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The Day I Found Out Skincare Is Really Bad For You

The day I found out the reality of how bad skincare is for you, was the same day my skincare brand, Bodyality, was born. I'm sure that sounds a little strange, but before this gets awkward, I'll get to explaining...

Long before I started my company, Bodyality, I had a skincare journey that probably sounds familiar to most.

For the longest time, I didn't know or care about what touched my skin, as long as I had the results I wanted. When that bubble burst, I jumped around to various treatments and brands. There were ups and downs, but when the dust settled, I still had oily skin. And my skin was reactive now, too. I was having a blast.

Then, a breakthrough moment came when I wondered what dermatologists thought about oily skin. I was too broke to pay to go visit one, so I decided to do my own research. I read a 2012 report on global sensitive skin studies (Journal of Cosmetics, Dermatological Sciences and Applications, 2012, 2, 184-195). Pretty eye opening stuff, but one line summed it up for me -

"If sensory and visual irritation were combined, the primary cause of sensitive skin would be adverse reactions to products"

Wait, did that just confirm that sensitive skin is caused by skincare products?

The study states that global sensitive skin rates range between 60 - 90% (for females studied). So if we do the math and combine the statements, up to 90% of some countries female population are affected by skincare more than any other agent. Depending on the size of the country, we're still talking about millions of people.

This threw me for a loop. Those aisles of eye catching skincare products may not carry sizeable warning labels, but for some, they may be the cause of your skin troubles. Thanks for the heads up dermatologists (kidding)!

The logical next step after reading this was to go all natural. I knew a lot of organic and natural skincare companies touting that the FDA is responsible for this mess, as they only ban or severely restrict around 15 ingredients from use in the US, while the European Union bans around 1400.

I bought into that logic for a while. However, my personal experience with healing my oily skin naturally were still not getting me back to normal. Despite steering clear from all harsh ingredients and trying a host of organic ones, my skin was still sensitive, and oily. I chalked it up to the residual effect of all the chemicals in the old products I used. Maybe I was just prone to react and genetically disposed to have oily skin. "Get used to it" was what the internet kept telling me.

But I wasn't ready to get used to it, I wasn't ready to give up on my goal of normal skin. There had to be more to this. So, on a whim, I decided to look up the sensitive skin rates of Europe and compare them to those in the US. Surely banning almost 1400 of the worst ingredients in the world would make a sizeable difference.

The results were kind of shocking.

At the time, 44% of the US reported sensitive skin, while 38% reported sensitive skin in Europe. That's only a 6% difference. Ban the 1400 most harmful ingredients in skincare, and you only get a 6% improvement in sensitive skin.

My first thought was, how many ingredients do you have to restrict in order to get that number from 38% down to 0%?

The answer is, all of them.

That's not saying all skincare ingredients are bad, but that's what it would take to get it to 0%. There's no ingredient that you can use that wouldn't cause someone, somewhere else in world, problems.

I thought about the world of skincare for a moment. In it, you have millions of people with problems, where the only solutions to these problems were products that were known to cause more problems the longer you used them.

How do we make sense of all of this?

The world of skincare makes sense the moment you look outside of it as being a one stop solution. Skin problems are mostly body problems. It's time to realize that. I was never going to find skincare that cured my oily skin, because it's not just a skin issue. Despite all my efforts, there's a limit to what can be fixed by skincare. The same goes for my sensitive skin. But there's a whole lot that can go wrong by trying too hard.

But, by addressing my body and the root causes inside my body, I was able to set up my skin to be in position to return to normal. And that's when you use skincare to bring you to the finish line. But the strategy completely changes what that skincare looks like, how long (or should I say short) you use it, and how intense it gets.

It's a brand new approach to getting natural results, and it's done knowing skincare is the enemy. That's why my brand started the day I realized skincare was bad, because it's always going to be a major factor in the decisions we make, and how we can influence the products we make.


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