Why You Need to Downsize Your Skin-Care Routine.

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S1: This is the waves.

S2: This is the wave is the wave, this is the way, this is the way. This is the waves that tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick.

S3: Welcome to the Waves Slate’s podcast about gender, feminism and today our skin. Every episode, you get a new pair of feminists who talk about the thing we can’t get off of our minds. And today you’ve got me. Shannon Palus, a senior editor at Slate and

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S1: me Jessica DeFino, a freelance beauty reporter for Slate, The New York Times, Vogue and more, and the writer of the weekly newsletter The Unpublishable.

S3: Today, we’re going to be talking about skin care and why it’s kind of a scam. I have been interested in this topic for a really long time. Before I came to Slate, I was a health reporter, wirecutter, the New York Times’s product recommendation site, and as a science journalist, I’ve spent a lot of time both there and it’s slate digging into the science behind skin care and what works and what doesn’t work. And I’m really excited to talk to just today who recently wrote a piece for Slate on why maybe the entire premise that your skin needs all this additional and expensive care is misguided. Jess, why did you want to talk about this?

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S1: This is a topic that I can’t stop thinking about, because for most of my life, I was obsessed with products and prescriptions. I’ve always had problems scan and tried everything accutane, birth control, antibiotics, retinoids, steroids plus, you know, all the over-the-counter skin care you could possibly imagine. I basically had like a break down in my mid 20s and stopped using skin care entirely because I was so frustrated and my skin was so damaged. And lo and behold, my skin healed more and that week than it ever had before. At the time, I was a beauty writer for the official Kardashian Jenner apps, and so I sort of leveraged my position in the industry to figure out what was happening to me. Like scientifically like why had nothing done more for my skin than everything? And I discovered the science of the skin’s inherent functions and the science of how products disrupt these functions. And I ended up pivoting into beauty reporting to try to get this information out into the mainstream beauty industry. Of course, once I started working in the beauty industry, I realized why none of this information is out there. Advertisers or affiliate sales, just general consumerism. So I was thrilled when Slate gave me a chance to wax poetic about the wonder of the skin.

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S3: I’m going to need to hear a little bit more later about what being a writer for the official Kardashian-Jenner apps is like. But first, we’re going to get into a little bit about your piece. Your skin doesn’t need skin care. Hey, waves, listeners, if you’re loving the show and want to hear more. Subscribe to our feed. New episodes come out every Thursday morning while you’re there. Check out our other episodes too. Like last week’s about women in the fitness industry. So we’re going to start by talking about your piece. Your skin doesn’t need skin care. You mentioned a little bit in your intro that it can be really hard to write about these topics for mainstream publications, and you have a Substack called the Unpublishable. So I’m wondering if you could talk to me a little bit about the process of pitching this piece in the process of trying to land pieces in outlets where you’re kind of going against the grain of like you need to buy something for your skin?

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S1: Yeah. So I have actually been pitching this piece for almost two years before I finally found a home with Slate, and I started by pitching it to like the traditional beauty outlets that I typically write for because I guess my my motivation is like, I want to talk to people where they’re at, like, where are people getting most of their skin care information? And how can I sort of infiltrate that space and be like, No, you actually don’t need it. But yeah, like I said, it is pretty hard to get it out there. So the piece was rejected by most places. I did get it placed in one like pretty prominent beauty publication. And then in the editing process, they wanted me to add all these caveats about products you could possibly use. And it just became too much, and I ended up pulling it because I was like, This is not the story that I want to tell, like, I don’t want to add product placements in here. So, yeah, it is. It is really hard. One, one of the pieces of feedback that I got was we could publish something like this, but only if you told it as a first person essay because it’s easier to defend to our advertisers if it’s coming out of your mouth, rather than the authoritative voice of the publication. Just know that advertising really does affect the content that gets out there

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S3: and can use some of our listeners who haven’t yet read the piece. Why doesn’t your skin need skin care? And certainly not to the extent that you would think that it needs skin care?

S1: Sure. I mean, well, first I’d like to say like, examine your definition of need. A lot of people were upset at the at the headline. They’re like, What do you mean? My skin doesn’t need skin care? It’s like, Sure, you might want skin care. Some skin care could be useful if you’re experiencing issues. But bottom line your skin doesn’t need skin care. Human skin has evolved over a millennia to not need skin care, and it has built in functions to self, cleanse, self moisturized self, exfoliate, self protect and self-heal. And generally, if you are supporting your skin through things like lifestyle practices and reducing your stress and getting the right nutrients, your skin needs to perform these functions. It will do all of that for you without product intervention. And actually, product intervention makes it a lot harder for your skin to perform its natural duties. So we’re just we’re making it a lot harder on ourselves.

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S3: You have this one line in the piece that I really like that says, Where do you think the big beauty brands get all of their ideas anyway? And it’s this idea that you know your skin is exfoliating and moisturizing and doing all of these functions that then company has kind of come in and say, Well, we can help your skin do it even better.

S1: Exactly. Yeah, I mean, the basis of basically any product on the market is rooted in what does the skin need and what does the skin already do? And how can we outsource this function to a product to make money? Basically, even even as far as the ingredients that are marketed like some of the trendiest ingredients right now ceramides peptides, hyaluronic acid, collagen, probiotics, prebiotics. Your body produces all of these things. Naturally, your skin has them naturally. I sort of think of it as a form of extractive capitalism because it’s this industry coming in saying, Oh wow, look at what the skin can do. Let’s find a way to take this away. Put it in a bottle and sell it back to them. And in the process, it devalues how incredible your skin is on its own. It makes people think, Oh, my skin is lacking. I need this external product when really your skin is producing it anyway.

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S3: One of my science writer friends, Christy Ashenden, wrote this book called Good to Go. It’s about recovery from exercise and you can be sold all of these things to help you recover better from special beers to like big massage, like things that go on your legs and like mush around the lactic acid. And she found that the answer to how to recover better is to give your body time to rest. Your thesis is kind of the answer to having better skin is like give your skin space to do its thing. You don’t need all of this essential assistance

S1: 100 percent like it’s so much simpler than we. We think it is because the skin is so inherently complex, like the technology that we come up with is never going to match what’s already happening within the. Layer of your skin.

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S3: So you do do some things to your schatten. What is your skincare routine like right now?

S1: Yeah, my skincare routine is really minimal. Like some days I’ll do nothing, especially if I’m in writing mode and I’m just like home at my desk, not going anywhere like I won’t wash my face. It’s fine. I cleanse at night with pure manuka honey. So Manuka honey is it’s incredible. It’s a humectant, it’s a prebiotic, it’s an antioxidant. And it has, like a lot of natural skin healing properties like even Western hospitals will keep it in burn units because it’s so effective at healing compromised skin. So I just cleanse with manuka honey, rinse that off with water and at night I don’t put anything else on. Night is sort of when your skin goes into repair and renew mode, and in order to do that, it needs to communicate with its environment to see like, what’s happening? What do I need? What sort of protective mechanisms do I need to kick into gear? So I like to just leave nothing on my skin at night. I do have skin that’s on the drier side since I was on Accutane in my younger years, and that damaged the function of my sebaceous glands. So my skin doesn’t produce enough oil naturally. So if my skin is feeling dry during the day, I’ll use Hulbert oil, I’ll apply it onto damp skin. I hope oil is a 97 percent chemical matched to human sebum, so the skin really responds well to it because it recognizes it as like, Oh, this is something we know how to work with. And yeah, that’s basically it. Monica and Hoba are like my my Goto’s. And then, of course, I always like, I do use SPF. When I go outside, people are. That’s like the number one question I get when I say, I don’t use skincare, everyone’s like, Well, what about sun protection? Yes, of course I use SPF. I used Kerry Grand Essential SPF.

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S3: SPF is the most underrated skincare product, in my opinion, and I think that all of the like, you know, anti-aging products that are like this will help reduce wrinkles and detonated. Like when I’ve talked to dermatologists for reporting, they’ve said, really, the most important thing is to just protect your skin in the first place, whether it’s SPF or like wearing a hat like that, that will do the trick and you don’t have to buy expensive SPF. You can find SPF in bulk at Walmart, or even if you want mineral SPF, that’s at your average CVS. You can find like zinc, zinc based SPF that was like this huge eye opener. Like, Wow, skin care is like even if you’re coming at it from a vanity perspective, it’s just so much more complicated than it needs to be. When you like really start getting caught up in like witch cream is best. Can I spend like you this much money on a drunk elephant? Whatever.

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S1: Yeah, yeah. When you come at it from the perspective of skin first rather than product first, you realize like you don’t actually have to waste your time learning all of these fancy factoids about acids and different chemicals and what combines well. And can you do a retinoid and a vitamin C like? We’re honestly just wasting so much of our time and brain space on questions that don’t really need to be answered if you start with the foundational functions of the skin and and go from there.

S3: What is your acne journey been like? One of the like reasonable pieces of pushback to a piece like you don’t need skincare is like, Oh, well, like, you know, acne. And obviously, I need to do things to my skin to, like, take care of the acne. What is your response to that?

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S1: People all the time tend to think like, Oh, you’re just blessed with perfect skin. Like, Of course you don’t use skincare. No, I’ve had like the longest, roughest journey with my skin starting probably at 13 was when I first got first started to get acne, and probably at 15, I went on birth control specifically to try and heal the acne. When that didn’t work, I went on Accutane, which worked for a little bit but really just demolished my skin in the process and gave me all of these other skin issues. And then probably like in my mid 20s, like with some hormonal changes, my hormonal acne came back with a vengeance. But basically, acne doesn’t necessarily require topical products to heal. And I know that sounds like wild, but it truly does not. Acne is a combination of things. It’s inflammation. It is an imbalanced microbiome. So acne causing bacteria, that’s actually a huge misnomer. It’s the acne is bacteria. It’s present on healthy skin microbiomes. Your skin actually needs it in order to function. And actually, that bacteria produces antioxidants that actually help protect your skin. So you need that to a degree. When the skin microbiome is compromised, it can cause an overgrowth of that particular bacteria, which can cause acne, and then you have to look at, well, why is my skin microbiome compromised? And a lot of that comes down to product interference on the surface. And a lot of it comes down to gut issues because the gut and the skin are inherently interconnected. The gut, the brain and the skin actually all start out as the same bit of embryonic tissue in utero. It form something called the gut brain skin axis. So those three organs just talk to each other, like for life, they are inherently connected. So basically anything that’s happening in your gut can show up on your skin. And a lot of that is where acne stems from. So I have been able to manage my acne completely product free, and I’ve had much better results than I ever had with products in that regard. And the other thing that I always like to mention, too, is like the point is not to eliminate acne from your life entirely. The skin is a communication device that’s one of its jobs, like the skin doesn’t exist to look perfect and pretty and dewy. The skin exists to, like, regulate your functions and keep you alive. It’s part of your immune system, so if you have acne, it’s a communication that something is imbalanced elsewhere, whether that’s the environment, your external environment, your internal environment. And it’s pointing you toward like what is actually happening to find the root issue and address it. And products will never be that.

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S3: I’ve come down and like a little bit of a different place with you on the topical stuff. Actually, one of my best derm consults ever happened early in the pandemic when everything was virtual, and I like send in pictures of like some stubborn acne. And I think because they spend a lot of time recommending complicated things to me or trying to upsell me on like chemical peel, which has also happened, he was like, Just go to the drugstore, get something with this ingredient and put it on it. This time, if you need extra help, use different. And so I’ve settled on like what is compared to like many people in, like my past self, an extremely basic routine that has done wonders.

S1: Yeah, I mean, like, everyone’s skin is different. Everyone’s skin is going to respond to different things. And like, there’s also a convenience factor, like some people just truly do not want to deal with investigating some of these internal causes or, you know, really enjoy using skin care. And in those cases, like products can do things. It’s not that they don’t have any effect. And so if you find something that works for you and you’re happy, like great.

S3: So just I think you could just say skin care is a scam. It’s kind of silly. We don’t need all of this stuff. I’m going to like, move on with my life and think about something else. But you were pretty invested in thinking about skin and and what we do to our skin. Why shape your career?

S1: I don’t think it’s silly at all. I think it’s really serious. Through years of researching the skin and beauty standards, which are why we do all the things we do to our skin, I have come to understand just how harmful our beauty behaviors can be, not just in terms of skin health, which is, of course, a thing, but in terms of mental health. Like, I think a lot of times, skin care is message as self-care and tool for confidence and self-esteem, but the data bears out a very different story. So this like all encompassing focus on our physical appearance and manipulating it and trying to emulate Windex window contributes to anxiety, depression, body dysmorphia, facial dysmorphia, eating disorders, appearance obsession addiction to cosmetic procedures is a very real thing. Self-harming and even suicide. So it’s not that these beauty behaviors are like fun and self-care and self-expression. Like a lot of times, they have a much deeper impact on us psychologically, and that is really what I’m interested in sort of addressing and correcting. I always say skin care culture is like a diet culture. It’s all about manipulating your physical appearance to approximate the current cultural ideal. And just like we’ve seen the harm of diet culture, we can apply basically all of that to skin care culture too. And just the consumerism of it all is like destroying the planet at a time when we really need to be focusing on the health of our environment and addressing climate change. And it’s just so bizarre to me that we keep buying and buying and buying and buying these useless, unnecessary products when we need to focus on downsizing.

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S3: We’re going to take a quick break here, but if you want to hear more from Joss and myself on another topic, check out our Waves Plus segment. Is this feminist? Today, we’re debating whether bar soap is feminist, and please consider supporting the show by joining Slate Plus members get benefits like. Zero ads on any Slate podcast and bonus content on shows like this one. To learn more. Go to sleep dot com slash the web’s class. Jess, you recently wrote about quote unquote divesting from celebrity skin care in your newsletter, and you’ve previously written about the wild rise in celebrity skincare brands. So what is the issue with Kate Hudson or Jennifer Lopez selling us things to put on our faces?

S1: Oh, there’s so many issues. First of all, none of these celebrities are selling you what they use to look the way they look great like their looks come first, largely through genetics and then through like expensive procedures and injectables and surgeries. And then they get the opportunity to, like, launch a skincare line. They’re not beauty experts or skincare experts. They’re not like inventing ingredients in a lab. They’re not adding anything useful to the space at all. They’re just like crowding an already very overcrowded consumer goods market with nothing with just like a bunch of fluff. And they also have a problem with the fact that so many of them try to, like, sell these stories behind the brand as like some altruistic thing like Kate Hudson. When she launched her face mask, she was like, This is about quiet moments alone of ritual. And it’s like, That’s lovely. That doesn’t require a face mask. What you want to promote is quiet moments alone. Why launch a product? It’s all backwards,

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S3: even coming from the premise of like, you can accomplish that with a face mask or like a face wash or something. I bet people have things in their cabinets right now. That kind of for certainly like cleansing your face could be meditative, but like, do you need a different cleanser? Like, what is it about Kate Hudson’s that like promotes meditation?

S1: It’s all nonsensical when you actually like, dig into some of these claims.

S3: Could you tell me a little bit more about being a writer for the Kardashian-Jenner apps and what that entailed? Speaking of celebrities,

S1: yeah, it was pretty wild. I mean, it was at a very different point in my life. I didn’t have a lot of the beliefs I have about beauty now that I did back then. I basically focused on Khloe’s app, so I was like fake internet Khloe for a couple of years and she was amazing. I I really lucked out working with her because she was really fun. She let us do like wild things on the app. Yeah, it was interesting. It was also the first time in my life that PR like beauty PR started sending products for me to test and hopefully write about on the app. And I think that’s what kickstarted a lot of my thoughts on the beauty industry because suddenly I was getting all these free products, you know, all of the fanciest stuff and I was using it and my skin was freaking out. I think it was like a combination of all the products and all of the stress of like working for the Kardashians that really like threw my skin into a really low period and sparked my interest in like, well, why do I care about using all these products? Why does it feel prestigious to put lemon on my face when I know it’s hurting my skin? It really did make me think

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S3: the onslaught of products when you’re writing editorial stuff about products can be really intense, and I think a lot of people don’t realize beauty editors at magazines or for apps get sent all of this stuff for free. So when they’re telling you that like, you must have this $95 cream, they didn’t pay for that.

S1: No, not at all. It’s really interesting to me because I feel like beauty reporting and beauty journalism, you know, quote unquote, journalism is so different from reporting in any other sector, like in any other field, you’re not allowed to accept gifts, you’re not allowed to get payment from. Brands are not allowed to go on trips with brands because it does affect your judgment subconsciously. You know, it’s not that like the beauty media is like, Oh, I’m going to promote this product because they paid me to do it. You know, you really do think that you’re being objective. But when like compensation comes into it and glamorous trips around the world come into it, it does subconsciously affect what you’re putting out there. And it feels like beauty is kind of the only place where it that’s the norm, and it’s just like trusted by the general public. And it’s OK

S3: when someone’s being nice to you, your instinct is to be nice back to them. And if that means like, including their product in a roundup, these are human beings reaching out to you with fancy things and sending you gifts. And, you know, talking to you and trying to, like, get to know what you cover and what you like and what your experience was like. Hmm.

S1: Yeah, it’s I mean, there’s so much that goes into it and that affects what information gets out out into the world.

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S3: There’s also and I’m wondering if this is something you experienced as like a baby beauty writer where like you just have the churn of having to produce more stories?

S1: Yeah, this is one of the biggest my biggest issues with with beauty media in general is just how much content you. Are expected to put out. And how quickly and the purpose of that content. So for instance, I was on staff as a beauty writer for about a year somewhere. And it was three days a week, six hour shifts. And in that time, I was expected to put out six to eight stories. So that gives you about an hour and a half per story or two hours per story to come up with an idea for a story. Research it. Decide what brands to reach out to dermatologists. Get quotes from everybody. Put all of that information into a story. Edit it, grab the pictures and put together a product shopping carousel. So the way the beauty media works, it’s impossible to put out quality content that’s been fact checked and isn’t just like ripped from a press release. I wrote a lot of stuff that I am not proud of today because those were the demands of the job and everything had to have a product tie and everything had to be shoppable. In some way. Certain products were, you know, I was asked to put them in because we’re building a relationship with so-and-so advertiser or we’re building a relationship with so-and-so PR. It’s really convoluted and it’s really hard. It’s really hard to make quality content under those conditions.

S3: My eyebrows were raised over here. It’s always like, I know this stuff and it’s always like, kind of frightening to hear it so explicitly. It is so far away from the premise of like, you’ve gotten to this stance where you’re very like, you know, my skin mostly cleanses itself from not using anything. And like, I find myself in like slightly more of a middle ground where like, I’m going to like find the one or two things that are like topical and like, do things to my face that I like to use. But the beauty churn, it doesn’t even want me to like, rest, bear it what it wants. It wants us to find more and more things in different things. And if the goal of any of these brands or apps were really to help you, like, find products that work for your face or to have you have healthy skin, they would be offering you like a couple service pieces that are like updating something on you.

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S1: Exactly. That’s why, like, I don’t pay attention to like new ingredients or trends anymore. And if you focus on the foundational information of how your skin actually functions, you don’t have to because that doesn’t change. The trends change, but how your skin works doesn’t. And that information will always serve you, and you can sort of just absorb that basic information and chill and like not have to worry about it because you know what your skin is doing and why.

S3: So I love that as advice. Just like ignore the skin care trends like try to build, unlike like scientific information and like, what’s working for you? Why do we think that this industry is targeting women and why do we think that it keeps working?

S1: Oh, there are so many factors. I mean, beauty has been messaged as an ethical ideal, as a moral imperative for thousands and thousands of years, even with phrases like good skin and bad skin. Those words really do seep into your subconscious and affect why you do what you do. So in our quest for beauty, in our quest for perfection, it’s actually a quest for goodness, you know, for like being a good person, because that’s what this has been message does, especially with the shift to skincare as being a form of self-care and a form of skin health. I think we have different ideas about what funneling time into our skin says about us, rather than like using that time for makeup or something else. You know, it feels like more pure and altruistic and like, this is for my health. It’s not obsession with my appearance. And then I think, like the science factor. You know, the science of skin care is a huge thing right now, and that allows us to sort of gather up all of these little scientific bits of knowledge about how certain ingredients work and when we’re like, Oh, I’m a smart woman. That language really feeds into that. And so you feel smart and good and worthy when you’re gathering up all of this, you know, quote unquote scientific knowledge about skin care.

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S3: It’s almost as though, like in some ways, we’re moving deeper into like a beauty obsessed culture right now. But I think in some ways, the trends towards like the science of skin care makes you think that like, I’m not a vain person, I’m not looks obsessed, but like I am rational and am logical, and I do like being on the cutting edge of things. So like, buying this stuff is going to be, allow me to like, show off my chemistry Palus and this kind of demented way.

S1: That’s totally what it is. It’s sort of like this surface level rejection of beauty and what beauty has traditionally meant. And I think we can sort of like conflict that is almost a feminist thing. Like, I’m rejecting beauty and I’m. Embracing logic and rationale and science and health, and this is for my health and well-being, when really it’s just a bunch of beauty standards.

S3: Before we head out, we want to give you some recommendations. Just what are you having right now?

S1: I have been loving my Angela Caglia vibrating rose quartz facial massage or facial massaging tools are some of my favorites because they don’t actually require a product at sort of this external skin care that doesn’t mess with my skin barrier. But the reason I’ve been loving this facial roller is because I’ve had a lot of attention lately. I think I’ve been like clenching my jaw in my sleep, and so I’ve been massaging my jaw sockets with the vibration of the roller. And oh my god, it’s it’s been life-changing.

S3: Immediate relief that seems like a very good use for a facial roller. I would like to recommend the Peloton app and not buying a piece of Peloton equipment, but downloading the app. It comes with a free trial for a month and then after that it’s 13 bucks and I use the app on the equipment at my $10 a month gym. It’s been a really fun, just a fun thing to try and like do something new in my running routine. I like the music, I like the corny sayings, and I think in the context of this episode, what I am learning more and more about myself as I get slightly older is that the best thing that I can do for my self-esteem is like, go for a run and I call it exercise goggles. I actually think that I look different after I go for like a hard run, and I think it’s just my brain fighting with like endorphins and self-esteem and like feeling like my body is useful for something, etc., etc.

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S1: I always say exercise of skin care because you sweat, which is an inherent cleanser. Your body produces antioxidants so you don’t have to put them on your face and the serum and it increases circulation with does make your face look different.

S3: There you go. Oh, go for a run or whatever. Whatever form of exercise does, get real ActionScript. That’s our show this week. The Waves is produced by Sheena Roth.

S1: Shannon Palus is our Editorial Director with June Thomas providing oversight and moral support.

S3: We’d love to hear from you. Email us at The Waves at Slate.com. The waves will be back next week. Different hosts, different topic. Same time and place. Thank you so much for being on Slate Plus member incentive, remember you got this weekly segment, is this feminist? Every week we debate whether something is feminist. And this week we’re talking about bar soap. Allure Lawyer recently predicted that bar soap will be a trend in 2020 to the Roundup links to a $40 bar soap from Nordstrom and an eight dollar quote unquote detoxifying bar. I think somewhere in there, it also mentions Dove Bar soap like good old fashioned bar so you can buy at the drugstore. So. In my opinion, this is actually a feminist. I just always like it when a trend kind of circles back to like the basic iteration of something where it’s like you don’t need this like fancy cleansing gel and like, you know, delivery mechanism, you can in fact use the thing that you probably already have in your shower. I always like when. Beauty brands will just admit, but like what we had originally is working, I think that’s good for us, though. Also in in the course of researching the rise of bar soap, I found this very funny men’s bar soap called by Dr. Squatch Pine Tar Soap. They are trying to make bar soap gendered and feminist, but I say you lean into the trends by using your regular bar soap. And that’s feminist, Jess. What’s your verdict?

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S1: Oh my gosh. OK, so I have so many thoughts. So first of all, not only is soap unnecessary, it also degrades the health of your skin. So there are a few different types of bar soaps. And if you’re interested in this, I definitely recommend reading the book Beyond Soap by dermatologist Dr. Sandy Scott Nikki. But basically, a traditional bar soap needs both a fat loving molecule and a water loving molecule. The fat one attaches to, you know, the quote unquote oil and grime that you’re trying to wash off, and the water loving molecule makes it so that you can wash it off. The problem is that the fat loving molecule attaches to your skin’s healthy fats. The oils it produces, your ceramides, your sebum, the vitamin E on your skin’s surface, and it washes all of that away, too. So that’s kind of where you get like the squeaky tight, almost stripped feeling from. And that’s like, not that’s not good. That’s not a good thing for your skin. And since daily cleansing with soap has become the norm in the eighteen hundreds, there has been a huge rise in inflammatory skin issues like acne and eczema dermatitis. General skin dryness increased sensitivity. If you really want to, like, go back to the basics and go back to the foundational approach water, there is nothing more accessible and affordable, and it’s truly all your skin needs to clean. It’s really all you need if you want to learn more about that. The book Beyond Soap is a great resource and also the book Clean the New Science of Skin by Dr. James Hamblin. He’s a public health expert. All of his research about why soap is unnecessary and why water is truly all you need is really illuminating. And then when you go back to the foundations of like, why cleansing became a daily thing, it’s it’s rooted in so much religious indoctrination, classism, racism. All of that contributed to this rise of why we feel the need to cleanse daily with soap. So basically, I don’t think there’s anything feminist about a product that’s not only unnecessary for the skin, but negatively impacts it. It’s born out of racism, classism, beauty standards and a general misunderstanding of the science of skin health. So my verdict is not feminist.

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S3: I really, really like your like even deeper read on, is this necessary? What else can we strip out of our routines and just the. I think your work is, like, really made me. I feel like I have a very like, let’s go to basics understanding of skin care and products, and I like that your work kind of takes it one step further of like, do we even need a product here in the first place? Like, let’s really question that.

S1: Thank you. I appreciate that.

S3: Is there something you’re dying to know if it’s feminist or not? We’d love to hear from you. Email us at The Waves at Slate.com.