June 2024

In today's world of Instagram, TikTok and Facebook, it's easy to get overwhelmed by all the skincare advice out there. Often, we're so eager for clear skin and quick fixes that we overlook the need for accurate, evidence-based advice. Plus, with so many people claiming to be “skin experts”, it's hard to know who to trust. 

The rise of skin influencers

You've probably seen influencers claiming to be skincare experts or even dermatologists. But not all of them have the proper qualifications which can be misleading. Furthermore, many influencers often get paid to promote products, so it’s important to watch out for those sponsored posts pushing products because they might be more about making money than helping your skin.

The dangers of bad advice

Believing everything you read online can be dangerous, especially when it comes to your skin health. Following the wrong advice could leave you with more problems than you started with. It's not just about wasting money on products that don't work, it's also about potentially harming your skin or feeling bad about yourself because you didn't get the results you were promised.

So, how can you protect yourself from bad advice? 

Here are a few tips for how to differentiate the good advice from the bad when you're scrolling through your feed.

  1. Check the source: Before trusting any health advice or product recommendation, take a moment to verify the credentials of the person or organisation behind it. Are they a qualified consultant dermatologist with the General Medical Council- in the UK, another healthcare professional or someone with a vested interest in promoting products? 

  2. Fact-check: Don't believe everything you read. Take time to double-check information from reliable sources or consult with trusted healthcare professionals to verify the accuracy of the claims. If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

  3. Seek out reliable information: When in doubt, turn to trusted sources like the British Skin Foundation’s Know Your Skin pages, British Association of Dermatologists or the NHS website which can provide accurate and up-to-date guidance on skin problems. 

  4. Stay Critical: Don't take everything at face value. Think about why someone might be promoting a product or treatment and be wary of endorsements that seem too good to be true. 

  5. Educate Yourself: Take advantage of educational resources to enhance your understanding of dermatological issues. By staying informed and knowledgeable, you'll be better equipped to spot misinformation and make informed decisions about your skin. Understand what terms like "dermatologist" or "skin expert" truly mean to ensure you're receiving advice from qualified professionals.

By following these tips, you can navigate social media for skincare advice without getting tricked by misinformation, enabling you to take better care of your skin and avoid falling for scams or bad advice.

Dr Nada Khalil, Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust and Dr Khawar Hussain, Consultant Dermatologist, Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust 

Find Nada on LinkedIn here.
Find Khawar on LinkedIn here.

Further reading

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/36994908/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/38589984/

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