In general, why are skincare lines so expensive?Skin care lines are businesses, and, by the numbers, skin care is big business and somewhere in the order of $160 Billion a year global industry. One survey suggests American women spend an average of $8 per day on facial care products averaging 16 products in number. Women living in some parts of the U.S. will spend up to $300,000 in a lifetime on facial care. Consumers, you need to be aware that skin care companies are all vying aggressively for your dollars.
Is price an indicator of quality in skin care?Absolutely not. When you read the ingredients in some of the most expensive products, they tell a fanciful story based in creative prose written on pleasurable packaging – imagination and packaging is not sound science or a smart personal skin care choice. Your skin care routine should be pleasant; you should feel good about your products and they should feel good on your skin. They should also help you reach your complexion goals AND they should “do no harm,” meaning they should not cause allergic or irritant rashes. For example, is your skin really going to absorb and benefit from silk and pearls or 24 karat gold? What about the uber-scientific sounding ingredients with benefit statements that you can’t find substantiated by in vivo scientific studies (studies done on living beings)? When I read the ingredient list on the labels of these expensive products, I see fragrance ingredients and other allergens that will land someone with sensitive skin in my office with a rash. I prefer to take the complete opposite approach to helping someone choose skin care products. I look at what ingredients are proven to work for specific, complexion goals. I then look to find products or skin care lines made without a lot of allergens and irritants. These include meaningful amounts of the active ingredients in bases that feel good and match a person’s specific complexion type. How do you do this? Understand first that complete skin care involves four key steps: Cleanse, Correct, Hydrate, and Protect. In your complete skin care routine, the key active ingredients will be in the Correct and Protect steps. Cleansers need to clean your skin without overly drying it. Moisturizers need to adequately hydrate skin without blocking pores. “Magic/active” ingredients in these steps are not worth investing in. Save your investment for correcting and protecting products.
How do you tell if a skincare company (or specific product) is worth investing in?Are they using active ingredients with in vivo scientific studies that prove results for correcting complexion issues? Learn what works for your complexion problems or goals and then search for products that have those ingredients. For example:
- Proven acne treatment ingredients include: salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, glycolic acid, retinol, and zinc pyrithione.
- Ingredients that help fight skin aging include: retinol, glycolic acid, green tea antioxidants and vitamin C, and broad spectrum sunscreens.
- Ingredients that work for hyperpigmentation include: broad spectrum sunscreens, retinol, vitamin C, glycolic acid, hydroquinone, and some botanical lighteners such as kojic acid.
- Are the products made in a production laboratory that is pharmaceutical-grade and capable of creating a formulation that preserves active ingredient efficacy?
- Are there so many “actives” in a product that they are diluted and possibly inactivated by each other, or is the product formulation specifically focused to maximize a single or small combination of actives?
Beware of skin care lines or products made with a long list of trending “actives” for market appeal. It’s the “all but the kitchen sink” approach to marketing – the label reads “like magic,” but I find that each of those ingredients lessens the others in terms of concentration, stability and efficacy. I am an oil painter and it is similar to adding so many paint colors together that you eventually end up with a non-descript brown/gray mess that’s of no use on your canvas.
- Is the product dispensed in a container that protects it from light and air if necessary? For example, is your fragile and expensive vitamin C product protected from oxidation by both formulation and packaging?