Skincare: Is It An Addiction?


Is there anything better than hanging around inside on a rainy Sunday morning? There’s something so comforting about being slightly trapped inside with a blanket and coffee and a full laptop battery. Whether you’re bingeing shows or YouTube videos, there’s no lack of something to watch.

And, if you’re like me, you’ve recently been less interested in shows and movies, and drawn more towards “real” people on YouTube. Let’s face it. The YouTube algorithm is pretty damn good. It suggests a good range of videos on the side bar so you can choose whether you want to watch a million opinions on the celery juice cleanse trend or if you’d rather skip around a little bit.

Lately, I’ve been obsessed with watching videos on skincare, and how our overall health can affect acne, eczema, and even signs of aging. It all started out very selfishly. I had small amounts of acne in high school, and then it got worse when I was in my twenties. I’m in my early thirties now, and I decided that was enough time for me. But, I wanted to try something new, since my dermatologist was more inclined to prescribe antibiotics that I wasn’t really comfortable with. I’ve been learning more about holistic health, and the power of food; why not actually try what I instinctively believe to be true?

So, I’ve been trying to eat better. For the last year I’ve been more strict with eliminating meat from my diet, and I’ve also cut out most dairy. Though I have a big sweet tooth, I’m trying to be more aware of sugar and bread (that basically turns to sugar) in my diet. Strict rules don’t sit well with me, so I try to eat more fresh fruits and vegetables instead of tracking every little thing. Though, honestly, maybe I should start tracking better. You never know if you have one little allergy that inflames your skin. Many of us actually can’t process the casein in dairy, which leads to acne. Yay.

But what do YouTubers have that my dermatologist doesn’t have?

Well, first off, they have new information. When I saw my dermatologist last, she seemed quick to diagnose and move on. It makes sense, because from what I’ve gathered, students in medical school don’t actually spend much time learning about nutrition. They learn about drugs (which aren’t all bad, obviously) and how to chop things out of you. But, I’d rather try the food route before I take medication that could harm an unborn baby (Accutane, I’m looking at you). Vegetables are less likely to do me damage, after all.

And it’s not just YouTubers. I’ve started digging into the famous sub-reddit, Skincare Addiction to learn more about my skin. And let me tell you, it’s a game-changer. Imagine being able to look at someone’s skin and recognize your own troubles in it. Suddenly you have an ally that understands what you’re going through. One of the hardest things about acne or skin conditions, I think, is feeling like you’re alone. People who’ve never had acne just tell you to wash your face every night or to change your pillowcase more often. Not helpful, or groundbreaking advice, unfortunately.

New information about the links between stress and acne are coming out, and though relaxation tips still seem to take a backseat to products, it’s a good piece of the puzzle to understand. And if you’re obsessed with learning about skin, you can let that obsession destroy your self esteem. Stress can lead to acne, which can lead you to stress out more. Worrying about what other people see when they look at you can keep you inside (with a blanket, coffee, and a full laptop battery, hmmm) when you’d love to be able to be around your friends instead.

Yeah, learning about your skin can be addicting. Using yourself as a guinea pig for treatment ideas can be rewarding or depressing. But, learning about what works for your skin and what doesn’t work is going to be the best way for you to get the skin you want. Keep trying, go slow, and don’t forget to change your pillowcase. ;)