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How much money are you wasting on your skin?

People spend billions on skin-care that doesn't always work

Beryl Reker //January 11, 2016//

How much money are you wasting on your skin?

People spend billions on skin-care that doesn't always work

Beryl Reker //January 11, 2016//

A 2014 Wall Street Journal article says that U.S. women spend more than 30 times what men spend a year on skin care – and men are purported to spend $107.6 billion a year on skin care – yes, that’s billion dollars.

And those numbers show no sign of shrinking; in fact, men’s skin-care products are growing at a rate of 9.4 percent, compared with 4.8 percent for women’s skin care.

That’s a lot of benjamins.

In my 20-plus years of repairing, restoring, rejuvenating and otherwise enhancing aging skin, it’s hard to watch men and women spend, literally, hundreds (sometimes thousands) of dollars each month for products and skin-care services that offer little more that a short-lived sense of feeling better – all the while not actually doing anything.

But let’s get back to the numbers (and a little science). The skin is the largest organ of the organ system that protects the body from various kinds of damage and it needs the best treatment possible. Many take care of their skin for beauty, which is fine; but healthy skin is medically driven.

Let’s look at why we age in the first place, as signs fall within two categories:

Intrinsic skin aging is the inevitable, natural aging process that occurs in all people, also referred to as “chronoaging,” or the way one’s skin ages over a lifetime. Although the tissue changes associated with intrinsic aging begin in our twenties, the visible signs are not apparent for many decades.

Intrinsic aging proceeds at highly variable rates between different people and is primarily determined by our unique genetic make-up and skin type. People with Mediterranean ancestry and thick, oily skin age more slowly than those with thin, drier skin (though one need not live with thin, dry skin – more on this in a minute). 

The cell and tissue changes associated with intrinsic aging have been well documented: 

  • Cells start slowing their progression to the surface
  • Brown spots start appearing
  • Less collagen production
  • Less elasticity
  • Weakened blood vessels – prone to rupturing
  • Fat loss (less volume)
  • Weaker ligaments
  • Less sebum production

Conversely, extrinsic aging relies on outside factors that accelerate intrinsic aging.

  • Photoaging is caused by the harmful effects of sunlight and/or tanning beds on skin, and its visible effects can greatly outweigh signs of intrinsic aging years down the road.
  • Smoking decreases blood circulation, resulting in decreased nutrients and oxygen, therefore increasing inflammation and decreasing collagen production and turnover. A smoker’s skin will therefore show more severe signs of aging much earlier in life. 
  • Inadequate nutrients result in decreased collagen production and decreased cell turnover.
  • Hormonal disorders may directly affect cellular activity.
  • Chronic disease states may directly or indirectly cause premature skin deterioration via a combination of inflammatory or nutritional effects.

In your twenties, your skin is at its thickest and strongest; at age 50-plus, it takes almost twice as long for skin cells to turn over. This is a natural progression of intrinsic aging – and if you have thoroughly enjoyed the bliss of sun and other environmental exposure, you are now fighting extrinsic aging as well.

Remedies to “heal” skin and combat aging, as the Wall Street Journal article numbers attest, are seemingly readily available, but the equation can be complicated because it is a medical (skin is an organ, remember) discussion. True skin-repair elements can involve anything from Vitamin C to peptides to zinc, to more complex treatments like laser and ultrasound. says that the U.S. cosmetics industry revenue will be $62.46 billion in 2016. Walk into any department store and the number of skin-care products available is mind-boggling. A Google search of “Colorado skin care and beauty” brings up dozens of pages of possible places and products to serve anyone wanting better skin.

Pay attention to the booming beauty industry. Take the relatively small amount of time necessary to consider a skin-care program that not only helps you look and feel your best, but also provides clinically-backed options that actually repair skin, thereby making you feel and look better (because it is better). Best to spend those billions on authentically better skin.