Ffrom anti-aging diamonds to topical collagen, I’ve witnessed plenty of wild claims and sky-high prices in a decade of delving in and out of beauty writing. I also answered many questions from friends, family members and colleagues. Well, just one question again and again: “What works?”
While there are certainly those who treat skincare as a hobby, most people just want something that gets results, ideally at an affordable price and without having to acquire a degree in organic chemistry to debug the message on the packaging.
When it comes to basic skincare like cleanser and moisturizer, almost everything on the market will clean your face or make it wet for a while, so finding something that works is largely down to your personal preference when it comes to your face. price ; smell (or absence of smell); your subjective experience of texture; and how you’d like to use the product (a makeup remover you use in the shower won’t make sense to someone bathing at dawn).
But for products that address specific concerns like acne, redness and rosacea, dryness, and signs of aging like fine lines and sunspots, Australia has a regulatory framework in place to ensure that certain products care keep their promises. While cosmetics in Australia are tested for safety but not for effectiveness, if your skincare is classed as a registered medicine there must be evidence that it works.
Some therapeutic skin care products are only available by prescription, while others are sold without a prescription. Chances are you already use at least one – sunscreen, which is regulated by the Therapeutic Goods Administration if it has an FPS of 15 or more. And if you don’t use sunscreen but are even remotely interested in taking care of your skin, please change that immediately – it’s the lowest fruit on the tree.
Now that we’ve all slipped, slipped and slapped, let’s move on. Whether you’re concerned about pimples, rosacea, or the general appearance of your skin, watch out for products that are registered as drugs on the Australian Therapeutic Goods Register. Typically, these are much cheaper than luxury skincare products.
Although expensive, making an appointment with a dermatologist will allow you to come up with an effective and active skin care plan tailored to your needs (don’t let them sell you expensive cosmeceuticals that aren’t actually drugs). There are also a growing number of services offering skincare consultations online and via telehealth that will provide you with a personalized set of prescription-only products. But your first port of call should be your GP, who may well be able to offer suggestions, advice and even scripts.
That’s not to say that skincare products that aren’t registered as drugs don’t work, just that they don’t. have to work. Talking to a doctor takes a little more effort than walking up to the cosmetics counter and asking “what’s good”, but it’s more likely to yield results, which will ultimately save you time (on the research) and money (on fancy creams that don’t work).