Listen guys, 2020 was rough, but we made it out alive. I’ve talked before about why I’m not a fan of making New Year’s resolutions (now or ever, honestly), but I know that some of you want to shake off 2020 with a little bit of “new year, new me.”
For lots of people, working on achieving better skin feels like a manageable way to get that “new year, new me” energy going without making huge, drastic changes (and I agree!). But I also know that there are people who set themselves up for failure by making skin goals that are just not realistic.
You are always going to have pores. It’s impossible to naturally get rid of every single line on your face. Some undereye circles are genetic, and you just can’t make them go away. Setting your sights on achieving the “glass/milk/mirror/butter skin” that you see online is just going to leave you frustrated, disappointed, and feeling like you’re not good enough.
To keep this from happening, I want to help you guys figure out how to set realistic skin goals for yourselves.
Setting your sights on achieving “glass/milk/mirror/butter skin” is just going to leave you frustrated, disappointed, and feeling like you’re not good enough.
A Soapbox Sidebar
I have to get this out of the way before we go any further. Very few things make me want to scream more than seeing intentionally misleading marketing. Whether it’s a celebrity spokesperson wearing a full face of makeup and pretending like they got that airbrushed skin from the product they’re shilling, or it’s brands claiming that, “95 percent of users saw improvement after ONE USE,” it’s all nonsense. Infuriating, misleading nonsense.
Before and Afters
When you see magical looking before-and-after photos, do me a favor and look for a few things:
- Are the photos taken in the same light? At the same angle? With the same level of makeup?
- Is the person only smiling in the after photo? (That matters! It changes how we perceive their appearance.)
- Are there any texture abnormalities or feature distortions? (That’s usually an indicator of photo manipulation.)
Small changes in those photos can make results seem way more dramatic than they really are, which is so frustrating!
This one really just makes me feel like Anger from Inside Out (me reading marketing claims).
I’m not saying that all marketing claims are total crap or outright lies. What I AM saying is that it’s really easy to cherry-pick and phrase mediocre study results to sound much more amazing than they really are.
For example, if I made a lotion and tested it on five people, if four of them liked it, then I could technically say, “80 percent of users raved about this product!” But when you realize that’s only four people … it’s not that impressive.
As a different example, let’s take my imaginary lotion, but this time I test it on 100 people. Okay, that’s a good number. I give half of the people my lotion, and I tell the other half of the people not to use any lotion at all as my control group. Again, I could technically say something like,”95 percent of users saw improvement over control group!” But when you realize that the control group wasn’t using anything at all … I mean, of course the people who are using moisturizer are going to look better than the ones who aren’t.
In both of those scenarios, I’m not lying. But I AM definitely making claims that are a bit misleading. So, next time you see claims about an “anti-aging miracle in a jar!”, take their study results with a big ol’ grain of salt, because you’re probably not getting the whole story. It’s really important to do your own legwork when it comes to finding out which products will work for you and which won’t.
Next time you see claims about an “anti-aging miracle in a jar!”, take their study results with a big ol’ grain of salt, because you’re probably not getting the whole story.
Setting Goals For YOUR Best Skin
Now that I’ve put away my soapbox, let’s talk about how to be realistic about achieving your own skin goals.
1. Don’t compare yourself to celebs
This extends to beauty influencers too! These people make a living from being beautiful, and they almost always have a lot of help. I adore Chrissy Teigen, and I think she’s drop-dead gorgeous, but I would never try to have skin like hers! She freely admits that she has professionals and plenty of disposable income to achieve her look, and that’s just not realistic for me. (I love that she’s honest about it though!)
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So, remember that you’re setting yourself up for disappointment if you start your journey by trying to have Kylie Jenner skin. Instead, you should work on making your skin as healthy as possible.
Which brings me to my next point.
2. Be specific with your goals
Take an honest inventory of your skin, and then pick up to three things that you want to work on. (It’s best to focus on one or two, but definitely no more than three!)
For me, the list looks like this:
– Minimize redness
– Unclog pores
– Balance oil production
The further I progress toward those three goals, the closer I am to glowing, gorgeous skin. I’m never going to have tiny, invisible pores, and my nose will probably always be a little bit red, but I’ve accepted that, so it’s not even something I strive for.
All of my skin goals are specific, realistic, and attainable. And the best part is that there’s no pressure for perfection. As long as I’m making steps forward (or even just holding on a plateau of pretty good skin), then I’m succeeding in my goals, and that feels good.
3. Be patient
This one is the hardest, but it’s also the most important. You aren’t going to get lasting, long-term results quickly. When you first start out, you may see pretty noticeable improvements for a while, which is definitely exciting.
Once you reach a certain point in your skin care journey though, it will start to feel like “nothing is happening.” This is because your skin went from being wrecked to being pretty healthy! Now that you’ve gotten used to the healthy look, you’re noticing smaller, more nitpicky issues (which is fine! And normal! We all do it), and it feels like you’re having a hard time “fixing” those issues.
Instead of throwing tons of new products at your skin and potentially undoing your progress, be patient. If you have perpetually clogged pores, slowly start introducing more acids, but don’t do anything else different. Improvement can take weeks, months, and sometimes even years, but remember that we’re in it for the long haul.
It’s Never Too Late to Set New Goals
I think that setting healthy, realistic skin goals is one of the best things that you can do for yourself. Caring for your body is a great way to feel better about yourself overall, and it helps you live a better life in general.
Remember to be wary of marketing hype, and resist the temptation to compare yourself to friends, influencers, and celebrities. Just work on being your best self, and that’s more than enough!