and how do we know who to trust ?
I posted recently about a campaign that Dove has undertaken with the aim of building self-confidence in women and young children. All their future advertising is based around a completely different concept to most other companies.
" To make women feel comfortable in the skin they are in, to create a world where beauty is a source of confidence, not anxiety"
This came about from a study that showed only 2% of women consider themselves beautiful.
Sadly, for the everyday consumer, this gives skincare companies and Multi-Level Marketing firms a real foothold in our psyche. How many times have you seen a 20 something-year-old girl recommending a product that has helped her slim into size 6 jeans or a 50 something saying that a single product has wiped 15 years off her face? It's too common now and it's a rabbit hole we need to jump over not jump into.
Far from listing products and influencers you need to avoid, I'd like to share some that are worth following and some phrases and sales techniques to avoid.
A globally qualified, advanced aesthetician with training in over 100 brands, Caroline has been in retail for 35 years and a brand consultant for 15. Her Instagram account and website are a mine of very straightforward information that is updated on a regular basis. She's not afraid to call out companies and products that aren't offering what they should or make claims that are a little spurious.
She's compiled all this into a yellow camo-bound book that has been an absolute revelation to many skincare users and will guide you through how to build an ideal package for your skin issues. If you don't want to or can't visit a qualified skin professional in person, Caroline is your go-to woman.
Dr. Anjali Mahto is a London-based Consultant Dermatologist MBBCh BSc MRCP (Derm), spokesperson for UK skin charity The British Skin Foundation, and an executive committee member of the British Cosmetic Dermatology Group.
The information she shares bridges the gap between traditional Dermatology, beauty, and cosmetic medicine. Always open and honest about her skin issues, not only how they affect her physically but very mindful of the mental aspects that come with a problem skin. Dr. Mahto gives a deeper view of the skin in her posts but always shares in a language we can all understand and with compassion and obvious pride in her profession.
If you don't mind a gentle heckle or at times a brutal truth-telling session Ranella Hirsch MD, FAAD is a huge favorite of mine. Her Instagram bio reads Board Certified Derm, Past President, American SoC Cosmetic Derm and Aesthetic Surgeon, Media Expert, and Derm Myth Debunker and that's exactly why I love her.
She is using scientific evidence and experience to guide her followers through the minefield of available skincare options, both medical and cosmetic. A regular on Instagram for question and answer sessions, some of her responses are blunt, to say the least...
Q. Is there an age when Retinol is no longer recommended?
You're left with no doubt about what she does and doesn't rate in the skincare world. ( I'll give you the lowdown, use Retinol and SPF )
Let's look at some parts of Social media now that you need to be careful about..
There is a huge trend recently for Clean Beauty and it's being pushed onto us using fear and guilt techniques by a few companies and celebrities that should know better.
Sold on the principle that all other products are Dirty and if your product contains anything that's on the Dirty list then it's harmful to your health and the environment.
I'm going to borrow a quote from another Instagrammer I use regularly @labmuffinbeautyscience Michelle Wong has a Ph.D. in Chemistry that she uses to great effect to debunk myths.
you can’t say that an ingredient is good or bad without considering how it’s used. Drinking a glass of water is very different from inhaling a glass of water. And the amount of ingredient that you use makes a huge difference as well: inhaling some steam is very different from inhaling a whole river.
I'll use parabens as an example, vilified in the press over the last few years and used as a massive selling point by a lot of companies. One of the biggest points used is that parabens are mildly estrogenic. If I tell you that chicken, red meat, tofu, grains, legumes, alcohol, soybeans, sesame seeds, garlic, and peaches are all estrogenic too, does this make a difference?
We get to choose what we put in and on our bodies but we need all the information available to make good choices.
The benefits of eating/applying products with an estrogenic effect will far outweigh the risks and just because parabens are synthetic chemicals, it doesn't make them any safer than natural chemicals. I'll link an article here from Michelle as she can explain it far better than I ever will.
" I've seen an * insert name* Influencer on Instagram use it and she looks great.
We need to look at the reality of advertising using Influencers. By definition an Influencer is someone who is paid, in money or products or experiences, to advertise a product. They are usually chosen for the size of their account or in the beginning their willingness to advertise a product for free to grow their Instagram account.
Do they use what they are selling to you?
Are they giving you the relevant information you need to make a good choice for your skin?
Are they showing filtered images? #filterdrop
Can you ask any questions you need about the product they are selling or are you diverted to another website?
Are they the same age as you with the same skin concerns?
Do they have a team of experts helping them to look great?
Do you have the same time and budget they do?
What else are they using on their skin?
The lesson here like any factual research is to check for proof first. Many of the products that are sold through social media are great but they may not be great for YOU.
There are some fabulous resources available to us all on Social Media now and I still use it as a learning tool nearly every day. The amount of information out there can sometimes be overwhelming and there are a lot of differences of opinion. The best piece of advice I can give to you is to learn your own skin first and what it needs. There are ingredients that will suit your issues perfectly and be really effective so look for these. Look at what products do contain, not what they don't, and if you're ever in doubt I'm always here to guide you.
Love Beauty x