New Study Shows U.S. Women Do Not Understand Their Own Skincare Needs Even Though They Think They Do

More than 80% of American women flunked a recent skincare knowledge test. But perhaps more alarming, the overwhelming majority (88%) think they knew which skincare products to use for their skin type, according to a new national survey. This finding suggests that women should consult a skin care expert, such as a dermatologist or esthetician.

The survey, sponsored by the Society of Dermatology SkinCare Specialists (SDSS), asked U.S. women who use skincare products to answer a few simple questions about skincare, including identifying which types of ingredients they should be using to treat common skin concerns like dark spots, fine lines/wrinkles around the eyes or inflammation and bruising. Age, level of education and household income did not seem to matter -- the results were poor across the board.

'This demonstrates that women who do not go to a skincare expert, like a dermatologist or licensed esthetician, may be using the wrong products, which may actually be making the condition worse,' said Susanne Warfield, Executive Director of SDSS. According to the survey, U.S. women spent an average of about $28 per month (or $336 per year) on skincare products that they rarely or never use because they're not right for them, so this can be an expensive waste of money if the products are not right for the person's skin concern.

The survey showed that:

* 83% of women were not sure which ingredient to use for anti-aging and thought they needed the advice of a skincare expert

* Almost half of women (48%) only use sun protection seasonally or do not use sun protection at all -- but sun damage can occur year-round

* More than six in ten women (65%) were not sure which ingredients would help reduce inflammation and bruising, and almost 10% of women selected an ingredient for reducing inflammation that actually may cause inflammation in some women.

* 82% of women were not sure which ingredients to use to help lighten the skin

Previous studies have also shown that women are often misinformed about their own skincare needs. For example, several studies have shown that more than 50% of women wrongly believe they have sensitive skin.

'This is something I see in my practice on a daily basis,' said David Avram, MD, a New York City dermatologist. 'Women tell me they have a particular condition and need treatment for it, but after examining their skin, I realize it's something completely different -- in fact, oftentimes they have multiple skincare conditions, but they may not realize it. I just worry about all of those women who are not going to their doctor for a skincare concern.'

Indeed, the survey showed that only approximately one-third (36%) women actually went to a doctor or esthetician for a skincare concern. More, however, try to treat it themselves by buying a product at a drug or department store, or seeking the advice of family and friends (41%). But even buying a product at the department store, where beauty experts are on hand, may be perilous, since most products are recommended based on a skin self- analysis and many women may end up buying the wrong products.

Some physicians and estheticians are taking matters into their own hands -- not only by encouraging patients to seek their expert advice, but also by customizing skincare products for them, thereby eliminating costly mistakes and helping women solve their skincare problems faster.
One company that is working with some of the most highly regarded dermatologists to provide a customized skincare program is PRESCRIBEDsolutions [Customized Skincare] ( PRESCRIBEDsolutions enables physicians and estheticians to use their professional skincare knowledge to 'boost' specialized skincare products to treat a myriad of individualized skincare concerns, including rosacea (redness), hyperpigmentation (dark spots), acne, dullness and fine lines/wrinkles.

'I thought I had adult acne, and had been putting over the counter anti- acne products on my face for months, and the problem would not go away,' said Marie Simorella, a patient of Dr. Avram. 'Finally, after worrying about my face and wasting all that money on products I did not need, I went to the doctor. He told me I did not have acne at all, but something called rosacea. He gave me a customized skincare regimen called PRESCRIBEDsolutions that he 'boosted' with special ingredients to fight rosacea and the problem basically went away.'

The Society of Dermatology SkinCare Specialists (SDSS), based in Ridgewood, New Jersey, is an international professional association of licensed estheticians and other skincare specialists working with board certified or board eligible dermatologists. For more information, click here