How the similarities in our skin far outweigh the differences.
Last month we explored how the environment has more of an effect on our skin quality than skin type. It’s a crazy perspective, I know - but the idea that everyone’s skin is totally different is a widespread myth.
Just last week, I asked a colleague if he had tried the range and he responded, “ I didn’t know men could use it”.
Now there comes a time in every dermatologist’s life where you learn to take a deep breath, smile, hold back the eye roll and just say ‘of course men can use the range’.
So below I’ve broken down how and why the skincare industry perpetuates the myth that people require different products based on sex, age or even race.
So where does this concept of skin type come from?
Brands create elaborate campaigns and tactics to try to pair and pigeon hole your skin concerns with a specific set of products designed for a specific issue or area. All of this is disguised as making it easier for the consumer to make a decision in store through self diagnosis. In reality, it only works to confuse and take you further from the dermatologic truth.
Unfortunately the hidden agenda here is called line extension. Big brands use this as a growth tactic by convincing you that you need more product than necessary (or that one product should only treat one concern).
Over my 15+ years experience as a dermatologist and as a key opinion leader in the field, three major insights have informed my belief that this is the wrong approach.
Those insights are:
- People have more than one skin concern at any one time (including sun damage, pigmentation, ageing, acne, dehydration and sensitivity/rosacea);
- On a physiological level all skin requires the same ingredients, in fact the similarities between everyone’s skin far outweigh the differences; and
- Our skin type (i.e. dry or oily) changes based on environment, so how can it be fixed? We need skincare that is adaptable and works with you, your lifestyle and environment.
Now I can see the nodding heads with point one. Everyone has experienced breakouts, alongside wrinkles, with a sprinkle of pigmentation (Sounds thrilling, right?). But why do we settle for skincare that claims to only focus on one issue, when in reality we encounter numerous on a daily basis.
From my perspective, skin type - in the sense that the skincare industry tries to define it, doesn’t exist.
That’s why I developed a core range of products to treat all skin types, no matter age, race, sex or concern, in one Total Transformation Kit.
Universal skincare for all skin types…It sounds fabulous but what does it actually mean?
Anyone who has had a consultation, treatment or used my skincare knows that I have a no BS approach, and instead focus on the science behind skincare. During the formulation process I trial and use every product, to refine and ensure they live up to their claim.
I believe in decluttering your skincare routine by delivering clever combinations of multi-tasking active ingredients to treat each of the six common skin concerns in one. I mean, If one product can tackle the whole bunch - hallelujah.
The six common skin concerns have evolved from my observations and extensive clinical experience, and inlcude:
- Sun damage
- Sensitivity/Rosacea, and
Now strap yourselves in for this - but how I (as a dermatologist) treat all of the above concerns isn’t determined by your specific 'type'. It is based on the science behind how best to overcome the concern you are facing.
The factors that change are the corrective (or prescriptive) ingredients; identifying environmental factors or upping the topical nutrients that your skin may be lacking.
In fact, understanding the skin’s fundamental biological and physiological needs is the foundation for achieving healthy, high functioning and youthful skin.
My recommendation doesn’t change if you are male or female; young or old; asian or caucasian, or if you have sensitive or robust skin because all skin is fundamentally equal.
In the same way that our general health is something that we must maintain on a daily basis - whether that is through diet, exercise or medication - everyone’s skin responds best to a religious routine and quality products.
With more complex conditions such as hormonal acne and some pigmentation it is super important to work with a specialist for assistance, as you may need additional prescriptive based care.
So what’s in the Total Transformation Kit?
The Dr Natasha Cook Total Transformation Kit includes the core range of our concentrated clinical strength skincare. The formulations and ingredients have been structured into an AM, PM and once weekly routine to make compliance easy and to reward your skin with consistency.
This is where you can exhale, and forget trying to self diagnose based on bogus marketing claims.
1 - Concentrated Cleanser: Boosted with vitamin B3 and anti-inflammatory botanicals, this is a soothing cleanser to get your skin started each morning. It cleanses without stripping and prepares you for your serums. Learn more here.
2 - Concentrated Clarifier: Your AM serum with 18% alpha and beta hydroxy acids. It is a powerful rejuvenator, fights and clears acne and evens skin tone with anti-ageing benefits. It reduces visible sun damage and up-regulates the production of new skin cells. Learn more here.
3 - Concentrated Moisturiser: Soothing and anti-inflammatory with vitamins A,C,E and glycerin for lightweight hydration that won’t mess with your makeup. Learn more here.
1 - Concentrated Cleanser: This product is designed to be used twice daily. In the evening it helps to remove pollutants, ensuring your skin is properly cleansed without stripping it of essential oils. Learn more here
2 - Concentrated Illuminator: Our PM serum utilises a range of powerful multitasking ingredients, including Vitamin B3, C, HA and peptides. Everything you need to ensure your skin works as hard as you do while you sleep. Primarily focusing on cellular and DNA repair; evening skin tone and boosting collagen. B and C are both powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidants minimising damage from UV and the environment. Learn more here.
3 - Concentrated Hydration+: A luxurious dual night/eye cream with powerful water binding ingredients (humectants). It combines 5% vitamin B3, medical grade lanolin; shea butter and glycerin. It integrates seamlessly with your skin restoring long lasting hydration (12hrs+) without oiliness. Learn more here.
1 - Concentrated Micropeel: Your take home peel with 28% alpha and beta hydroxy acids. Gentle enough to use without downtime - it is a powerful rejuvenator, fights acne and results in a revitalised and more even skin tone. Learn more here.
So what’s the main take-out?
Most importantly, don’t buy products based on marketing - focus on ingredients, concentrations and in the case of more serious issues, professional advice.
Also a handy hint is to look for brands that offer the chance to sample their product ahead of purchase. Whether you go for one product or an entire range it is vital to see how it will interact with other products in your existing routine.