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Dermorexia, when skincare becomes an obsession

With the dermorexia Are we facing a cosmetics drift? The case of Sephora kids, pre-adolescents who stock up on skincare products despite their young age, and the exponential increase in beauty tutorials shared on social networks, has caused attention towards skin cosmetics to explode. Even marketing with its impressive claims has contributed to convincing consumers of all ages that they need a large number of skin products. Journalist Jessica DeFino in her counter-current newsletter The Unpublishable, he used the term dermorexiaborrowing it from the pathological concern towards healthy food said horthorexia, to describe: «a series of obsessive behaviors enabled and encouraged by the skin care industry: teenagers devising multi-step anti-aging routines out of fear of future wrinkles, adults going into debt to undergo injection treatments, united by frantic worry and intergenerational for retinoids, exfoliating acids and the search for unattainable luminosity.” In his NL he also cites a study published in the National Library of Medicine in which the aim is to demonstrate that they are observing which can be classified as addictive behaviors in the use of cosmetic procedures.

This excessive use of cosmetics risks being counterproductive for the skin which has an innate ability to repair itself and restore balance. Instead, if you exaggerate in the stratification of products or in the application of active ingredients that are not suitable for your skin type, you risk wearing out its intrinsic protection capacity, leading to an imbalance in the skin microbiota and protective barrier. It is no coincidence, in fact, that dermatitis, skin sensitivity and acne are on the increase in adulthood. Even the new viral skincare trends on TikTok and promoted by models and influencers focus on perfectly plumped, glowy, minimalist but high-perfection skin. An approach that has certainly influenced the spasmodic care of the complexion, between cosmetics and aesthetic medicine treatments.

Healthy skin or perfect skin?

We are all conditioned by the culture of beauty and perhaps the thing to do to normalize the relationship with cosmetics and with one's body is precisely to return to its original meaning. In recent times, the mix between beauty and health has confused the objective: do we use cosmetics to achieve a hypothetical aesthetic perfection of the skin or do we use them to keep the skin healthy? The word cosmetic comes from Greek kosmos which means order” hence kosmesis: tidying up, beautifying, achieving harmony. We, however, associate cosmetics with skin care, but in reality everything that falls within the field of skincare it doesn't cure or treat, it gets better. So, if we are looking for perfect ageless and poreless skin, the goal is no longer health but purely aesthetic. As Jessica DeFino also points out, we act as if our skin needs to be restored every day. It is important to know the ingredients and active molecules, but we should also know what our body needs, listening to it, observing it and perhaps undergoing a precise analysis carried out with hi-tech instruments, relying on the opinion of an expert and not just that of a beauty creator. The skin needs conscious skincare, which starts from hydration, the only aspect that is truly transversal to all ages and the focal point of the beauty routine of very young people.

Even the new perspective of longevity, which has gradually replaced the word anti-aging and which we too have talked about several times, certainly brings a positive message that looks to the future, but in reality it has simply transformed the concern of erasing wrinkles into prevention so that the signs of aging never appear on the skin. So if on the one hand the younger ones fight for a more democratic narrative of beauty, free of stereotypes and social duties, on the other they mistake health for an aesthetic desire that hides an inner fragility, a basic insecurity that risks transforming self-care into another obsession. According to research by Statista, a global data and business intelligence platform, global turnover in the skin care segment of the Beauty & Personal Care market will continue to increase steadily between 2024 and 2028 for a total of 24 billion dollars (+ 12.88% ). After the eighth consecutive year of growth, it is estimated that the indicator will reach 210.7 billion dollars and therefore a new peak in 2028. And to think that the greater attention to skincare, which has far exceeded that towards make-up, was born to make peace with one's skin.

Source: Vanity Fair

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