More and more skin care brands are focusing on 'problematic skin', in other words: problem skin. From the point of view of brands, this is a logical (commercial) idea: a growing number of people are dealing with skin conditions and so you have an increasingly larger target group to which you can sell your products. But the term "problem skin" and "problematic skin" is more problematic than you might think at first glance.
Increase in skin conditions
In 2021 there appeared a large literature study to the increase and extent of skin disorders worldwide. The number of reports of acne, eczema but also skin cancer have increased by 46.8% over the past thirty years (1990-2017). This is huge, but even more striking is that the increase is mainly seen in rich countries. More and more people are dealing with a skin condition. It CBS published in 2014 that about 1.2 million Dutch people have to deal with eczema or psoriasis.
The cause of skin disorders mainly has to do with lifestyle and genes; a lot of it comes from within. Enough is known about how the skin works to know that a jar of cream will not be the solution. Can't even be the solution, because the skin and skin conditions don't work like that. And let's face it: if the solution came from a jar, the increase in skin conditions would not be there.
But as long as we continue to label skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis and acne as a problem and thereby imply that it can be solved, a vicious circle is perpetuated. Because continuously taxing your skin with a new product full of ingredients that are often not suitable for sensitive skin means that your skin does not get the chance to recover.
Recently I asked on Instagram if people are experiencing mental problems with their sensitive skin or skin condition. Nearly 60% said it affects their well-being and some found it particularly difficult how other people might judge their skin. Because: it is named as a problem, so it must be.
The real problem
The suggestion that a skin condition is a problem that can be solved by buying the right jar of cream gives the idea that it is your fault for not solving it. And that other people can find something about that. This stands in the way of acceptance, self-confidence and avoiding stress. And let those just be the best ways to deal with your skin condition.