Like and share the article here:

Dermatologists, the beauty industry and many online skincare communities use the catch-all term ‘healthy skin’ but what does really it mean? How do we really define what healthy skin looks like in the mirror?

Healthy skin is often packaged as an aspirational goal. But that’s not the same thing as flawless. Flawless skin is only something you can fake or ‘enhance’ through miracle products, makeup, lighting, angles or digital filters. 

We’re here to call it out as a useful term but emphasise that healthy skin, from an aesthetic viewpoint, can look different for everyone.

Setting the bar from a scientific and community-led viewpoint for what fresh, healthy skin looks like is about knowledge, proactivity and a healthy dose of self-compassion.

The phrase ‘healthy skin’ shouldn’t be interchangeable with perfect, poreless, and smooth as glass skin. Flawless skin is fantasy skin – fairytale, Hollywood, Instagram skin; essentially skin that you don’t see every day, in daylight – in reality.

Real, healthy skin has pores. Real, healthy skin under a microscope is uneven. 

By balancing out realistic expectations with an aspiration to getting the best filter-free skin possible, we can face up to unattainable beauty standards often perpetuated by mainstream and social media.

Your skin is unique and so are you. That’s why Skin + Me personalises your Daily Doser. Recognising, celebrating and working to be the best version of your unique self is the best route to real, healthy skin.

Defining healthy skin

We spoke to Consultant Dermatologist, Dr Malvina Cunningham for the expert take on healthy skin. 

Dr Malvina explains, The function of the skin is to be a protective barrier against the outside and prevent water loss from the inside. Any condition that compromises this function can be defined as a disease. Society and doctors have, however, blurred the lines between true disease and common variations or stages of skin health that are seen as abnormal or a disease. 

“Take spots or acne for instance. Spots and acne can be classified as a disease and undesirable. Yet this affects almost 95 percent of all adolescents, even though it’s a normal response to hormonal stimulation during puberty“. 

“An occasional spot will not significantly interfere with the function of the skin. The same goes for pores, wrinkles and pigmentation which are all normal processes that our skin experiences.”

This raises a question about society’s beauty standards in general and what is seen as ‘desirable’ as opposed to just ‘healthy’. Visually healthy skin goes hand in hand with good skin function – as a protective barrier against the environment, preventing dehydration from the inside. 

Modern beauty standards vs. healthy skin

Just in case you needed reminding, most of the glowy, glossy skin you see on screen – from TV to social media –  is probably enhanced to look that way. And that enhancement is most likely digital – something that you couldn’t replicate face-to-face, in real life. 

Dr Malvina explains, “Healthy skin is far more varied than it’s portrayed in the media and the widespread use of filters massively contributes to this distorted view of what healthy skin looks like.

“Healthy skin is uneven in texture. It feels smoother and more delicate around the eye area but may be tougher over the cheeks and forehead. Normal, healthy skin may feel dry over the cheeks and oily in the T-zone or alternatively, dry or oily all over. 

“Healthy skin can vary in colour and may have freckles or darker pigmentation around the eye area. Healthy skin can have lines and wrinkles and may have occasional breakouts.

“Healthy skin may have a few more prominent blood vessels around the nose area or redness over the cheeks. The truth is that healthy skin looks slightly different for different people and at different stages of their lives.”

Awareness and understanding around this nuance in healthy skin across the population is the first step to education, self-compassion and working towards being the best version of yourself – within the perimeters of what makes you feel comfortable and confident

Healthy skin encompasses effective skin function. Aesthetically, the way it can look has many different interpretations.

Looking at healthy skin through a more honest lens

Trying to look objectively at what healthy skin really is versus the fashion for unrealistically flawless skin, is complex. 

Skin + Me celebrates ‘personal progress’ photos – not just ‘before’ and ‘after’ pictures. The difference is the mindset. ‘Before’ and ‘after’ juxtaposes two stages of a skin journey in a reductive, linear way that misrepresents the reality of how skin can change. 

Personal progress is unique to you, using scientifically-proven skincare that boosts your confidence and helps you face every day.

We’re here to help you get the skin you want but also here to nurture self-confidence and celebrate holistically healthy skin. Let’s normalise real skin, with no judgement, just support and education.

Medical facts checked by Consultant Dermatologist, Dr Malvina Cunningham 

New to Skin + Me? Click here to start your healthier, happier skin consultation.

On your Skin + Me journey? Learn more about our Invite a Friend Charity initiative here.