As the market overflows with products that promise to revive our glow, restore our tresses to their former glory, and address each one of our skin problems, we tend to buy into the hype and invest in them without evaluating the scope of their promises. We’ve been conditioned to believe that something is wrong with us without realising that a lot of our so-called ‘issues’ are quite normal. Don’t let your naivety override reality. We’re not asking you to shun your skin, hair or makeup regimen — there are a lot of products that truly help. But it’s crucial to identify the ones that do, and the ones that simply thrive on intensifying your insecurities for an ulterior motive. That’s exactly why we’ve put together a few facts to familiarise you with some aspects of your body that you have no control over (nor do any products).
1. Skin colour
A lot of skin-centric brands have perpetuated a prejudice-ridden narrative to us through their products. We’ve been primed to perceive beauty through a one-dimensional lens: the tone of our skin. This culture of shame has led brands to capitalise on our insecurities and sell promises of a ‘lighter’ and ‘fairer’ complexion to us. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to rid your skin of pigmentation, sporadic breakouts, or discolouration; but pursuing the idea of ‘whitening’ - essentially bleaching - your skin isn’t right. There’s a definite distinction between the two - the former strives to liberate your skin of legitimate issues and the latter demands you to change yourself by conforming to society’s unrealistic standards of beauty.
2. Premenstrual breakouts
If you’re troubled by the emergence of a few pimples during your PMS (premenstrual syndrome) phase, don’t be. This occurrence can be credited to a fall in estrogen and progesterone levels, and a rise in testosterone levels before the onset of your period. These fluctuations can trigger your sebaceous glands to produce additional sebum (oil), and this can lead to clogged pores, inflammation, and breakouts. Typically, these symptoms surface a week prior to your periods and settle once it starts.
3. Skin pores
You cannot strip your skin of pores. And why would you want to? Pores are basically small holes in the skin that release sebum (natural oil) and sweat. Doesn’t that sound normal? It’s just that their size varies from person to person. A person with an oily skin type, for instance, might have larger pores than others. You can diminish their prominence or prevent them from becoming bigger by putting together a thoughtful skincare regimen, but you cannot ‘close’ or ‘remove’ them.
4. Hair loss
It’s normal to lose 50-150 strands every day. Hair shedding is a biological process and it happens daily. You cannot evade it. We have about 100,000 follicles on our scalp. Each one undergoes two stages: the growth stage, aka anagen, and the resting stage, aka telogen. After this, a few strands fall out, and this cycle continues for as long as our follicles are active.
5. Hair length
The rate at which your hair grows depends on the length of your follicles’ growth (anagen) phase. The anagen phase for scalp hair ranges from 2 to 7 years. In other words, someone whose anagen phase lasts 5 years, for example, can grow longer hair as compared to someone whose phase lasts 3 years.