The Skepticism is Real: Skincare and Women Over 50

A new day brings a newly introduced “anti-aging” product, promising a solution to a new age-related skin concern that very well may have suddenly appeared overnight. The plethora of skincare products on the market is dizzying and the financial commitment to them can be exorbitant especially without knowing the end results. It’s a gamble and understandably there is a lot of skepticism towards these products. It’s more than just products that don’t live up to their claims. The messaging from brands around aging is often inconsistent and contradictory.

We sat down with Lois Joy Johnson, award-winning beauty & fashion editor, and a founding editor of MORE magazine, to talk about the skepticism that surrounds the skincare world for women over 50.

LJJ: “Women 50+ have a been-there-done-that attitude towards beauty product claims.  As the most experienced consumer category, they are tough customers. There is tremendous resistance to the words "anti-aging" and "de-aging" and yet many sites and brands persist in highlighting these words as if they will encourage sales. Trust me, they won't. Like body positivity, women are embracing age as a privilege not a problem and putting health before vanity. Age is not a problem at all and every woman ages differently. It's not a one-size-fits all experience.” 

i-On: We know our skin needs essential daily hydration, SPF, gentle exfoliation and then enhanced hydration at nighttime when healing happens. But when it comes to ingredients and trends, it can be almost to impossible to know exactly what your skin needs without trial and error… which can be costly and frustrating. What works for one, may not work for another.

LJJ: “Women are tired of buying everything from professed collagen-boosting moisturizers to thickening shampoos, wrinkle freshening blue-light protecting makeup to cellulite creams and stem cell rejuvenators... and being disappointed. They think the constant deluge of new products, new "miracle" ingredients, new extra products (serums are one I am asked about the most) and new formulas are baloney. They think words like “clinically proven”, “maximum strength”, “clinical” and “professional” are a scam. They are skeptical too about the new green, clean category of beauty and wonder if this too is a marketing gimmick. They wonder why drugstore creams come out with new improved versions of their products every six months, they wonder if tried and true creams like La Mer and Cetaphil are just as good if not better than all the new ones." 

“Can't say I don't agree. As a longtime beauty editor, I know the turnover of new products and brands has accelerated tremendously. Trust in specific brands has softened. Social media has spawned a category of so-called influencers and everyday-people who critique every beauty product produced with a thumbs-up-or-down glee. In today's everyone-is-a-celebrity culture, the positive experience of peer consumers makes or breaks a brand.”    

i-On: I couldn’t agree more! I also think there is so much missing in the messaging from brands that creates mistrust as well as a sense of feeling misunderstood and even left behind. It's hard enough to fight through the noise of pretty influencers and pseudo celebrities all over social media and truly embrace yourself, your changing skin and body. One day you wake up and think …what just happened??!! How come I didn't know it was going to be this dramatic! I would imagine some women just feel at a complete loss.

Three women celebrating with i-On skin care

What is missing for women of all ages is a more comprehensive understanding of what biological and environmental factors impact their skin and what they can do to keep it functioning and looking healthy – through all stages of life. In addition to creating a truly efficacious product, brands really need to enhance the education behind the science around skin and menopause to empower women with knowledge and positivity. Empowerment was the theme we opened with for 2022 but it’s actually the ethos of our brand. Aging is fascinating but it can also feel overwhelming, even terrifying for some.

LJJ: “I agree with you. You're sailing along post menopause and ok have a few wrinkles, maybe a brown spot or two, some deeper laugh lines, a ponytail that feels a little thinner. Maybe you need a one size bigger bra or jeans, a one-piece swimsuit instead of a bikini. But you're dealing. And then wham!  Suddenly you're at the derm with basal or squamous cell carcinoma, your eyebrows are doing weird things, everyone but you is getting hair or eyelash extensions and those brown spots have multiplied along with new wrinkles on your neck and around your mouth and you feel like Martians have taken over your body. Age creeps up slowly and then goes full speed ahead.”

From physical and emotional fluctuations due to menopause, changes to skin, hair and metabolism, along with the constant focus on youth in beauty across social media, how do we navigate it all?

LJJ: “I think aging goes three ways in the US. Either you give in and give up (what used to be called aging gracefully). You go crazy reversing everything with a constant cycle of Botox, fillers, lasers, cosmetic surgery and live on your peloton. Or... (and I'm in this last group) you eat healthy, exercise every day, wear sunscreen, and use i-On, laugh a lot and look at your old pictures with a wish-I-knew-then-what-I know-now attitude.”

i-On: Women over 50 should never feel alone, especially in this digital era. There is so much room for brands to support and empower them and help them navigate the product landscape and aging in general.

LJJ: “I think women need:

  1. Reassurance. Yep, you're aging and how fascinating to have a front row seat and a good attitude.
  2. More reassurance. You're doing all the right things - more is less but get the "less" right.
  3. Honesty. Here's what can be improved, and how much improvement you can expect.
  4. Reasons to keep going. We give up on things too early - whether a face cream or a new hair style.
  5. A financial incentive. If you want me to buy a face cream for $100, tell me why I should buy that and not the $35 drugstore cream and another pair of leggings.”

i-On: Thank you so much for taking the time for some real-talk about the skepticism that exists around skin care and how we should be addressing it, both as a brand and as women trying to maintain their healthiest-looking skin.

At i-On, we consistently try to empower our customers with as much education about science and skin after throughout and after menopause. The proprietary DII® Age Disrupting Technology was developed based on THREE decades of research by Dr. Xi Huang and proven science. i-On is the only cosmetic skincare product on the market that addresses excess iron on the surface of the skin and has a solution to naturally exfoliate it, allow efficacious ingredients to help support healing, hydration and health.