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January 04, 2012
The beauty industry is interesting. For the past year or so, I’ve heard countless women describe their skin type to me. They call themselves oily, dry, sensitive, prone to acne. I nod my head in solemn agreement, but I don’t always tend to actually agree with them. People, due to outside forces (which I’ll mention in a moment) like to over-simplify and pigeon-hole their skin type. “I have combination skin, it’s oily in the T zone” or “my skin is dry”. When I tell them I don’t really believe in “types”, that skin is constantly changing and reacting to the environment, lifestyle and health, I get a few raised eyebrows, as though I’m suggesting that their acne is an illusion or a figment of their imagination.
Take for example, the co-called dreaded oily skin type. As a fairly oily-skinned gal, I have come to realize that this skin-type is accompanied by a lexicon of negativity. Greasy. Acne-prone. Dirty. Large pores. Zits. Blemishes. Pimples. Black-heads. Shiny. Oily skin is something you are expected to get rid of, combat, hide. You have to mattify it before adding makeup, you have to blot is, sop up the greasies, wash it with harsh foaming cleansers. Dry it out, by any means necessary, because oily skin is basically a disgusting problem, and we should hang our greasy heads in shame.
Yes, it can run into a few problems. For example, my usually oily skin has been getting drier with age (changing hormones) and is much drier in the morning than the evening, especially in the winter (sleeping on my face and blasting the heaters). It’s still pretty oily overall though. So what skin type do I have? Combination? Dry? Oily?
Honestly I don’t care. When I need to wash my face, I wash. I moisturize all the time (I’d rather be a little greasier and shiny than dry and wrinkly, personally). I just listen to my skin and adjust. It really is that simple. I don’t overdo the cleansing if I feel dry and tight, instead I oil up. Or, the opposite. After working out, I don’t add oil, I cleanse with a balm (the one about to be available, yay!!) which leaves me feeling clean, but never, EVER “squeaky” clean (that’s the evilest and worst thing you can do for your skin..
The cosmetics industry was really on to something when they decided to break down and analyze skin types, and sell specific products for every skin description imaginable, especially since all of our skin fluctuates (more products to buy!). Also, conventional skincare tends to go overboard on their one benefit; if they mattify, they dry out. If they hydrate, they congest.
It’s a shame that oily skin gets such a bad rap. Through decades of effective marketing, we’ve come to beleive that oily skin is basically disgusting and dirty, and god forbid if you were to show a little shine!
However, it’s easy to market to people when you play up an insecurity. Point out a problem they didn’t even know they had, and boom, sales! Evil.
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