Skin is the one part of our body we all have to bare, yet so many of us have hangups about it — whether that's how it looks or feels, how it changes over the years, or just exactly how we are supposed to take care of it. That's why InStyle asked a group of over 1,800 racially diverse women, from age 18 to 74, across America to open up about their skin. And we're using everything they shared to create a juicy monthlong series that will explore exactly what women in the U.S. want to known about skin.
In an era when it seems like everyone's goal is to "glow," it comes as no surprise that women are very into skincare. In fact, the vast majority of people we spoke to shared that having good skin is high on their list of priorities — skin is in, after all. What's interesting, however, is that there's no clear consensus on what having "good skin" even looks like. When we spoke to women from various age groups, they each had very different concerns — add in race and ethnicity, and the answers got even more distinct.
The one thing most women agree on is that uneven skin tone and dark under eye circles and bags are an issue across the board. Fifty-nine percent of survey respondents add that cellulite is one of their main concerns when it comes to the skin on their body, but even more want solutions for dryness (77%).
When it comes to aging, women in their twenties are thinking of anything but that. They're most concerned with clearing up acne, soothing chapped lips, and shrinking large pores, which sounds about right. But as women reach their thirties and forties, that's when getting rid of fine lines and wrinkles starts to become a priority. As for women who are 50 years old and over, eliminating age spots and reversing a loss of elasticity are generally their main goals. But here's a fun fact: Looking to turn back the hands of time isn't a universal concern for all women as they get older.
We're sure you've heard the term "black don't crack" before — and it's truly a saying Black women swear by (the great Gladys Knight is 75 — hello!). Although half the total number of women we surveyed shared that they began using anti-aging products at 35, Black women are the least likely to invest in any anti-aging products overall — and actually spend more on haircare products than skin. Black women also tend to stick with legacy beauty brands they know (think the OG products from the beauty supply store), and want to achieve even skin tone, while also eliminating dryness. However, it does pain me to say that Black women are the least likely to use SPF, despite it being a foolproof way to help prevent hyperpigmentation, which is one of their main concerns (by the way, Black people absolutely do need sunscreen, but more on that later).
On the flip side, Latina women take a very different approach to skincare. They actually spend the most money of any group on products — around $1,392 a year, according to our survey. This group is also more likely to test out treatments at a dermatologist's office, and understand the many benefits of SPF. For these women, good skin means a face free of dark under eye circles, chapped lips, large pores, and dryness.
Asian women's main goal is to achieve healthy-looking skin, and they're willing to spend extra cash on skincare to get there. But at the same time, they're also looking for products that can help to shorten their beauty routines. And much like Latinas, Asian women are serious about sun protection and use an SPF daily, which makes sense, seeing as uneven skin tone is one of their main issues. Aside from that, these women want to get rid of dryness, under eye circles and bags, as well as chapped lips.
You can find a few more interesting figures from our study below. But make sure to keep coming back throughout the month to discover all the goodness we have in store. We'll be covering everything from acne to folliculitis, sharing our go-to products for combating your most talked about skin issues, exploring the wonderful world of aging, and so much more. Everything you asked for, we'll be delivering — stay tuned.
Photography by Ed Maximus. Illustrations by Jenna Brillhart, Erica Whyte and Julian Birchman.