Sometimes people want you to buy their skincare products SO bad that they use ‘scaremongering skincare claims’. It’s like those cheap marketing tactics that put you in a pressured ‘time-sensitive’ situation to buy on that VERY spot, ‘well you can go away and think about it (but really you can’t) cus all these freebies will wave you tataaa (!), so you gotta commit to me now!’
Yeesssh! The thing is, these kinda sales tactics are actually so easy to fall for. If that salesperson is relatable, charming, attractive (!?), well-put-together, it gets harder to see through their smoke screen.
Most of the time when you’re making a skincare investment, you don’t have that charming sales rep putting you on the spot, but you do usually just have ‘their’ word for it. Their word in advertising, press, magazines, on their website… This is where I’ve found some of THE MOST scaremongering skincare claims I’ve ever read. So today I thought I’d put them straight for ya so you can have your scaremongering skincare claim radar in full working action for your next skincare investment.
Why do Companies Use Scaremongering Skincare Claims?
If I told you, that you where ‘absolutely beautiful inside & out’ and then I told you ‘that top really doesn’t pair up well with those slacks’ which would you believe more easily? If I told you that ‘chocolate is really bad for you (it tastes so good it can’t actually be good right?), it’ll give you spots, make you tired and give you mood-swings’ or I told you ‘ chocolate (when it’s the good high coco stuff) has been shown to have antioxidant and heart health benefits’ – which do you naturally want to believe more?
We have this inbuilt psychology that makes us believe ‘the bad stuff’ more strongly that the good stuff. It’s why we believe ‘work’ has to feel hard, otherwise you’re not putting enough effort in, it’s why we think skincare ‘must’ be working if we get a slightly unpleasant ‘pulsing’ or ‘tingling’ sensation – no pain no gain ‘eh…[Just for the record it was absolutely the first you should believe, ‘You are beautiful inside & out’!]
This is why some companies will pull out a wardrobe of scaremongering skincare claims that make their ‘offering’ seem the absolute only ‘safe’ choice. Because at the end of the day well-being is a No.1 priority, threaten our health and we are suddenly ALL ears. Even if we are aren’t sure whether it’s true, surely it’s ‘better to be safe than sorry’?
You can see how it’s easy to get swept up in these scaremongering skincare claims ‘eh!
Scaremongering Skincare Claims You Shouldn’t Believe…
So my lovely I have 5 scaremongering skincare claims that I will ‘put to bed’ for you. Remember the myth blitzing of these and you’ll have your scaremongering skincare claim radar switched on in no time…
The Claim… 60% of What Goes Into Your Skin Goes Into Your Blood
O-M-G, saaaay what! These are the most ‘compelling’ and most ‘nonsense’ scaremongering skincare claims out there. They fit into that category of ‘chemicals are bad and everything natural is good’ – try telling that to someone who’s just fallen into a nettle patch *winks*.
If this were true, imagine what would happen if you had a bath. Imagine if 60% of the water that went into our skin, went into our blood. We’d all be spending half of our lives in hospital as we’d be too ‘diluted’ to function.
It is actually REALLY hard to get skincare to penetrate ‘deeply’ into your skin, let alone into your blood stream. See your skin is your secret elite protection force that is an A* winner at defence. Skin makes it ‘real’ hard for anything to penetrate its borders.
If this scaremongering skincare claim where true they’d be A LOT more topically applied medicines, I mean no-one ‘likes’ needles ‘eh.
Have you ever used one of those ‘pain relief’ gels, these guys are the ones aimed at getting pretty deep into your skin, otherwise they can’t do their job. Only around 6% of the active pain fighting ingredient actually gets to where it needs to be and blood levels are much MUCH less than that. You have to pack a lot of something into a cream to even get just 6% of it deeply into your skin and even less of it into your blood.
The Claim… 26 Seconds Is All It Takes For The Chemicals In Your Personal Care Products to Enter Your Bloodstream
’26 seconds to go, I got 26 seconds to go, if you like me let me know I’ll be in the [bloodstream?] I got 26 seconds before I gotta go…’ #SingThatShizzle. This scaremongering skincare claim is a double whammy, it uses the word ‘chemical’ to infer anything not natural is bad AND it adds chocolate sprinkles on top when it tells you those [inference of bad] chemicals are definitely in your bloodstream.
Before we all go investing in home-mobile dialysis machines let’s put some truth to this scaremongering skincare claim.
First, the word chemical, that is used to say to you ‘natural is good and artificial is bad’, this is a pet hate of mine, because it is SUPER misleading. Here’s the deal… everything around you is a chemical.
Apples contain 100’s of chemicals, sugar contains chemicals that react in your body to make glucose and if there’s too much of that store the excess as fat. Food contains a LOAD of chemicals, we know this because food can change our body shape, change the way we feel and change our hormone balance.
Water is a chemical, a nettle sting is a chemical, an essential oil is a complex mixture of 100’s of chemicals.
So the question really is what is a good chemical and what is a bad chemical? It’s not whether its natural or man-helped, it’s about knowing your skincare ingredients, I got your back there lovely *smiles*.
Then this claim tells you just 26 seconds – shocker. That is fast, if this were true skincare and medicine delivery would be much more advanced! They’d be no need to pop a vitamin pill, or get a dissolvable tablet version… just rub your vitamin C into your skin – yo! In-fact if you’re too lazy to chew, just grab one of those ‘lotion meals’, rub that into your skin and your all set *winks*.
The Claim… If You Don’t Use Toner Your Pores Will Just Keep Getting Bigger
..and bigger and bigger until they are craters of the moon size. At least that’s the bit that follows after in your head *winks*. I was actually fed this scaremongering skincare claim by a skincare sales rep in a department store. I was young & impressionable at the time, so obviously I hung on every beauty tip she had for me, I mean she had a white lab-looking coat on so she must know her stuff right?
This counter rep was actually an absolutely lovely person, I think she honestly believed and followed all the beauty advice she was telling me. Thing is, it probably wasn’t actually her own skincare advice, it was probably the skincare advice of the brand she was working for.
If someone tells you, you absolutely MUST use this otherwise THIS horrific thing will happen to you – may your scaremongering skincare claim radars be a-pinging.
The truth is this, toners cannot shrink the size of your pores. In fact toners are a really strange and kinda out-dated skincare concept. They used to be chocked full of dehydrating ingredients like alcohol which would leave skin all tight. Once we realised that was actually really bad for skin, toners turned into herbal mists, essential oil spritz’s and exfoliating acid lotions.
The best ways to stop your pores from ‘looking’ bigger or being stretched with collections of dead skin is to add a good exfoliating product or exfoliating skincare acid into your skincare routine and if you have a particularly oily skin type use a ‘sucking ingredient’ like a kaolin clay mask to control those naturally skin conditioning oils that can also turn into wells for dead skin.much smaller. That’s probably because my skin has less oil in its pores to collect little wells of dead skin. I put this down to the hormones that are found in cow’s milk, get a read of this post, ‘Why Dairy Could be The Cause of Your Acne’ to get savvy on the details….]
The Claim… Chemical-Based Beauty Products, Brimming With Synthetic Active Ingredients … Could… be Contributing to The Aging Process
This scaremongering skincare claim is from a well-known naturally based skincare brand. Their products are good, they have a real nice variety of plant oils and they are safely preserved with man-made preservatives. They don’t need to scaremonger to sell…
Did your alarm bell go off when you read that first word? Chemical… Go you! Every skincare treat you buy is a chemical, otherwise you’d just be buying air at a VERY premium price ‘eh!
So what they are trying to say here is synthetic/man-helped/man-made (can we say women-made, I think we’d trust that more *winks* could age you faster than naturals.
Well first off, the 2 things that age skin the most are natural, 1. is our lovely sun which tempts us out with its warming rays but also speeds up our aging with a dose of UV, no.2 is stress, the stress from working 12 hour days or from following a crazy restrictive new diet… then after all of that, what we put on our skin.
One of the more ‘stressing’ ingredients for skin is alcohol. Alcohol’s aim is to make your skin resemble the Sahara dessert. Know that satisfying feeling when you use a kitchen de-greaser that cuts through tough ‘cooked-in’ stains like it was softened butter? Well that is what alcohol does to your skins naturally protective sebum (oily) layer.
Alcohol can be derived from plants, and it can be man made, or women-helped *winks*.
It doesn’t matter whether it’s natural or women-helped. It does the same thing to your skin. It is the same ingredient.
So here’s the bottom line, yup some skincare ingredients can age your skin (step away from the soap and shower gel!), but it’s not because they are synthetic, it’s because of certain ingredients in there.
The Claim… The Body Generally Finds Artificial Ingredients Incompatible… Whether The Reaction is Visible or Not, Every Incompatible Ingredient is Identified by The Body as Toxic & Rejected
What you probably hear when you read this scaremongering skincare claim, is anything not natural is toxic, and toxic is bad, which means bad things happen with non-natural skincare ingredients.
There is so much Myth in this scaremongering skincare claim it’s like the paralysis I’d feel when confronted with a swimming pool amount of chocolate *winks*.
First artificial ingredients/synthetic/women-made are not incompatible with our bodies. If this were the truth you’d never be able to live with Diabetes (or use pain medication! Ouchy!).
In Diabetes something pings off in your body that stops it from being able to make insulin ‘naturally’. That special chemical is what allows us to keep our blood sugar constant and store energy. To paraphrase, without insulin we are in circling the drain hole! Yeesh… Thank god for artificial insulin ‘eh!
The body recognises it, it’s compatible and it’s a life-saver.
You know the next bit already ‘eh, you super scaremongering skincare claim buster. Phew – that’s a bit of a mouthful *winks*. All artificial ingredients are not toxic.
The truth, some artificial ingredients are toxic and some natural ingredients are also toxic. There are good and bad in both worlds, it just depends what you’re looking for.
A great example of this is the Comfrey herb, it has a very special ingredients in it (called Allantoin) that has awesome skin healing powers. Thing is the natural version of it is contaminated with a natural toxin called an alkaloid which can poison your liver. In this case the ‘artificial’/women-made version is much safer. You get the awesome healing powers sans the liver toxin *winks*.
Have you ever felt ‘scaremongered’ by a skincare claim? Are you wondering if something you read actually could be a scaremongering skincare claim? Shout me what you’ve heard and I’ll truth proof it for ya’.
Cheryl Woodman is a scientist & award winning skincare formulator who’s more friend next door than bow tie wearing professor. As creator of Honesty For Your Skin her aim is to help you care for your skin in the best ways possible. She’s founder of the natural & fragrance free skincare brand Honesty while also hosting 1 to 1 skincare coaching to help you get your best skin yet. Find out more here.