Skin Care and Treatments of Melbourne Dermatology - The Effect of the Internet on Skin Care

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The Effect of the Internet on Skin Care

The internet represents a great opportunity for the democratization and wider-spread dissemination of dermatological skincare information to cosmetic patients with an ultimate aim of greater health care outcomes facilitated by mindfully enhanced and individualised, self-governed educational materials divorced from immediate commercial concerns.

The latent health care potential of this emerging media is however generally unrealised for the near total dearth of realistic biological and practical knowledge that the beauty industry at large has represented since time immemorial, and which forms the greatest data mass of content available.

Subsequently and with few exceptions, individuals who seek their primary skincare information and practice online experience skin of substantially lesser long-term quality than those removed from the medium because overly simplistic brand evangelists (both stockists and end-users) direct circular promotion and discussion aimed at reinforcing biased, spontaneous and unstudied approaches.

Heavy users of online skin care forums probably embody the greatest degree of willfully "spinning your wheels in the mud" because they imbue themselves in the most intellectually impoverished, unrefined and voluminous means of accruing information.

Although discussion of skin care is worthwhile, the structure and nature of online skin care forums defeats the potential for improvement:

  • the best information never rises to the top, it's perpetually buried by newer and greater volumes of largely unaccountable and anonymous bland text — you'd need to maintain constant vigilance to avoid missing valid knowledge, and the burden of separating "wheat from chaff" rests in the least capable and most easily manipulated place;

  • crowds and mobs are fickle, and the loudest voices drown out reason — online discussions about cosmetics are more or less engaged in digesting polluted ideas manufactured and circulated by mass-media advertising;

    • moreover we know that less than 1% of individuals at large engage anything resembling best-practice individualised skincare, and only around 3% of individuals using brands designated "clinical" online practice anything resembling ideal use — the only form of use which realises the potential of newer and better ingredients, concentrations and formulas;

    • when in-vivo skin care use is generally poor, it seems most inefficient to be directly heeding any source of information which mandates generalisation;

  • unaccountable discussion breeds cowardly arguments — the more heat, the less light, the greater lost healthful skincare potential.

As inadequate as online skin care forum discussions are, large online skin care shopping sites provide even less opportunity for improvement.

Fundamentally, they comprise a growing, composite stack of boiler-plate copy, provided by manufacturers with conflicting interests, organised alphabetically, barely tempered by automated searches which remain inadequate to actual individual needs, tentatively enhanced by skin care reviews submitted by individuals whom, probably having sought most of their information online, more than likely cannot help but provide feedback of inadequate quality.

None of this is new, nor should it be surprising:

  • the beauty industry is fundamentally superficial — it garners the most benefit in the areas of relaxation and styling;

  • it's been two decades since the mortal dangers and permanent aesthetic consequences of tanning were known, yet tanning salons have flourished in recent years — franchise operator Body Bronze even purports to put forward a responsible approach to UV tanning;

  • its been nearly two decades since the role of sunscreens in preventing premature, unnecessary aging were generally understood, yet almost all individuals use outdated sunscreen formulations, or worse still SPF powders and foundations, with questionable photostability against UVA, in a manner which cancels out almost all of their anti-aging potential while reducing their skin's optical elegance on a per-application basis;

  • its been an easy decade since fundamental and largely unchanging cosmetic dermatological principles pertaining to anti-aging were established, yet most interest lays evermore in foolhardy notions of holy-grail topical miracles — yet, at most, topical skincare can only represent somewhere between a quarter and a third of what needs to be accrued for the best appearance possible.

In essence, the vast bulk of skincare information available online mirrors pre-existing skin care failures, increasing choice but not necessarily improvement.

Whatever psycho-social role mass skincare plays, it does little to physically enhance an individual's skin in the real world.

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