On Making Amends: Creating a Space for Recovery, Healing, and Peace.

I want to share with you some lessons I’ve learned on how to create a space for healing and peace for people that have been harmed.

In my life, like any person, I have spoken and behaved in ways that have harmed people around me and the people I care about.

“Like any person” is crossed out, because I wanted to use that sentence to share a lesson I have learned. Harms we have enacted are not caused by society, culture, or something greater than us. They may be the soil that the harm we caused grew in, but deferring the blame to something greater than us is a way to unburden ourselves of the weight of creating harm.

To use a personal example, I had harmed a friend when speaking about a concern I had with myself. I did not recognize that I was upholding an abuse structure in our culture that had harmed my friend in the past. The abuse structure is bigger than I am, but I acted as a conduit from it to my friend. I am responsible for the harm I caused. Seeing someone uphold an abuse structure, intentionally or not – strikes fear into the people who were exiled or harmed by it.

I have learned that apologies can be a trap. We must recognize, as the people who have harmed, whether the desire to make amends is for us or for the people that we have harmed. Sometimes a person who has been harmed needs time and space. That is often the only thing within their power to control in response to harm. Offering an apology can sometimes destroy their power and control, and preclude that response.

An apology can act as a reminder of harm, before the person who was harmed is ready to confront and process the pain.

An apology can act as a ticking clock because it can force a person who is harmed to respond, and to respond within a polite time frame.

An apology is a burden because the person who was harmed must hold the weight of the apology and also perform forgiveness.

I have learned to recognize that because fear and confusion are common responses to being harmed, distancing is sometimes the only protective action that feels safe.

I have learned if forgiveness is offered, it is important to understand that forgiveness is not a resetting of relationships or closeness. Forgiveness is not a way to move backward, it is a way to move forward – and sometimes it means moving forward apart.

I have learned that forgiveness can be given by the person who was harmed, to themselves. And in that process, forgiveness can be given to you by a person unburdening themselves of the conduit that brought harm into their life.

Sometimes forgiveness means that the person will walk away from you, and that means sometimes we only need to provide them a path to do so clear of obstacles.

It takes care, time, and empathy to recognize that we are not always the source of healing.

How Marketing Numbers Without Context Can Boost Beauty Claims: Percentages and Fractions Need Context

The rising use of data and science in beauty marketing has led to an increase in percentages, fractions, and statistics. When it comes to percentages and fractions, it is extremely important to understand what they mean.

Often, important contextual information is left out. This can have the effect of boosting the claims brands make about their products.

Let’s look at something simple to begin with, how fractions can be converted into percentages – and vice versa.

2/4 is 50%

250/500 is also 50%

2 and 250 are numerators, while 4 and 500 are the denominators.

This numerator is how many parts of the whole, and the denominator represents the whole.

This comes into play when we look at claims like 90% of people agreed that For’real Serum increased skin dumplingness. What we’re missing is the context of the denominator.

90% could be 9 out of 10 people, or 900 out of 1000 people.

9 out of 10 people is a small sample and probably subject to some sort of bias. If 900 out of 1000 people agreed though, that would be more convincing.

This issue with lack of denominator context is also pervasive in claims using “bioavailability”, “penetration”, “absorption” and “conversion”. These are often claims of comparison – but they’re usually missing the context of how and what they’re being compared to.

How tall is Ranbir if we’re told “Ranbir is 20% taller”? We don’t have the information to know! But we can figure it out if we’re told “Ranbir is 20% taller than the average American firefighter in 2020”

In a similar vein, what does “20% more hydration” mean? We don’t have the information to know! But we have an anchor if we’re told “20% more hydration compared to before use”.

Let’s look at some beauty relevant examples…

40 times more skin penetration…

An important piece of information that’s missing is how was this determined? Is the way that this was determined applicable to the way that their customer will be using it on their skin? Often this data comes from models of skin (things are designed to mimic some aspect of skin, but are not skin), and in vitro (something that isn’t the living, whole organism) or cells. An ingredient might penetrate 40 times more into an individual dermal skin cell floating inside a plastic dish of nutrients over 2 days…but we are not giant dermal skin cells floating inside a plastic dish of nutrients.

What really matters is how the ingredient penetrates human skin that’s part of a living, functioning, whole human person. As well, it’s more relevant if the ingredient or product is used in a way that mimics how we would use it. If penetration increases after 40 minutes of being in a microwave oven…I would argue that information probably isn’t relevant.

90% skin “bioavailability”…

Claims like these often have the same issue as the previous claims we just looked at — like how a measurement was made. But often they also lack another type of context. What’s being measured?

What these claims insinuate is that 90% of what you’re applying to the skin will be “bioavailable” to the skin. But what’s often missing is the context that the 90% is usually a measure of what is “bioavailable” after skin penetration (or the skin model, cell, or in some cases a piece of gel or paper).

Let’s say you have 100 red balls of various sizes.

You shake them through a sieve.

8 red balls have passed through the sieve.

We have 8 red balls out of the 8 balls that fell through the sieve (8/8, 100%).

Is that 100% “bioavailability”?

We need to remember that we started with 100 red balls.

So out of those 100 red balls we started with, only 8 red balls passed through the sieve (8/100, 8%).

So is the “bioavailability” 8% or 100%?

Well, you’re using (and paying for) the 100 balls, so I would say the 8% is the number that’s more relevant.

Note: I have “bioavailability” in quotes because in terms of skincare it’s not well defined. In pharmacology, bioavailability is the amount of a taken drug that reaches the bloodstream.

“Bioavailability” is often used in the marketing of  nutritional supplements, but the pharmacology definition doesn’t really make sense because how a nutrient gets used or absorbed can also depend on a person’s current nutritional and physiological state.

The meaning of “bioavailability” in skincare becomes even harder to pin down. It can sometimes mean the amount of an ingredient that reaches the lower epidermis – but there’s no strict or widely accepted definition nor is there a standard way to measure it.

Often “bioavailability” in skincare is just a marketing term to make a product sound more unique and effective compared to its competitors.

INCI Isn’t Everything: Daft Punk Shows Us Why

Knowing the components of something doesn’t tell us their proportions, quality and properties, or how they’re put together.

Like how Daft Punk sampled Eddie Johns’ song “More Spell On You”; snipped, stretched, looped, and rearranged it into “One More Time” — ingredients can be remixed to create something new.

What is INCI? INCI or International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients is an English language ingredient dictionary and system of rules for naming the ingredients used in cosmetics.

If no INCI name or naming rule exists, other chemical, scientific, or common names can sometimes be used, depending on the region.

An ingredient list is just that, a list of ingredients. In some regions, the ingredients will be listed in decreasing concentration – some allow them to be listed in any order.

In the US the FDA regulations allow ingredients less than 1% in concentration to be listed in any order (after things higher than 1% in concentration).

Based on the ingredient list of this baked good:

Flour, Milk, Vegetable Oil, Egg, Sugar, Salt

Can you really tell what it is? It could be a cake, a crepe, a popover, a muffin, or pancakes. It could be a lot of things.

Having the concentration of the ingredients gives us a better idea. All this information is missing from an INCI list.

2 cups all-purpose flour

3 teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

¾ cup white sugar

1 egg

1 cup milk

¼ cup vegetable oil

But the way that it’s put together is also very important (also information missing from an INCI list).

Step 1: Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (205 degrees C).

Step 2: Stir together the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar in a large bowl. In a separate bowl froth the egg with a fork, then add the milk and oil. Pour all at once into a well in the flour mixture. Mix gently until the batter is lumpy.

Step 3: Pour the batter into paper lined muffin pan cups.

Step 4: Bake for 25 minutes, or until golden.

Only now do we know that they’re muffins.

Just like the ingredient list of something we eat, a cosmetic or skincare ingredient list can provide us with valuable information.

It might highlight potential allergens or things we are looking to avoid. An ingredient list might give you a general sense of what it will be like. But it can’t tell you everything, and it’s not worth aching over.

You simply can’t divine concentrations, formulations, raw material information, and manufacturing processes if that information just isn’t there.

It’s Not Fungal Acne

Fungal acne is not a diagnosis.

“Fungal acne” often refers to the idea that a person who has not seen improvement in their acne from conventional treatments is actually suffering from acne caused by fungus. The fungus is often identified as the genus Malassezia, formerly called Pityrosporum.⁣

Fungal (or yeast, a type of fungus) infections of the skin can occur. Malassezia fungus can cause small red bumps or white-headed pimples on the skin. It might look a lot like acne, but it’s not acne. It’s a condition called malassezia or fungal folliculitis.

It’s described as acneiform, which means “looks like acne” but it isn’t acne.

Proponents of “fungal acne” will often recommend changing the products a person uses to being free of ingredients that supposedly feed fungus. This is akin to “detoxifying” and is a common trope in pseudoscience.⁣ Many of these “not fungal acne safe” ingredients also happen to overlap with acne triggers.

There’s little to no human evidence that removing the often highlighted ingredients will have benefits against fungal infections of the skin. The evidence given is often from cell culture studies, anecdotal, or taken out of context.⁣

A story shared by a Redditor highlights why self-diagnosing “fungal acne” can be dangerous. This Redditor self-diagnosed what they thought was “fungal acne” and went on a “skincare detox”. The infection continued to reoccur. Finally, after visiting a doctor, and a skin swab…it was confirmed to be a staph infection. This means during this time the Redditor was self-treating their “fungal acne”, they were letting a potentially dangerous staph infection go untreated.⁣

Fungal folliculitis can be identified by doctors through tests, their training, and experience. If the infection is confirmed to be fungal folliculitis, treatment often involves topical (or in severe cases systemic) antifungal medication.⁣

⁣It’s important to get a proper diagnosis, so the proper treatment can be given.⁣ It’s important not to self-diagnose. There are many conditions that can look like acne or how “fungal acne” is described, but can be harmful if left untreated.⁣

I’ve seen some experts use the term “fungal acne” colloquially online. We don’t need to simplify the terminology we use. We’re capable of using complex words like niacinamide or emulsification.

Call it by its name. Fungal folliculitis.

But only after a diagnosis is made.

An Open Letter About Sunscreen Shaming

I think a lot of us have forgotten that the bad effects caused by sun exposure have only been recently well understood.

While we’ve observed for a long time that sun exposure causes sunburn, the impact UVA has on skin’s appearance and photoaging are a relatively recent understanding and concern.

Sunscreens marketed as an appearance maintaining essential is arguably modern.

The first widely used “sunscreen” was Red Vet Pet. Used by American soldiers during WWII, it was a by-product of oil refining with a strong red hue. In the later 1940s, pharmacist Benjamin Green would base his Coppertone product on it, but it was marketed to improve one’s ability to tan.

One of the first effective commercial sunscreens, Gletscher Crème, was introduced by Franz Greiter in 1946. Rudolf Schulze published the first method to measure sun protection in 1956. It’s estimated that Gletscher Crème only had a Schulze Factor of 2.

It wasn’t until 1974 that Schulze’s method would be adapted as the Sun Protection Factor and slowly start spreading around the world.

In 1965, doctors J. Graham Smith and G. Rolland Finlayson presented their summary of the sun’s impact on skin, “The changes in human Caucasian skin commonly believed to be due to aging are primarily the effects of prolonged repeated damage to the skin from the sun”. There’s no discussion on the different effects caused by UVA and UVB.

One of the first standards to measure the UVA protection of sunscreen was published in 1994 by Brian Diffey. And it wasn’t until 2011 that the US FDA harmonized and set down rules as to what sunscreens could be labelled as “Broad Spectrum”.

Japan’s cosmetic industry would adopt the UVA protection test, persistent pigment darkening, in 1996.

The European Cosmetics Trade Association (COLIPA) wouldn’t publish their standard for testing sunscreen for UVA protection until 2009.

While sunscreen use might reduce the risk of some skin cancers, it doesn’t reduce the risk of all of them.

Wear sunscreen to prevent skin cancer messaging is often blunt and not inclusive.

Dr. Adewole Adamson a dermatologist, researcher, and professor explains:

“In Blacks, melanoma usually develops in parts of the body that get less sun exposure, such as the palms of the hands and soles of the feet. These cancers are called ‘acral lentiginous melanomas,’ and sunscreen will do nothing to reduce the risk of these cancers…

Even among Whites, there is no relationship between sun exposure and the risk of acral lentiginous melanomas. Famously, Jamaican singer Bob Marley died of such a melanoma on his great toe, but sunscreen would not have helped.”

Sometimes we forget what it feels like to not know something – once we’ve learned it. A lot of the understanding of the sun’s effects and sunscreen protection labels are relatively modern.

Not all of us had the opportunity to grow up in households or communities that were sun protection prescient. Not all of us knew the effects that prolonged sun exposure could have on our skin. Not all of us cared when we were younger.

To shame someone for not having consistently worn sunscreen throughout their life is to say that their skin – the interface of their body to the world – is irredeemable.

Would I prefer people to wear sunscreen more often?

Yes.

But you haven’t failed if you didn’t start wearing sunscreen when you were a child.

And some people just don’t care about getting wrinkles or pigmentation.

There needs to be space in the beauty community for them as well.

#BeautyRecap: November 5, 2019

Products and Reviews

Billie Launched a Movember Campaign—Because Women Have Mustaches Too via teenvogue.com

Lili Reinhart Is CoverGirl’s Newest Ambassador via elle.com

The Founder of Instagram’s Trendmood Is Breaking Out of the Grid via allure.com

The Kardashian Sisters Revealed Their New KKW Fragrance Collection via teenvogue.com

CoverGirl Announces Lili Reinhart as the Brand’s Newest Face via teenvogue.com

I Tried Patrick Ta’s New Makeup Collection, and Now I’m Glowing Like Gigi Hadid via popsugar.com

I Tried Sally Hansen’s New Glow-in-the-Dark Nail Polishes for Halloween via allure.com

Curious About That Lid Scrub You’ve Seen All Over Amazon? A Pro Weighs In via popsugar.com

Skincare Fridges Are Cute and Instagram Friendly, but Are They Necessary? via popsugar.com

These At-Home Spa Kits and DIY Face Masks Are the Ultimate Self-Care Beauty Gifts via popsugar.com

Lush’s New Bath Bomb Conveyer Belt Is Here for the Holidays via allure.com

10 Straighteners That Won’t Fry Your Hair via glamour.com

Hot Topic Has a Friends Eye Shadow Palette Rachel Couldn’t Resist via popsugar.com

Belif’s Hungarian Water Essence Is So Hydrating You’ll Think It’s a Serum via allure.com

All of the Best New Makeup Coming in November via allure.com

The Best New K-Beauty Skin Care and Makeup Coming in November via allure.com

These Are Allure Editors’ Favorite New Beauty Products of October 2019 via allure.com

I Want to Do All My Beauty Shopping at Nordstrom NYC Forever, and I Don’t Even Live Here via popsugar.com

The Best Holiday Gifts to Buy for Everyone on Your List at Ulta via allure.com

Proactiv Launched a New Kit to Celebrate Kendall Jenner’s 24th Birthday via teenvogue.com

Get a Sneak Peek of Spectrum Collections’ First-Ever Zodiac-Themed Makeup Line via popsugar.com

This Friends-Themed Eye Makeup Will Be There for You via allure.com

Urban Outfitters Has a Beauty Advent Calendar That’s Worth Every Single Penny via popsugar.com

November’s Best New Hair Products Editors Can’t Stop Raving About via popsugar.com

Deciem Will Close on Black Friday — But Don’t Worry, There’s Still a Sale via allure.com

The Best New Beauty Products to Try This Month via glamour.com

Here’s How Our Beauty Editors Would Fill a Makeup Bag With a $100 Budget via popsugar.com

14 Game-Changing Skincare Products Our Editors Are Thankful For This Month via popsugar.com

11 Autumnal Makeup Products That Were Totally Worth Waiting For via popsugar.com

19 Cruelty-Free Brands You Need to Know via allure.com

Makeup Fans Are Loving Uoma Beauty’s New “Brow-Fro” Collection via allure.com

5 Women Try Glossier’s New Liquid Eyeliner via glamour.com

Gucci Westman’s First Lip Product Is Unlike Anything We’ve Ever Seen via allure.com

The 11 Best Sephora Gifts at Every Price Point via allure.com

Glossier’s New Pro Tip Liquid Eyeliner’s Staying Power Is No Joke, and Here’s the Proof via popsugar.com

Why Elle Loves the L’Oréal Paris Glycolic Acid Face Serum via elle.com

Glossier Released Its First Liquid Eyeliner, Pro Tip via teenvogue.com

The 9 Best New Beauty Products to Buy in November via vogue.com

All Hail To The Best Vegan Makeup Brands Ever via who.com.au

Thermal power: Shiseido plans to release new sun care products which strengthen with heat via cosmeticsdesign-asia.com

Harrods to open first standalone beauty store via mylondon.news

Kesha Is Launching A Makeup Line To Align With Your Aura, Not Your Instagram Filter via refinery29.com

Innisfree, in collaboration with Jeju Anthracite Coffee Roasters, upcycled discarded coffee waste into coffee oil and scrub powder ingredients via apgroup.com

Celebrities and Influencers

Laura Dern Breaks Down Her Everyday Self-Care Routine via vogue.com

The Makeup Artist Behind the Creepy ‘Joker’ Look That Will Own Halloween 2019 via elle.com

Bella Hadid Has an Easy Trick for De-Puffing Tired Eyes via vogue.com

Meet the Women Spending Hundreds on Halloween Makeup via glamour.com

The Pros Behind Jennifer Lopez’s Glow Weigh In on How to Get Great Skin via popsugar.com

Heidi Klum’s Halloween Costume Livestream Was Performance Art via wmagazine.com

The Story Behind the Elaborate Fantasy Makeup in Dove Cameron’s “So Good” Video via allure.com

Jennifer Aniston Is Sick People Saying ‘You Look Great for Your Age’ via glamour.com

Kendall Jenner’s 24th Birthday Bash Doubled As The Craziest Halloween Party Ever via wmagazine.com

Why Jennifer Aniston’s Friends Beauty Looks Were the Show’s Most Memorable Legacy via wmagazine.com

Lady Gaga Kept Halloween Going With My Little Pony Makeup and Unicorn Hair via allure.com

Selena Gomez Tried That Viral Upside-Down Braid Hack and It Did Not Go as Planned via glamour.com

Kim Kardashian West Is Suing iHandy Makeup App For 10 Million Dollars via teenvogue.com

Skincare and Beauty

Getting Injectables Is as Easy as Getting a Blow-Out Now—But Is It Safe? via glamour.com

The Best Tricks to Clean Your Makeup Brushes After Halloween via teenvogue.com

Want Better Skin? These YouTube Channels Can Help via popsugar.com

Does Exercise Improve Your Skin? A Derm Weighs In via popsugar.com

The FDA Proposes New Safety Information for Breast Implants, Including Warning Labels via allure.com

The Difference Between Squalene and Squalane Skin-Care Products via allure.com

Allergist: ‘We don’t need a fragrance-free society’ via cosmeticsdesign-europe.com

What Do Your Teeth Say About You? via vogue.co.uk

Retailers, Brands, and Market Trends

A Manifesto for Mindful Cross-Cultural Borrowing via businessoffashion.com

Why There Are More Fashion Magazines Than Ever via businessoffashion.com

Estée Lauder Cuts Profit Forecast via businessoffashion.com

Forever 21 Avoids Store Closures After Rent Cuts via businessoffashion.com

It’s Official: Barneys New York’s New Owner Is Authentic Brands Group via businessoffashion.com

Riley Rose Is Closing Its Stores and Website, But This Isn’t the End of Beauty Boutique via allure.com

FDA warns against 5 cosmetics products via news.mb.com.ph

The Cosmetics Industry Is Slowing, but Ulta Continues to Take Market Share via fool.com

After a Big Drop, Is Ulta Beauty Alluring Again? via nasdaq.com

Bulldog Skincare Becomes First Cruelty-Free Brand To Sell In China via plantbasednews.org

How beauty brands are aiming to unlock China’s potential via glossy.co

ZFDA destroys 135 tonnes of foodstuffs, cosmetics via ippmedia.com

S. Korea’s online shopping transactions reach all-time high in Q3 via pulsenews.co.kr

India: Cause And Effect: Counterfeiting In The Cosmetic Industry via mondaq.com