Don’t fall for the $600 beauty lie
WE SPEND millions of dollars every year on useless products in the false hope they'll improve our skin.
That's the view of dermatologist Dr Adam Sheridan, who has slammed the beauty industry for pushing expensive products that nobody needs.
He's sick of looking at ads for things that promise to minimise your pores, plump your cheeks and fix those wrinkles, because as a highly trained doctor, he knows there's only three things you need to keep your skin looking as best it can.
Here's some of the worst culprits. If you bought one from each category, you'd be spending over $600.
Sorry to break it to you - but every toner you've ever bought has likely been a waste of money.
"Toner is often presented to the public as an essential and undoubtedly in certain cases it can temporarily improve the feel or appearance of the skin," Dr Sheridan told news.com.au.
"However over the long term it tends to dehydrate and irritate the skin."
While some toners are relatively inexpensive, some on the market cost over $120. The best-selling toner on Australia's biggest beauty website will set you back $26, which is what I'm adding to my 'basket' for the purpose of this story (everything I'm adding to my total in this story will be in bold).
Anyone with an Instagram account would know that exxy gadgets are having a moment right now.
Buzzwords like "micro-massage", "pulsations" and "hyperinfusion" (... what?) make skincare contraptions sound cutting-edge, but are they worth the hefty price tag?
"(Devices) are a fun change from a mundane skin routine and often encourage us to focus on our skin care which is a good thing," Dr Sheridan said.
So … yay?
"They generally lack solid scientific backing in terms of their efficacy."
"They (are often) designed to be low impact and 'safe' which can mean that the physical changes they drive are minimal," he said.
Major beauty retailers sell beauty devices that cost up to $585, but the best-selling products in the field cost $279 (face exfoliating brush) and $145 (skin firming wand) respectively. Yikes. But I'm adding the brush and the wand to my total, as they're so popular.
Sure, women might have used fancy crystals for centuries, and Gwyneth Paltrow might be a fan, but that doesn't mean your jade roller made the cut for Dr Sheridan's essential skincare products.
Add your trusty amethyst alternative to the bin while you're at it, too. No crystal will save you from crappy skin, I'm afraid.
Another $33 - on average - wasted. But I'm adding it to my basket anyway.
BEAUTY POWDERS AND SUPPLEMENTS
In case you missed it, there's now a booming market for edible powders and tablets that will - supposedly - guarantee glowy skin.
If you're bothering to pop collagen pills (the best-selling brand will set you back $19.99), you might as well pour that money down the sink.
"Collagen pills may irritate the bowel or in rare cases result in allergic reactions," Dr Sheridan said.
"They are not well regulated so it is also hard to confidently know the exact ingredients and their bioavailability."
That sounds … not so beautiful.
As for that specially formulated "beauty powder" and "concentrate" you're popping in every drink? Maybe stop spending the $59.95 per tub on that too.
"It is best to support healthy skin and collagen through a balanced diet and general lifestyle," Dr Sheridan said. "Seek natural sources of protein, zinc and vitamin C." I won't be using these products after that review, but it's in my basket anyway. This total is racking up fast.
Okay, yes, they're in vogue. But did sheet masks make Dr Sheridan's list of must-haves?
While they might make for a cute "look at me practising self love" selfie, sheet masks are by no means essential. They're a luxury.
And, if you'd rather save the $45 it'll set you back for a pack, you can definitely go without them. But into my online basket it goes.
WHAT YOU ACTUALLY DO NEED
All right, time for the essentials. The must-haves. The green ticks.
According to the expert, all you need in your daily regimen is "a gentle cleanser, moisturiser, and 50+ sunscreen".
That's it. Three products. And they don't even have to be expensive.
"A disciplined, regular, evidence-based skin regime wins every time," Dr Sheridan told news.com.au.
"You can spend (big money) on products, but if mismatched to your particular skin type or condition this is wasted money. Also, it is possible to over-treat your skin. A simple gentle sustainable daily regime is desirable."
If you really want to get fancy, Dr Sheridan's optional extras are "antioxidants, retinoids, and related repair agents".
So. I've added up everything in my online basket, and it's come to $607.94. I think I'll save my money and put my credit card away.
Michelle Andrews is a freelance journalist. Follow her on Instagram: @michelleandrews1