It may sound counterintuitive, given skincare content often underscores self-care, but constantly consuming skincare content can actually harm your mental health. This is particularly true for content that shows before-and-after photos or portrays subjects with flawless skin, which can often be attributed to filters and photo-altering software rather than real images. Within SkinTok are microtrends like CleanGirlTok and the “clean girl aesthetic,” which can be very problematic for your mind, reports PureWow. These trends frequently focus on highlighting white women who can afford expensive, lavish products. While CleanGirlTok emphasizes minimizing skincare routines and prioritizing clean, fresh skin, it has quickly evolved into a virtual environment of appropriation, exclusion, ageism, ableism, and fatphobia. In many SkinTok microtrends, BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ users are excluded.
When content spotlights young, thin, able-bodied, cis women with naturally clear skin, users who don’t fit these narrow criteria are prone to internalizing the negative impacts of SkinTok’s unspoken messages, which convey that if you aren’t the perfect candidate of privilege, then you aren’t adequate — nor is your skin. As content inundates users with reminders of imperfections, mental wellness can erode; Cleure emphasizes the conscious awareness it takes to merely identify that our mental health is being affected by skin-related issues. If you notice you’re becoming negatively affected, try journaling, speaking with friends, mindfulness techniques, or CBT therapy to process those feelings rather than doubling down on content that encourages “fixing your skin” as the answer to being your best self.
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