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What a face mask can’t fix

by Callie Giaccone March 17, 2020
What a face mask can’t fix

After I’ve washed my face with a bar of nice smelling soap and applied basically half a bottle of rosehip oil on my nose, I dive out of my ugly green swivel chair and plunge into bed. 

As my greasy face rubs against my pillows and my eyes begin to close, I think for a moment that everything is going to be okay. Just for a moment, I forget about climate change, coronavirus, global politics or the nine assignments on my to do list. As J.K. Rowling writes, all is well.

I know that I’m not the only person who has a bedtime routine that makes them feel a touch more like a human.

Whether yours is washing your face, or spinning around clicking your heels and sprinkling essential oil in your eyeballs, it doesn’t matter. We often use these routines to find some sort of control while living in a capitalist society that alienates us from one another, driving us to consumption as a cure for all. This is evident with the boom of the skincare industry.

According to CNN, “The global skincare market was valued at nearly $135 billion in 2018, increasing nearly 60 per cent in the past 10 years.”

In Canada, according to Statista  the market amounts to $1,762.60 million in 2020, expecting to grow annually by three per cent.

Like any large, growing industry, there are many reasons to be sucked into the skincare world. For some, their reasons align with mine, feeling like for a moment in the day I can control my life and how I feel. For others, it’s about hormones and acne. Many can relate to the fact that you simply don’t feel good when your skin doesn’t look good.

Summarizing the impacts that skin care issues have on one’s mental health will always be an oversimplification. There will be people that don’t care about their skin, no matter what it looks like, where others won’t leave their house with even a few blemishes.

As online platforms continue to grow, we see more filters and photoshopped images of perfect skin than ever before. Common sense would tell us that this would distort our perceptions of perfect skin. As cliche as it sounds, perfect skin does not exist.

The lack of representation of real skin with pores, pimples and wrinkles, paired with the mass amount of consumptions of images and videos of “flawless” skin is a recipe for skewed expectations regarding skin care.

Some social media platforms have started raising awareness of “Acne Positivity,” by sharing stories and showing images of people with acne. Movements like these shine light on the reality of living with acne in our society, while also demonstrating to people that they are not alone.

So all this to say, skin care can be a big part of our routine, while also telling us that we are not good enough. Often, companies try to market a magic recipe that will fix us— and although that would be great, it is just simply not the case.

What may help is changing our perceptions of what beauty is, so that those with acne, scars, red splotches and other “imperfections” can fit under that umbrella.

Can that happen when large industries rely on us hating the skin we are in to make profits? Probably not. Is it safe to say that capitalism is the root of all of our problems and my rosehip oil won’t fix it? Probably. 

Photo by Laurence B.D

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