Is unsolicited skincare advice warranted? We get Singaporeans to weigh in
Nothing incites ire amongst beauty journalists quite like run-of-the-mill skincare tips along the lines of 'drink more water'. If there's anything that amasses more offence, however, it's unsolicited advice — and we industry veterans are definitely not alone in this. You know them: the "well-intentioned" auntie recommending you facial wash to help get rid of those spots; the chatty taxi uncle name-dropping dermatologists to fix your rosacea; or some distant relative or the other pushing their tried-and-tested products your way.
Do they truly mean well, or is it an excuse for one to dispense cruelty onto others? Are these comments truly helpful, or are they of the hurtful variety? We turn the mic over to Singaporeans to share their thoughts on the
scarring situation, below.
"I wish I was exaggerating when I say that it is largely older folk that live to give uninvited skincare advice. Every comment I've ever gotten about my skin came from someone older, and it almost always went from "gentle" chiding to mocking really quick. They would attribute my bad skin to laziness, being cheap, or even my dietary habits. I wish I could believe that these people ultimately harbour good intentions, but from what I can tell, a lot of them just like to kaypoh and make others feel bad. Maybe it's because they don't have much going on in their own lives?" — Frequent user of 'Ok, boomer'
"Uninvited skincare advice is the plague of the nation. Honestly, you think I don't know I have acne? You think I don't want to fix it? You might have to look at my face for an hour or two, but I'm the one who's stuck it for the rest of my life. It's ridiculous that these people are more concerned and "frightened for me" than I am for myself. Plus, unless the person has had acne before or currently has acne, I would be less inclined to believe what they say. Do you have any idea how many times someone has asked me to put witch hazel on my skin? It never works." — Over it
On the fence
"I think it really depends on who's saying it. I hate it when strangers say anything because it's none of their business. If it's a relative or friend, however, I'd be more receptive. I trust them to have good recommendations, so even if their comments hurt at first, it'll be well worth it if it gets me clear skin." — Cautiously optimistic
"It's never okay to give skincare advice unprompted unless you're a doctor or a dermatologist. I understand that sometimes people think that they are in the position to dispense advice because certain products work for them, but everybody's skin is different and I'd like to think that I know what works for me and what doesn't. Even if you have a strong urge to comment on my skin with the intention of helping, please do so tactfully.
The struggle of growing up with acne and living with the scars is not something that everyone fully understands. Every day, I am reminded of my imperfect skin when I look at myself in the mirror, so there's really no need for pesky aunties and uncles to ask me what happened to my skin, or to remind me that I do not have a conventionally "beautiful" complexion. Truth is, there is nothing is wrong with my skin. It's a slow-going process, but I'm definitely working towards accepting and embracing the scars." — Practiced and patient
Bring it on
"I welcome uninvited skincare advice. Mostly so I can say something derogatory about their skin in return, but I think it's probably just me." — Zero f*cks given
"A lot of people I know have been talking about this. Personally, I feel that it's something that is blown out of proportion. A lot of the times, people who give skincare advice just want to help, in the same way you'd want to when you see someone struggling to go up the stairs with bags of groceries. It's just human nature, right? Sure, they probably said something you don't like to hear. But maybe you should also consider growing a thicker skin." — Unimpressed
"There's never a good time, place, or person to give unsolicited skincare advice. Seriously, unless it's their job, I don't think anyone should ever comment on another person's complexion. Everyone is pretty sensitive about their skin, and I live by this policy that if it's not something about your appearance you can change in a minute — like smudged lipstick or messy hair — then you shouldn't say anything at all." — Hey, Thumper