THE SLENDER ROUTE – A LOOK AT SKIN OBESITY
Slow Beauty, Skin Fasting and Skinimalism are each, in their own way, the antithesis of Skin Obesity, antidotes for a condition that, simply put, results from over- consumption of a myriad of skin care products and their active ingredients.
Consumers are exposed to new product launches by skin care manufacturers almost on a weekly basis, with an invitation to try the latest technology and formulations, lest they get left behind.
According to Environmental Working Group, a non-profit research organization covering toxic chemicals in skin care, women use 12 personal care products on average a day, exposing themselves to close to 168 chemical ingredients. Men fare better and only use six products, exposing themselves to about 85 unique chemicals. Bombarding our skin with so many products and formulas and combining too many biological active substances, will ultimately overwhelm and overstimulate the skin.
And once overwhelmed, our skin simply gives up.
It becomes irritated and inflamed, and incapable of harnessing any of the benefits that our skin care regime promises.
It is no surprise then that dermatologists are increasingly suggesting to their patients to ‘go naked’, to give their skins a holiday away from any product and to keep skin care regimes simple.
We should take note though that it is not only our personal health excesses that Skin Obesity speaks to, but also the health of our environment and planet. The constant consumption whittles away our resource resilience, leaving less for the future. Production processes themselves add their own environmental toll, with high energy and water demands and fuelling rising tensions around plastic and packaging pollution.
There are efforts being made to cut back on over consumption, by the public as well as manufacturers. Movements such as ‘slow beauty’ and ‘minimalist beauty’ are the result of consumers buying less and uncovering the beauty benefits of using fewer products. One brand, for example has a “you deserve less” philosophy – with fewer products, fewer ingredients and less skin stress. The skin care brand offers only six products, many of which contain just two or three ingredients each, which are optimally designed to help the skin to perform the function it was designed to do. In many cases, packaging is also shifting to minimalistic, bio-degradable, compostable and refillable options. Examples here include concentrated hair and body products that can last up to five times longer and that reduce strain on manufacturing and waste management. Dry or powdered hair care products that use less water, also reduce packaging. How to reverse Skin Obesity? It’s about taking a few steps back, committing to a more sustainable (and less expensive) skin care routine and allowing the skin to rest, reset and rediscover its purpose.