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To think skincare is a con

190 replies

Hannahbsnana · 18/09/2022 21:55

i occasionally have a cup of tea and a natter with a woman who lives a few doors down from me. She’s 79 but quite young minded and totally on the ball. She also has pretty good skin.

We were moaning about the price of stuff in the shops a while back and I was telling her how much I spend on cleansers, toners. serums,, moisturisers etc. She said she’d never used anything of the sort - only suncream when she’d gone abroad. She washes her face with ‘soap and water’.

it got me thinking…..I’m getting on for 50 and have used skin products all my adult life and I’m pretty sure I look at least my age.

So I made a decision, I used up the last of my products and then didn’t replace any of them except my cleanser.

For the first week to ten days my face felt dry, especially after washing. But I persevered. It’s now been about 7 weeks. My skin no longer feels dry. I honestly believe it has balanced itself out and is producing iits own oils as required.

my skin is not suddenly amazing or’s no better than it was before when I was spending a fortune on products. But….it’s definitely no worse either!!

iI’ll carry on using suncream when needed, but other than that, I’m done. I’m going to save myself about £60 a month.

AIBU to think us women are being conned? Clever marketing and misogyny has made us terrified of not slathering chemicals on our mugs every day!

OP posts:

Am I being unreasonable?


You have one vote. All votes are anonymous.

TravellingSpoon · 19/09/2022 07:46

I remember reading somewhere that the only products you need are cleanser, moisturiser and SPF. So these are the only things I use and my skin looks pretty good. It feels soft, although 2 years of mask wearing hasn't helped.


Nellynoo182 · 19/09/2022 07:47

Totally agree! I am only 27 but all my friends are obsessed with skincare. Whenever I put anything on my skin I end up breaking out. My husband (in fact, every male I know!) doesn’t use any skin care products and all have great skin. I decided to stop using skincare products other than SJ dream about 5 years ago and have really good skin. I think drinking lots of water and sun protection is really the only thing that matters (I might live to regret this in 30 years time!) 🤣


Stichintimesavesstapling · 19/09/2022 07:47

Thatswhyimacat · 18/09/2022 21:58

I actually think the current trend for loads of acids and exfoliating products is going to cause a lot of problems long-term. It makes people look really glowy at the total expense of their skin barrier and natural cell turnover, which will worsen ageing in the long run.

I agree, especially retinol which can make skin look thicker and more leathery over time. I think there will be obvious 'retinol faces' in ten years.


Mybeautifulfriend22 · 19/09/2022 07:48

I’ve only ever used cheap skincare like simple or Nivea since my teens. Sometimes face masks. I’m now on the aldi versions which I love. I do now use serums like vit c/hylaronic and retinol but not every day. I alternate them and they aren’t expensive brands just from Superdrug. Takes ten mins at night or in the morning.

I follow a dermatologist and she pushes that moisturisers that don’t need to be expensive, cleansing but exfoliating with acid rather than exfoliating with harsh face wash for example. She’s also big on spf daily and adding moisture with hylaronic.

My skin is minimally wrinkled( eyes are going mainly) and I do think it looks better with the added things and it certainly doesn’t cost me a fortune or time. I won’t be going down the fillers or Botox route. I do get comments about my age as I don’t look 43 but my genetics is that even as smokers my family have aged ok until their 60s/70s and I have a round face.

I do think diet, water consumption, not smoking etc have a big part to play!


Nellynoo182 · 19/09/2022 07:48

Oops I mean sun cream x


Firefin · 19/09/2022 07:51

Skin is meant to be an impenetrable barrier, otherwise we'd be in all sorts of trouble.

The only way to really change how your skin looks long-term is from within - plenty of selenium, zinc, iron and a good amount of vitamins B (in all its subvariants), C and D are what is needed to have healthy skin.

Sunscreen to slow down ageing, as well as smokefree and alcohol-free, both of which dry the skin out and age it prematurely.

Genetics also play a role, of course, as does hormonal balance.

So yes, OP, you have been wasting your money. I wash my face with water and use blue Nivea straight afterwards as my skin is naturally quite dry, but other than that I leave it alone and it's lovely.


apintortwo · 19/09/2022 07:52

interested in people who say SPF every day though - I do this in the summer but feel in the winter I need the Vit D exposure and the sun isn’t strong enough to damage my skin (in Scotland). Should I be using it year round?

Maybe in Scotland it's not necessary (but I'm not sure you will get a lot of vit D during the winter there anyway).

I use it year round as it's more practical to use the same moisturiser all the time than having one for summer and a different one for winter (also they don't go off while not in use, etc)


ladydoris · 19/09/2022 07:54

sfp 50 is the way to go. My grandma has better skin then me... I have learnt the lesson to late.


Natsku · 19/09/2022 07:56

I just wash my face with water and that's it. Sometimes I need to put a bit of moisturiser on my chin when its cold windy weather as it gets dry then/jacket rubs on it but that's it. Never use make up so don't need to use anything special to clean it off. I was lucky enough to never suffer from acne as a teenager so never felt the need to get into a skincare routine. My mum used some Nivea cream and I absolutely hated the smell, made me feel sick, so I was never going to put that on my face!


Firefin · 19/09/2022 07:56

Please don't use sunscreen in late autumn, winter (unless there is a huge blanket of snow and it's sunny), or early spring if you live in Britain.

There is a reason why rickets is on the rise again in Britain, and it's all to do with lack of exposure to sunlight - excessive clothing in some religious groups, lack of outside activities, especially for children, and the over-use of sunscreen are all contributing factors.


BryceQuinlanTheFirst · 19/09/2022 07:58

I think skin will always look best when it's cleaned, hydrated skin looks glowing, and long term skin protection is highly advised.

They do new research all the time. Tretinoin is well documented to be anti aging and effective for acne. So I have this in my routine. It's also well known that sun damage has a negative impact on the appearance of skin, so it makes sense to protect this. My mum is 60 and her generation sunbathed extensively, I see lots of her friends with pigmentation and sun spots which are very hard to fade.

I get a lot of pleasure from looking after my skin and massaging it, but my routine is usually 3 steps which I don't think is excessive.


BryceQuinlanTheFirst · 19/09/2022 08:01

Firefin · 19/09/2022 07:56

Please don't use sunscreen in late autumn, winter (unless there is a huge blanket of snow and it's sunny), or early spring if you live in Britain.

There is a reason why rickets is on the rise again in Britain, and it's all to do with lack of exposure to sunlight - excessive clothing in some religious groups, lack of outside activities, especially for children, and the over-use of sunscreen are all contributing factors.


Chocolatefreak · 19/09/2022 08:03

Definitely agree that decent sleep, exercise and diet are the main things that show skin improvement. I do have sensitive skin though, so I use gentle, unperfumed soap cleanser and moisturiser. La Roche Posey, not the cheapest but not super expensive and lasts a long time, e.g. the cleanser I buy lasts three months. Altogether I guess I spend around 20 quid a month. Plus sun cream in summer.


GeekyThings · 19/09/2022 08:05

Yes it's a con. The products are produced in order to make you feel that you need them, it's THEM drying your skin out, which is why you need to keep on using them once you start!

I read a fascinating book on life in Tudor Britain, the person who wrote it actually lived like them for months as an experiment, including using their recommended cleaning routines. They barely washed themselves; they used rags to wipe themselves down daily, and changed clothes reasonably frequently, but no products, little to no soap and water, no washing of hair - and after an initial time of discomfort, it was all fine. The writer said her skin ended up with a nice complexion overall, and her hair smelled and felt fine.

Her friend did the opposite - he washed himself every day for a month or two and used his usual modern products, but didn't change his clothes or run himself down, just as a comparison. The result was he stank, you could smell him from quite far away.


Calphurnia88 · 19/09/2022 08:09

From experience, less is more.

Wear SPF everyday
Soap too drying for me so I use a Cerave cleanser. I double cleanse at night to ensure any residual makeup or suncream is removed before bed
I used to use retinol nightly but paused when pregnant and will reintroduce once baby is a bit older and not near my face so often (it's strong stuff but works)


Firefin · 19/09/2022 08:10

Look at the first source you're quoting, though - there is almost guaranteed bias. It's their job to alert people to the risks of skin cancer, which is in direct conflict with encouraging exposure to sunlight - our main source of vit D.

Have a look at a few of these:

or this graph


Northernsoullover · 19/09/2022 08:13

I haven't really bothered with skin care. I wash with soap and water and use a Factor 50 all year round, retinol from Spain twice a week. That said, I did just treat myself to a box from superdrug called winter skin. Ten quid for 5 products so far I'm really pleased with the products. My skin is quite sensitive and they haven't irritated it so far. Do I actually expect them to make me look younger? No. I do believe it's a con. But using them does make my skin feel nice.


TR888 · 19/09/2022 08:14

I often get surprised looks when I tell people my age and all I use is Nivea soft as a moisturiser. I wash my face with soap and water. That's it.

I do think a good moisturiser, like Nivea soft, is important. The advantage of using an inexpensive one is that you can use a lot of it if your skin needs it whereas with expensive products, you probably use a lot less because of the cost.

As for sunscreen, it's obviously important in summer or if you go abroad. I'm less convinced you need it in winter, especially if you live in the U.K. There's relatively little daylight here in winter and as it's cold, most people are indoors most of the time. It'd be different if you work outdoors, I suppose.


BryceQuinlanTheFirst · 19/09/2022 08:15

But rickets isn't making a come back because people are using Spf on their face is it?


Firefin · 19/09/2022 08:22

BryceQuinlanTheFirst · 19/09/2022 08:15

But rickets isn't making a come back because people are using Spf on their face is it?

Given that I have just read an article about a huge increase in rickets in Sydney I wouldn't be too sure.

Fact is, the less sunlight penetrates the upper layers of your skin, the less vitamin D you produce. You can get some vit D nutritionally, of course - eggs are an excellent source - but it is far less readily absorbed.

Recommended guidelines say facial and hand exposure for just 20min a day is sufficient - that would, of course, have to increase a lot with incresing SPF in sunscreen. So, if you are outdoorsy and spend hours outside every day, even in winter, you're fine.

But if, like a huge chunk of the UK, you spend most of winter hibernating and your actual sunlight exposure is limited to walking to and from your car with the very odd walk, then using sunscreen is not recommended.

The beauty of biology. It is never quite THAT simple 😉


TR888 · 19/09/2022 08:22

Rickets are on the rise, I believe. This is part of the reason why UK adults are recommended to take vitamin D daily in winter 🙂.


Notlosinganyweight · 19/09/2022 08:23

I think some products make your skin feel better, but it is really down to genes. I am starting to use a cheap teen moisturiser now in my 40's as I never bothered before and my skin is oily. My sister has bought me expensive skincare stuff but I don't always get around to using it. She has great skin though (but always has).

So yes I do think it is a con as you can't change your genes. Spending £100 on a tiny tub of night cream is mad, but I think you are also buying a lifestyle when you buy the brand and its not just about the product.

The creams adverts that say they have oxygen in them like it is some amazing ingredientmake me laugh. Of course they fecking do 😂


Spanielsarepainless · 19/09/2022 08:41

I use a foaming tea tree facial wash and Simple with SPF15. That routine hasn't changed since I began it at 14. I shall be 60 soon and have smooth skin, no wrinkles and minimal crows feet. My mother has good skin heading to 90 so some of it is genetic. Neither she nor I ever smoked.


Ponoka7 · 19/09/2022 08:41

I agree that it is largely genetics and lifestyle. A life with no alcohol and sun isn't one that I'd want to live. I'm 54 and if I stop using my elemis products I can see and feel the difference. I particularly see the difference if I don't use an under eye cream. I throw in different products from time to time, some help, some don't. I have always worn makeup, so had to cleanse. Microneedling, scrubs and home peels make the biggest difference.


IWillComplaininWriting · 19/09/2022 08:45

I've had adult acne and rosacea. I've found that washing face under shower at night to really cleanse, plus using oil free moisturiser has seen massive improvements. Also wear sunscreen daily. I try to use the cheapest brand but ones that I still enjoy. I can get skin care at the supermarket.

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