Smooth, glowing and poreless skin all seem to be “in trend.” Countless people are doing whatever it takes to achieve that look, whether it be through filters on apps, booking expensive facials, gathering skincare opinions online, or going broke ordering skin products to look the glazed donut of everyone’s dreams. This look has become cemented into society’s beauty standards as the ultimate achievement, with people constantly comparing their skin with someone else’s. Of course, too much of a good thing is bad, so it’s obvious that the obsession with “perfect” skin comes with as many faults as it does benefits. 

Skin issues are things that people “struggle” through and learn to live with. Large pores, acne, facial lines, and oiliness are all things that are extremely natural and often genetic. For years, acne was regarded as being a juvenile condition even though people of all ages can be visited by a pimple. People with facial wrinkles are bombarded with ways to smooth out their face as if they were a shirt. These examples show society’s issues with things that stray from perfection and how easy it is to just shove a product suggestion down someone’s throat without dealing with the truth of being human.

Skincare has come a long way from the bottles of scented, stripping, and pore-clogging goo of beauty’s past. Clearasil was all the rage, and people didn’t find an issue in tearing their skin with abrasive physical exfoliants. Then there was a cultural shift. Western skincare brands adopted trends from overseas by making hydrating toners, cleansing balms, sheet masks, and micellar water more accessible to everyday customers. It became a phenomenon of people posting pictures of their vanity shelves and showing off their collection as if it was an online show-and-tell. 

Of course, it didn’t take long for these “shelfies” to take over. Buying products that could easily break the bank is the norm to this day because people find spending $100 on a serum easier than accepting their porous skin. This thinking is fueled by the cosmetic industry. The use of photoshopped and airbrushed models is a custom that is slowly dying down, but it’s still prevalent. Brand owners like Kylie Jenner are seen “using” their products while having a filter on the videos, as if computer generated butterflies showed the effectiveness of a foaming face wash. 

Filters, airbrushing and photoshopping are all spawns of societal beauty standards. It seems that Barbie dolls are the goals that people are attempting to achieve, and it has become a standard that is inherently unhealthy. Acne, facial lines, pores, oily and textured skin are all normal, human qualities. Society seems to think otherwise, leaving many people to believe that shelling out thousands of dollars is sensible as long as they’re able to achieve the impossible. This causes people to potentially damage their skin. People are ignoring what their skin wants from the incessant pushing of perfection by brands.

Times are changing though. Companies like Glossier and Fenty are letting true beauty shine in adverts by taking a stance to not photoshop models. Slowly, people are waking up to the idea that all skin is good skin regardless of how many “issues” one’s face may have. Perfection is a myth, but beauty is free and true. 

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