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Allie Talk: “Skin Type” Is a Beauty Industry Lie

In August, Veracity is celebrating our inaugural Hormone Health Awareness Month. Join the conversation at one of our virtual panel discussions throughout the month and post on social using the hashtag #ItsYourHormones.

The beauty industry loves to tell us what our skin desperately needs, like this season’s “it” lip shade or the elixir guaranteed to take 20 years off. But what’s even more ridiculous is that they have convinced us that we all fit into a neat little categorized box according to our “skin type.”

It’s long been a teenage rite of passage: get invited to your first sleepover, discover your astrological sign, and determine if you have dry, oily, or combination skin. Once you have your answer, the beauty industry says, you will know forever after what type of products to buy to best suit your skin’s needs.

It is brilliant and 100-percent effective marketing, but it is also complete nonsense.

Your skin is a living, breathing organ. It not only serves a very important function for your health, it also responds to the hidden activity going on inside your body, particularly the fluctuations of your hormones. What your skin is like today — whether oily and inflamed or cool, calm, and collected — isn’t necessarily what it’s going to be like tomorrow, next month, or especially five years from now.

One of the reasons the beauty industry gets away with the long con of “skin type” is because of the giant chasm that exists between the field of dermatology and the beauty industry. The latter is focused on making us look our best and giving us the tools for self-expression, while the medical side of things is occupied with the health of our skin. But these concerns are connected — they shouldn’t be treated separately.

Neither side is faultless. Just as the beauty industry tries to label each of us with a “skin type” for life, doctors often try to make our health issues fit into clean and clear diagnoses. Dermatologists deftly treat both acne and skin cancer, autoimmune disorders like psoriasis and signs of aging, but most do so as a function solely of the health of your skin, not as part of the bigger picture of your whole health. If your symptoms don’t neatly add up to an accepted and known condition, then they often don’t know what to do with you.

But beauty and health don’t exist in separate silos – if a skin problem seems like an aesthetic issue, there’s a possibility it could also be a symptom of a larger health problem.

How to Harness Hormonal Change: Your hormones may often be the cause of unwelcome skin issues, but the upside is that hormones change, especially if you are actively working to balance them. Research shows that it only takes one cycle, or around 28 days, to start to correct a hormonal imbalance. For effective, long-term change, you need three cycles. So within roughly three months, you can make a considerable impact on your hormonal health and your skin.

When I started Veracity and we began to look at what drives skin health, our answers kept coming back to hormones. It’s why we developed the Skin + Health Test. We realized that if you want to know what's causing your skin problems, there’s no better place to look than at your hormones.

Your hormones are also the reason that a single, static “skin type” doesn’t exist.

Hormones change. Women experience natural ebbs and flows every month while they have their period, and a whole different set of changes during puberty and menopause. In addition to these natural changes, everything from stress to diet to medical issues can cause hormonal imbalances.

You may not always know what your hormones are up to, but your skin does and it acts accordingly by changing its so-called “type.”

If your skin is suddenly different than before, if new issues are flaring up, take comfort in the fact that you are not crazy. Your problems are real, your skin is changing, and the cosmetics industry is gaslighting you by insisting that it is unnatural to go against “type.”

But most importantly, remember that skin doesn’t exist alone and isolated from the rest of your body. Skin changes may be the result of the natural ebbs and flows of your hormonal life, or they may be a sign that it’s time to take a closer look at what is going on beneath the surface.

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