Do You Really Need Custom-Made Skincare?

Are custom-made skincare products a necessity or simply a marketing ploy? Our skin, being as distinct as we are, might call for intricate, tailor-made solutions. However, does the skincare industry truly offer advanced scientific formulas tailored to our individual needs, or are they just luring us into paying more for seemingly “perfect” products? It’s time to investigate whether personalized skincare is a genuine innovation or just a captivating gimmick.

Do you really need custom made skicnare? Photo by raghav bhasin

Our skin is unique

Of course, it is true that we all possess a unique DNA and this determines the appearance and behavior of our skin. It is also true that each of us has a distinct skin microbiome. Moreover, scientists and doctors today have the ability to create treatments tailored for individual patients, which can be more effective than traditional therapies. However, there is a catch: this capacity and research are still in their infancy. Developing a truly personalized treatment today is also incredibly costly, and mostly relegated to experimental cancer treatments and medical research.

Should you try microbiome skin tests?

You might wonder: How about the microbiome skin tests? Don’t they promise to identify all the bacteria, both “good” and “bad”, living on your skin and suggest how to “feed” the good bacteria with your skincare? The reality is that all the tests available outside of a doctor’s office have very dubious accuracy. Even the researchers have a hard time distinguishing the bacteria truly coming from your skin sample versus microbes that get into it from the people processing it (including the lab workers). The next step is even more challenging. While researchers are certain that a balance of “good” and “bad” bacteria on your skin plays an important role in your skin health, they do not know what the optimal balance is, and they know even less about how to achieve it. Of course, this area of dermatological research is incredibly fascinating and promising, but right now it is only research and experimentation. It is far from being market-ready and has little to do with the “personalized skincare products” on the cosmetics market today.

How about personalized skincare brands?

But what about brands like Curology, Dermatica, and Skin + Me? Their products and routines do work, but it’s not because they make products “just for you”. Their value-add is not custom-made products, but their ability to give you access to prescription-only skincare actives like tretinoin or antibiotics, along with guidance on which ones will work for your skin concern and how to use them in a routine. It is highly unlikely that these brands have products made for a unique case of each customer.

Rather, they have various pre-defined formulations with varying combinations of active ingredients that suit a limited number of skin concerns and sensitivity profiles. This does not take away from the value these brands provide – I think it is wonderful that they make dermatological treatments more accessible for people worldwide. But let’s be honest here: the innovation is not in custom-made products. It is an ability to use technology to work around quite archaic regulations around potent skincare actives like tretinoin.

Do you really need custom-made skincare?

The short answer is no, not today at least. What’s truly beneficial is guidance on choosing the best skincare actives for your skin concerns, understanding how to use them without irritation, and knowing what your overall skincare routine should look like. Armed with this knowledge, you can easily find suitable products from the existing market offerings.

Services like Curology or Dermatica are beneficial for accessing prescription-only actives like tretinoin, along with useful guidance, depending on your country’s regulations and healthcare system. However, try to optimize your spending by focusing on treatments with actives unavailable elsewhere, and avoid unnecessary expenses on “custom-made” cleansers, moisturizers, or sunscreens.

As the hype around personalized skincare marketing surges, it’s important not to get swept away. Hold back from splurging on custom-made lotions and potions. Instead, invest time in understanding your skin and what can help you achieve your skincare goals. Bespoke skincare might sound fancy, but currently, it doesn’t necessarily outperform wallet-friendly off-the-shelf alternatives. Your best bet today? Concentrate on selecting the right actives and building an effective skincare regimen. And who knows, someday science may indeed catch up to our personalized skincare dreams!

Choose your products based on actives

WIMJ Search allows you to select skincare products based on what’s inside. Filter products by actives included, and exclude ingredients you don’t want. Check the concentration of ingredients and potential irritants.



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    About The Author

    Maria Semykoz

    Science communicator. Co-founder at WIMJ