Derma-what? The confusing world of viral skincare

Is this trend only skin-deep?

The steadily-growing YouTube audiences of influencers like Hyram Yarbro (Skin Care by Hyram) and Andrea Suarez (Dr Dray) have blossomed into an integral part of the greater self-care movement. Internet trends usually dissipate quite quickly, yet in the past few years, awareness has risen about topics ranging from mindfulness and spirituality to healthy weight management — and this movement doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. Companies have been quick to try and capitalize on this trend of course, taking every opportunity they have to market organic and vegan products, mass publish self-help books, and, of course, heavily publicize any skincare product they have noticed going viral.

Other than my slight annoyance that corporations are making money off people’s desire to better themselves, I also have a few qualms with the skincare aspect of the wellness trend. For starters, users have started adopting influencers’ opinions as the Ten Commandments of Skincare: many are now refusing to use any product that doesn’t stand up to their favorite YouTuber’s dogmatic preferences. But also, as has happened over and over with the DIY approach to self-care trends, rampant misinformation has caused more harm than good.

When The Ordinary’s AHA + BHA face mask went viral online over the summer, many thought that their X amount of hours spent on skincare YouTube rose them to the rank of “experienced user,” who the packaging clearly warns this mask is for. There’s a reason this product, along with a few more from The Ordinary’s popular range, are prohibited from sale in Canada: misuse of these products can have devastating effects. One woman described literally getting chemical burns from it.

It’s also unfortunate how narrow-minded people have become when it comes to skincare. There are only so many products beauty gurus can recommend, and the raided-out shelves of CeraVe, the most popularly promoted drugstore brand right now, are a testament to this strongly ingrained widespread comfort zone. Hyram and other skincare experts are influencers, and their endorsements are overshadowing other options that people are now less tempted to try out. I’ve come across more than a few TikToks of users talking about their newly acquired “Hyram-approved” products.

Ultimately, this trend of people wanting to take care of their skin and feel better in their appearance in a somewhat informed way is a good thing; I support anyone’s journey to self-confidence, and this trend doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. I guess I’ll have to wait a little longer for that “Back in stock” email.


Feature photo by Christine Beaudoin with overlay by Chloë Lalonde

Related Posts