Skincare: Science and Art

For me, the world of skincare has always been confusing, not least because my sensitive skin reacts to products unpredictably. Unfortunately, none of these titles really make skincare less a less baffling arena, but they do give some fascinating scientific or professional perspectives on just what to try in order to have healthy, clear, happy skin.

First, for a radical scientific take, try Clean: the new science of skin by James Hamblin. Hamblin takes a deep dive into the microbes that affect our skin’s health and proposes some serious overhauls to the skincare industry and practice, including showering less to avoid over-washing skin. He reportedly didn’t shower for the entire duration of writing the book.

An Atlas of Natural Beauty by Victoire de Taillac falls more on the beauty side of skincare, with a detailed encyclopedia-type description of how a wide variety of botanicals and plants can be minimally processed into effective beauty and skincare aids. A fascinating and aesthetically appealing version of the topic.

The Clear Skin Diet by Nina and Randa Nelson is part-memoir, part health manual, drawn from the twin authors’ experiences fighting their acne growing up. After trying all the medical and chemical interventions, the sisters Nelson found success by making radical changes to their diet. Apparently they were inspired by cultures and communities around the world who have no acne.

Goop Clean Beauty is more of an instruction manual from the lifestyle website / newsletter created by Gwyneth Paltrow. It highlights the ways that beauty starts with health, beginning with clean eating and moving into makeup and skincare recommendations.

The Age Fix by Anthony Youn is the work of a plastic surgeon who’s spent years compiling advice from his colleagues in plastic surgery as well as cosmetologists, dermatologists, dieticians, and more, all to give the reader a one-stop shop for advice on keeping skin looking young. Like the Nelson sisters, he encourages people to think about their diet in order to affect the look and feel of their skin; he also reveals that expensive creams and surgeries are not necessarily the most effective solutions. A refreshing take, coming from someone in his profession, if you ask me.

Younger by Harold Lancer is, similarly, the advice of a Beverly Hills dermatologist attempting to cut through all the confusing and contradictory advice. Apparently he also recommends products at various price points to support different budgets, none of which are as complicated or expensive as you might think. His main focus is on stimulating the skin’s own natural healing power in order to maintain or restore youthful, healthy skin.

If you want to dive into the world of skincare and get some different perspectives, try any combination of these titles to get started – and then double-check with your doctor.

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