MANILA -- Torn on whether to spend hard earned money on the latest crowned holy grail serum or the reigning cult favorite? Keep in mind that different skin types demand different products. A "must-have" for one, may result in a massive breakout for another.
So, before you begin reading countless reviews and watching lauded beauty vloggers to help you decide, check the ingredient list first.
“Early on, I was fascinated by the skincare products available. I started to make an inventory and discovered that through trial and error each had different effects depending on who it was applied to,” cosmetic dermatologist Eleanor Reyes explained.
Reyes is among the roster of beauty experts voluntarily contributing invaluable knowledge to Picky, a skin type and product analyzer developed in South Korea last March.
“We created the mobile app to educate individuals on proper skincare and help people make better product decisions,” Lee Jihong, Picky founder and chief executive officer said.
KNOW YOUR SKIN
The new app boasts an extensive database consisting of over 30,000 products from both eastern and western labels.
But before members can freely sift through the extensive library, they must answer a 14-question quiz to determine his or her skin type and specific cosmetic needs.
“It’s very important to know your skin very well and identify the ingredients that work best with your skin type. Because if not, the skincare product can either worsen your skin problem or trigger skin reactions,” she admonished.
To further personalize the search process, after determining the user’s general skin type (dry/sensitive, dry/resilient, oily/sensitive, and oily/resilient), the skin analyzer will also ask the user what other concerns he or she wishes to address: pore-tightening, brightening, anti-aging, hyperpigmentation, etc.
Depending on the analysis, each product will then be tagged with the following risk levels: “holy grail,” “worth a try,” or “risky.”
KNOW THE INGREDIENTS
Remember, every skincare regimen should be as unique as the individual following it. Each person has a different group of ingredients that best works for them. For example, hyaluronic acid, rosehip oil, and ceramides are usually ideal for dry skin, while salicylic acid, niacinamide, and zinc are great for oily skin.
Although the mentioned are good options to begin with, they are just among the numerous ingredients enthusiasts can try.
Reyes, however, reminded that not all of them will be suitable for your complexion.
“One ingredient that might work for one person may not work for another person. Which is why skincare should be personalized. You can’t really give one ingredient and guarantee that it will work for everyone,” the cosmetic dermatologist explained.
Ironically, with countless jargons, and many beauty trends popping up often, learning more about skincare, may be more confusing than helpful. Thus, the Picky CEO encourages both beauty newbies and junkies to use the free app to guide them accordingly.
“Developing the app required intensive research. We have a medical adviser on our team and we consulted with over a dozen dermatologists. We want their skincare journey to be easy and safe as possible,” Lee recalled.
“We want to create a simple yet meaningful experience. That is why we came up with the Picky, to serve as a guidance,” he enthused.
Aside from sorting the products by brand, ingredients, or product type, users may narrow down their hunt to a specific concern like pore care, brightening, hyperpigmentation, anti-aging, UV protection, and to the attributes that fit their lifestyle such as, alcohol-free, cruelty-free, fungal acne safe, eczema safe, pregnancy friendly, vegan, etc.
Picky also breaks down each item’s long list of ingredients and categorizes which of the user’s skin concerns (acne, soothing, hyperpigmentation, etc.) it can address.
On top of knowing the ingredients that work for you, Reyes emphasized, learning those that can potentially damage your skin are just as crucial.
While the system is not foolproof and trial-and-error is still inevitable, Picky aims to minimize the probability individuals will get an adverse reaction, consequently wasting their hard-earned cash (let’s face it, skin care is not cheap).
“Maximize the features of the app. Read about the active ingredients and ask questions about the skincare products (and their compatibility to your skin type) before actually purchasing them,” Reyes advised.
“Acne and contact dermatitis are among the most common concerns I see in my patients. And the exacerbation could have been avoided if only they were well-informed or had proper guidance,” she added.
With new beauty trends popping up so often and new products being launched frequently, Lee said they update their app weekly to keep up with the rapidly evolving beauty industry,
“We have an in-house medical adviser, she is a dermatology PhD. She helps us over and over. We also consult with several external doctors. We always keep the list fresh,” he said.
The CEO added that while professional experience is vital, the insights of Picky members are just as valued.
“We encourage all of them to write honest reviews. We do not accept any sponsors because we want to provide a space where those who want to learn about skincare can get unbiased and impartial information,” he added. “This will help brands improve their products and other users reach their goals,” he shared.
“To improve the general user experience, we also read every feedback sent to us and update Picky accordingly every week,” he added.
BUILD YOUR ROUTINE
Although all ingredients are beneficial for your skin, they may not be suitable together. Topical acids, in particular, can harm your skin if not applied properly.
Benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid, for example, could dry your skin out and trigger more oil production. Meanwhile, vitamin C and abrasive acids such as salicylic and glycolic acids can cause too much exfoliation. Similarly, combining retinoids and acids can irritate your skin.
Acknowledging the complex and conflicting nature of skincare (especially for beginners), Picky developed a “Routine help” section on their Q&A page. Picky members can recreate their routine on the app and ask for advice from experienced skincare junkies and Picky experts from all over the world.
Apart from the aforementioned topic, the digital space also created several other interactive pages to address skin concerns, product questions, miscellaneous.
To make skincare journey more intimate, Picky also added a “Pinoy” section in their latest update.
“We decided to open up a ‘Pinoy’ section since it was one of our top 5 markets,” Lee explained. “Here, they can talk about the local brand, use their local language and reach out to local experts,” he added.
The new feature is particularly helpful for Filipinos who cannot afford prescription medicines and professional treatments to resolve their skin woes.
“I used to focus on prescription medicines in addressing the skin problems of my patients. Until I noticed that a number of them got enticed by advertisements to try over-the-counter products, which caused acne and triggered allergic reactions,” Reyes recalled.
“I learned that a large number of teenagers and young adults in the Philippines cannot afford prescription medicines, giving them more reason to try out available skincare products on the market. Because of this, I had to study more about skincare. So that I could provide more guidance on the proper selection and application of skincare products,” she added.
While a doctor’s diagnosis and treatment is unparalleled (never self-diagnose), partaking in the added page can decrease unnecessary and preventable trips to the doctor’s office — we are after all, still in the middle of a raging pandemic.
GROWING SKINCARE COMMUNITY
More than being an information-sharing app, emphasized Picky is a community. To date, the application has over 40,000 patrons from 39 countries.
To encourage its users to participate in the community and help out their fellow skincare enthusiasts, Picky created a reward system. Each user can earn points by leaving reviews, asking and answering questions, and inviting friends.
The accumulated points can then be used to join the weekly product giveaways from various sought after brands.
The most active users are also awarded a spot on the ‘Super Picky Squad’ where they can enjoy special perks such as access to exclusive workshops and webinars.
“Everyone who is passionate about skincare or wants to know more about it is welcome to join,” the CEO shared. “We want to hear about your skincare experiences and journey.”