Vogue India has recently addressed how skincare products being promoted by influencers and celebrities alike are actually doing more harm than good. Don’t get me wrong – I can understand how people would be convinced by seeing their favourite celebrities get amazing results by using DIY products and home remedies, but this doesn’t mean they’re not harmful for your skin, or that they’ll work on everyone.
Natural skincare products, when used carelessly, may cause allergic reactions ranging from peeling skin to rashes or hives. Having an allergic reaction can be both uncomfortable and dangerous, and isn’t something that should be taken lightly. In most cases, a skin allergy requires immediate medical attention in order to avoid further aggravating the symptoms. It is very important to understand what does and doesn’t work for your skin, and to look out for potentially harmful ingredients in skin products – both homemade and store-bought. Products labeled as ‘natural’ or ‘good for the skin’ may actually be damaging and problematic for different skin types. This is particularly true for those with acne, eczema, psoriasis or sensitive skin, as they are often the worst affected.
Celebrity skincare brands, such as Gwyneth Paltrow’s infamous Goop, only serve to further prove this point. Paltrow’s supposed ‘miracle’ skincare line doesn’t actually provide the solutions most people are looking for. Goop’s eye creams are priced at $90 and upwards, with no guarantee that they work effectively. The same goes for the $100+ price tags on their skins cleansers, facial oils, and face masks. In a transparent effort to further promote their own products, the brand also denounces regular drugstore sunscreen, claiming that they age your skin faster, despite having no evidence to support this.
Influencers with large followings often use and promote ‘natural’ remedies without so much as a disclaimer saying that they can be harmful to certain skin types. For example, some people use lemon in face masks, which can sting for anyone with sensitive skin and definitely should not be used on the face, where your skin tends to be more sensitive compared to the rest of your body. The acidity found in lemons will not lighten your skin, it will make it burn and feel itchy. These fads are becoming increasingly popular and misleading, and on top of that, they’re taking your money for something that doesn’t work.
This doesn’t apply to all influencers and celebrities, however.
Farah Dhukai and Huda Beauty have shared many home remedies that include ingredients such as seeds, aloe vera, green tea, and tea tree oil amongst other herbal or natural products. They make sure to explain how the particular product is good for you and your skin, as well as advising doing a patch test prior to using it on your face. This is extremely important when it comes to those who are easily influenced, such as young people who are looking for ways to combat problematic skin on a budget. However, even with the disclaimers, the notion of influencers and celebrities giving skincare advice is redundant. They aren’t qualified dermatologists, and their suggestions should be taken as just that — suggestions.
‘Natural’, remedies that are supposed to be helpful can actually have the opposite effect on your skin. My mother has been using turmeric, lemon, and yogurt in face masks for years, which is why I decided to try it. It’s common for people from Asian, African and South American households in particular to use a number of natural ingredients in their beauty products. White media has made it seem like these are current trends, but they have been around for an infinite number of years. Cultural remedies are commodified and distributed for profit and the media eats up the idea that these ideas are newly invented by white celebrities and influencers.
But the second the turmeric mixture didn’t feel right on my face, as soon as I began to get red blotches and rashes, I knew I had to take it off and not use it again in the future. It’s important to also remember that you can become allergic to something that you were never allergic to before.
So, when looking to buy products or make your own, make sure to do your research. Consult a dermatologist if possible, and always do patch tests. In skincare, as in all aspects of life, knowledge is power.