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Everything to know about Topicals: The shame-free, dermatologist-approved brand marketed for people with chronic skin conditions

Everything to know about Topicals: The shame-free, dermatologist-approved brand marketed for people with chronic skin conditions

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Text: Emily Heng


Image: Instagram | @mytopicals

As Kendrick Lamar once astutely proclaimed in notorious diss track, Humble: "I'm so fu*kin' sick and tired of the Photoshop." We are, too, though it seems the sentiment doesn't quite extend to the skincare industry. Sure, you have your exceptions with CVS and Fenty Beauty — both of which have pledged to cease all forms of complexion retouching — but it is an irrefutable reality that such labels are few and far between.

In 2020, we are still plagued with image after image of glistening, glowing, and Glossier-ed folk; an endless plug of gels and creams that are supposedly the secret behind smooth, poreless skin. Of course, that is hard to believe seeing how a majority of said advocates appear to have a clear complexion to begin with. See: Neutrogena's perplexing commercial hawking their Oil-Free Acne Wash with a delightfully freckled, entirely blemish-free redhead. In what is the most unrealistic moment of the ad, she expresses puzzlement at the lack of instantaneous results...  despite the glaring absence of a problem in the first place.

We've grown accustomed to such inconsistencies that diversions in such trite strategies is cause for celebration. And that's where Topicals comes in: a brand that aims to discard the sting and shame of skin conditions such as acne, eczema, and the like. Their Instagram feed is a curation of self-proclaimed "itchy girls" and "spottie hotties"; products that don't claim to eliminate flare-ups in its entirety, but rather to make 'em a little more tolerable; while a tab on their site labelled Burn Book asks members of the community on the toxic beauty standards they wish to eradicate.

Marketed as medical botanicals that are free of dyes and synthetic fragrances, Topicals has two main products in their arsenal. Meet Faded and Like Butter. The former is a gel serum designed for sun-burned and scar skin, whereas the latter serves as a hydrating mask perfect for dry, sensitive, and eczema-prone types. No consensus has been reached on the effectiveness of these offerings, though their sold-out status on Nordstrom should tell you something.

Call us overly optimistic, but the entry of Topicals in the skincare market signals a turning point. Perhaps the heralding of a time where imperfections are embraced, or maybe an age where we cut the crap and present the world our complexion as it truly is: messy, complicated, and very much beautiful. Now, that's a future we'd like to see.

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