Ep 199 - Research Reveals the Effects of Toxic Beauty Standards

young girl taking a selfie

Dove’s global Self-Esteem Project has been on a mission to reach millions of youths to shatter beauty stereotypes, build body confidence, and inspire people to feel empowered and included. The key findings from their latest research reveals the effects of toxic beauty standards and the role social media plays. Tune in to this episode of ASCP Esty Talk to hear Maggie and Ella discuss the data and whether the skin care industry can help people achieve better skin without promoting unattainable beauty standards.

ASCP Esty Talk with Maggie Staszcuk and Ella Cressman

Produced by Associated Skin Care Professionals (ASCP) for licensed estheticians, ASCP Esty Talk is a weekly podcast hosted by Maggie Staszcuk and Ella Cressman. We see your passion, innovation, and hard work and are here to support you by providing a platform for networking, advocacy, camaraderie, and education. We aim to inspire you to ask the right questions, find your motivation, and give you the courage to have the professional skin care career you desire.


About Ella Cressman:

Ella Cressman is a licensed esthetician, certified organic formulator, business owner, and absolute ingredient junkie! As an educator, she enjoys empowering other estheticians and industry professionals to understand skin care from an ingredient standpoint rather than a product-specific view.

She has spent many hours researching ingredients, understanding how and where they are sourced, as well as phytochemistry, histological access, and complementary compounds for intentional skin benefits. In addition to running a skin care practice, Cressman founded a comprehensive consulting group, the HHP Collective, and has consulted for several skin care lines, including several successful CBD brands.

Connect with Ella Cressman:

Website: www.ellacress.com

Website: www.hhpcollective.com


About Maggie Staszcuk:

Maggie has been a licensed esthetician since 2006 and holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Stephens College. She has worked in the spa and med-spa industry and served as an esthetics instructor and a director of education for one of the largest schools in Colorado before coming to ASCP as the Advanced Modality Specialist. 

Connect with Maggie Staszcuk:

P 800.789.0411 EXT 1636

MStaszcuk@ascpskincare.com or AMI@ascpskincare.com


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About DMK:

Founded by botanical visionary Danné Montague-King, DMK is the World Leader in Paramedical Skin Revision™. Our revolutionary concept of REMOVE. REBUILD. PROTECT. MAINTAIN.® aims to match an individual’s biochemistry with the appropriate skin therapy. DMK believes that the origin of most skin conditions is a result of disharmony within the skin. Using the principles of biochemistry, DMK has formulated a range of Enzymatic Treatments and Home Prescriptives that encourage the skin to return to its most balanced and healthy state. For skin care professionals whose business depends on generating long-lasting clinically-proven results, DMK’s education-first approach has become essential. Hundreds of salons, spas, and even industry experts have recognized the effectiveness of the DMK concept, witnessed by thousands of people worldwide whose lives have been changed forever.

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About Associated Skin Care Professionals (ASCP):

Associated Skin Care Professionals (ASCP) is the nation’s largest association for skin care professionals and your ONLY all-inclusive source for professional liability insurance, education, community, and career support. For estheticians at every stage of the journey, ASCP is your essential partner. Get in touch with us today if you have any questions or would like to join and become an ASCP member.

Connect with ASCP:

Website: www.ascpskincare.com

Email: getconnected@ascpskincare.com

Phone: 800-789-0411

Facebook: www.facebook.com/ASCPskincare

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0:01:32.1 Maggie Staszcuk: Hello and welcome to ASCP Esty Talk. I'm your co-host, Maggie Staszcuk an ASCP's Education Program manager. 


0:01:37.8 Ella Cressman: And I'm Ella Cressman, a licensed esthetician, certified organic formulator, international educator and content contributor for Associated Skincare Professionals. And we have a shout out. Today I wanna shout out Jen. She is a big fan of our podcast. She's, she called herself a baby esthetician. She's now the owner of Hello Beauty by Jen. She just started her own skincare practice. Isn't that exciting?  


0:02:05.1 MS: Oh, good for you, Jen. 


0:02:05.8 EC: Yeah. Awesome. Fantastic. Keep us posted. We can't wait to hear how you're doing. 


0:02:09.8 MS: So, Ella, have you heard of Dove's Global Self-Esteem Project?  


0:02:16.5 EC: I've seen it. I think it's, I've seen it. I don't know a lot about it, though I'm excited to dive in. 


0:02:20.9 MS: Yeah, it's actually been around for quite some time since 2004. And Dove the brand, they have been on a mission to reach millions of young people to shatter beauty stereotypes, build body confidence, and inspire them to feel empowered and included. So really cool initiative, since its launch, the Dove Self-Esteem Project has reached more than 62 million young people across 142 countries. And in 2022, they announced their new commitment to Empower 250 million young people by 2030 through education programs. 


0:02:57.5 EC: Wait a minute, so since 2004?  


0:03:00.6 MS: Yeah. 


0:03:00.7 EC: Wow. I wonder, this must be the influence that we've seen kind of in more recent campaigns of inclusivity. 


0:03:10.3 MS: It could be, yeah. 


0:03:10.9 EC: I bet they're definitely a pioneer for that. 


0:03:11.9 MS: Yeah, yeah, for sure. So not only are they on a mission to eliminate toxic beauty standards, but they also do research for the campaign for kids online safety. 


0:03:24.6 EC: Ooh. Parallel. Because around 2004, like internet really started picking up. 


0:03:28.5 MS: Yeah, yeah. 


0:03:29.7 EC: Oh, That's awesome. 


0:03:31.1 MS: So they just came out with a new report with some very interesting findings. So 52% of girls say social media causes low self-esteem. 


0:03:42.9 EC: I would say, okay, there's two of us in here. What do you feel?  


0:03:47.5 MS: Totally. 


0:03:48.4 EC: There's 100% in this room then. 


0:03:48.5 MS: Yeah. I mean, the interesting thing for me is that, I mean, growing up as a girl, we didn't have social media. But even now, like flipping through the feed, it's like, oh, dang. That pisses me off. 


0:04:01.0 EC: Yeah. That I'm not that. I don't have that I'm not there. 


0:04:05.3 MS: Yeah, Yeah. Or like on the flip side, you see pictures of like, well, I wish my eyebrows looked like that or, you know, I want my skin to look like that. 


0:04:15.7 EC: That outfit. 


0:04:17.9 MS: Yeah. 


0:04:18.9 EC: That shape. 


0:04:20.3 MS: Yeah. Totally. 


0:04:21.9 EC: I see that. 


0:04:23.3 MS: So nine in 10 girls say they follow at least one social media account that makes them feel less beautiful. 


0:04:29.6 EC: That's so sad. 


0:04:31.5 MS: Yeah. It's very, it is very sad and also very interesting to me. If they, if it's making them feel this way, why are they following it?  


0:04:39.9 EC: Nine out of 10?  


0:04:41.8 MS: Yeah. 


0:04:42.4 EC: Can you think back now granted, we're both before, so the age, let's just say 15. Did you, who did you, who was your beauty standard at that time?  


0:04:51.5 MS: There wasn't a who, but I got all the magazines, like Teen magazine, 17 Magazine, cosmopolitan, which was like old for me. But my mom still let me get it. 




0:05:07.4 EC: I read the articles, I know what to choose. 


0:05:07.9 MS: Read the articles. Yeah. 


0:05:09.7 EC: Lots of tips. 


0:05:11.1 MS: Lots of tips. 


0:05:12.5 EC: Yeah. I would say that mine, I would think going back to Dove from 2004, setting the standard of inclusivity, there was nobody like me. I was 5'10. I grew up in Southern Colorado, mainly Hispanic. Most everybody else was shorter than me. Even the, it was a mix of different ethnicities, but mostly I was the tallest one. So I was picked for volleyball, I was picked for basketball, but I didn't really care and I didn't, I always felt like a sore thumb in growing up. And I think, wherever I grew up, I might've felt that way, but I never identified with the people in the magazines either because I was tall, but I was always curvy. Just part of, my genetics. So I think I've always felt, I think I have always felt sore thumby [laughter] until recently I felt a part of something. So I can relate to this, but I don't know, I think maybe I turned off, maybe not. Maybe I'm just stuffing it. But I think I had turned off to like, comparing myself. I wanna think that's what I did. And I want them to think that too. I want these nine out of 10 to turn that off. Unfollow that person that makes feel less beautiful. 


0:06:25.5 MS: Right? Yeah, totally. 


0:06:27.5 EC: But what do we do?  


0:06:27.5 MS: Totally. Yeah. 56% of girls say they can't live up to the beauty standards projected on social media. 


0:06:35.6 EC: Oh, I agree. Well, it's not there. We have filters. We have the best. They're the shots. There's the best of however many shots that you've taken before you post too. Nobody posts... Well, I did for a little bit. If you go back in my Facebook, you'll see some of my pictures where they're like, but you don't post the real stuff. You post what you want people to see, but you're looking at it with your real self. You're not looking at it after you've taken five different pictures of yourself. [laughter], you know. 


0:07:06.4 MS: Exactly. 


0:07:06.7 EC: You're looking through your, unfiltered eye filtered eyes, or looking at their filtered post. 


0:07:12.2 MS: Yeah. That's it. It it's filtered. Usually it's, or it's, it's been, staged. Yeah. It's not real. 


0:07:21.5 EC: And I see that. 


0:07:22.1 MS: Yeah. 


0:07:23.3 MS: And that's hard pill to swallow. It's hard pill to swallow. Especially when, you know, ops, like if you've seen your friend post and like, oh my gosh, my life is great. My kids are good. And it's like, no, [laughter], I talked to you last week. I know that's not true. Yeah, I know. So, but we're older. We have a little bit, stronger shoulders. 


0:07:43.9 MS: We've lived. 


0:07:44.0 EC: Yeah. Before. Yeah. We played outside. [laughter] Hold that thought. We'll be right back. 


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0:08:38.0 MS: Okay, here we go. Let's give back to the podcast. 80% of young people also believe that people their age are addicted to social media. 


0:08:46.3 EC: Oh my gosh. On my phone, it started telling me once a week how much time I spent on my phone that week, and I didn't set I think a higher power [laughter] did that in an update. And I was like, no. 


0:09:01.2 MS: Was it eye-opening?  


0:09:03.9 EC: Yes. Addicted to checking on board. Let me just check and see, oh, something's going on on this street. Let me check and see on Twitter with the, you know, with the area law enforcement is saying, like, yes, a hundred percent. I was shocked. And then I was like, well, maybe I'll just play a game on my phone instead. [laughter], I'm still on my device. [laughter] Oh gosh. What do I do? What do I do? I am addicted. I've got two minutes. Let me just pacify with this device for a little bit instead of doing other things. 


0:09:35.0 MS: Yeah. You don't even wanna be looking at it, but you can't put it down. 


0:09:38.7 EC: And the stuff I order from it, I'm like, no way. [laughter], in real life, I had have been thinking about it while I'm wheeling up and down the aisles and putting it back. But... 


0:09:46.7 MS: Yeah, I know. 


0:09:48.1 EC: The Boxes I get. I'm like, whew, that was bad. 


0:09:52.5 MS: Terrible, terrible. So the data in this research survey just to share, was conducted by Dove and it includes about 1300 girls, 550 boys, about 1500 parents, a little over 4,000 of the general population. And 150 youth mental health specialists. So really a, broad sampling. 


0:10:16.1 EC: These toxic beauty standards that are online. I think they've also got to be spilling over into other areas. 


0:10:25.4 MS: Totally. 


0:10:25.5 EC: So as you grow up at these formative ages, even in your 20s, you have these toxic beauty standards. And then this, impressed idea of what your life should be, the kind of job you should have, the kind of relationships that you should have. And I think that is long term going to be so pivotal. I'm wondering if we're not coming to a port, it doesn't seem like it's going anywhere. Social media. But I wonder if we're coming to a part, an impasse of it shifting. And if not, how do we change these statistics? You said nine in 10 girls say they follow at least one social media account that makes them feel less beautiful. You said 50% of girls say they can't live up to beauty standards. You said 80% of these young people are addicted to social media. How do we change that?  


0:11:13.7 MS: Yeah, that is a great question. Well, some of this is being challenged and there are initiatives that are empowering people to love the skin they're in. So, I have three examples here. There is National Acne Positivity Day. That is September 1st each year. 


0:11:32.3 EC: Coming up. 


0:11:32.6 MS: Coming up, yeah. Just around the corner and then there is #freethepimple. 


0:11:38.3 EC: I'm a big fan of that [laughter], You know that one. 


0:11:39.4 MS: Pop it. 


0:11:39.9 EC: No, again, I'm behind it. 


0:11:44.1 MS: You're behind it. 


0:11:45.8 EC: I co-sign. 


0:11:46.5 MS: And then there's also #skinpositivity. I love this. Okay, so let's talk about our professional responsibility in this part. You've had the people come in and say, do you see this spot? I like, one of the things on my questionnaire is, on a scale from one to 10, how do you feel about your skin? And I'm always surprised by the answer when I would say an eight or nine. And they're like a four. 


0:12:08.7 MS: And I always ask a question, why a four? Or why a five? Why a six? Why do you feel, well, I just feel this and that and the other, one of the things I do is I say, you're human. You're having a human experience. This is normal. That's, yeah. You know, we're dinging, dinging, dinging. Ding, my magic wand comes back out. We've got this, but this is okay. You're gonna have it, it's gonna happen. It's okay. We'll just keep it moving. So I think there is an alternative approach of everything's gonna be perfect, and you have to have these supplements and don't use this ingredient and don't massage with this thing on there. That seems super, super intense to me. And that's not how I wanna live. And that's not what I wanna impress on my clients. I'm not saying I'm right. 


0:12:49.1 EC: Let me ask you, do you think our industry, the aesthetics industry, is promoting unattainable standards? Are we just like the, the social media industry? Or is it our job? Should we be adopting your philosophy and saying to all of our clients, we're not gonna make your skin perfect and that's normal. And you know what? It's okay. You've got that pimple or that pigmentation spot. We're gonna work around it. 


0:13:18.2 MS: Kissy, kissy marks is what I call the ones around your skin. Ooh, you, Ooh, you got something. You making them positive [laughter] or you laughed a lot. What's wrong with that?  


0:13:26.6 EC: I don't know. I can't answer that as an industry. I can say my opinion is it would be up to each individual practitioner. What's your stance? I would say the other thing, it's the eye of the consumer. So can we shift that eye?  


0:13:41.0 MS: Yes, absolutely. 


0:13:43.1 EC: We have the power to shift it. And it's more than just providing a service. It's lending an ear, lending support. As we get to know our clients for a long-term, if you want a long-term relationship, you have to, you have to embrace the fact that you're more than just slapping lotions on or scraping stuff and poking with needles, whatever, whatever your practice is, it's more than that. 


0:14:02.7 EC: It's about building a relationship and building a relationship is pumping someone up. And one of my clients I can think of in particular, I have two stories, but one of them, she's so pretty, she's in her early 50s. She's a personal trainer and gorgeous and so kind, so thoughtful, so sweet. And she just has the lowest self-esteem. And you'd think it would be the opposite. She's got rock and body. She's got beautiful, her skin tone is so beautiful. Her, and she's super regimented. I think part of that personality, she's a perfect personal trainer, but she's also very regimented with her skincare. She doesn't think she's pretty like, God, are you kidding me? You're so pretty. You're so kind, more than that. You're kind, you're generous, you're helpful, you're thoughtful. And so that's something. And the other part of that too is that stress, that added stress of even this attaining, the stress, but also the affirmation of, I'm not pretty, then you won't be. 


0:15:03.4 EC: But if you're like, I'm pretty, I've got good, I've got pretty eyes, I've got long lashes. Anything that you pick out, the more positivity that you can say about yourself, you're gonna start looking more positive, prettier, and things like that. So as a practitioner, I wanna start that cascade or continue or gas up that cascade personally. And part of life is going through things. Another client came in yesterday, her mom, they just put her in hospice. And I mean, that's sad, but just talking through that with her and her experience. And she needed to just talk more than she needed. We did microneedling more than she needed microneedling. She needed to talk. And she left smiling. She skipped out. She's pretty much skipping out. It's like, see you next month. Bye. When she came in. Super sad. So those are the, those are the people we are. So not to get on a soapbox about skin positivity, but it's just more than skin deep. 


0:15:57.0 MS: Now, listeners, we wanna hear from you with the current aesthetic trends. Do you think we are headed down the wrong path in perpetuating a toxic beauty standard? Share with us on social media through Instagram, Facebook, or by email and get connected at ascpskincare.com. Thank you for listening to ASCP Esty Talk. And as always, for more information on this episode or for ways to connect with Ella and myself, or to learn more about ASCP, check out the show notes.

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