Beauty filters are often used on apps such as Instagram and Snapchat to enhance a person’s physical appearance. Whether it be to smooth the skin, enlarge the lips or slim the face, these filters are regularly used by individuals, as well as companies, to help market their products and services.


In January, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) banned two social media posts that used filters to promote tanning products. They released guidelines stating that:

Influencers and companies promoting products that are directly relevant to what is being advertised should avoid applying filters to photos or videos which are likely to exaggerate the effect of the product/service.

Advertising Standards Authority

In other words, any ‘after’ image should be representative of what consumers can genuinely obtain from the product. Ad’s which break these rules will be taken down and prohibited from appearing again.  The ASA investigation was a result of a report from Sasha Louise Pallori, a model who also launched the #Filterdrop campaign to raise awareness of false images in online advertising and influencer content. Dr Luke Evans MP has proposed a law being heard by
Parliament to force social media users and advertisers to label images where filters have been used.

As, the Skin Collaborative we educate and inspire society to take care of their skin, and being happy in your own skin is fundamental to what we do. That’s how the #thefacebehindthefilter was born; from our desire to challenge this perceived concept of perfection and give permission to people to be themselves.


The power that ‘social media influencers’ command is pretty overwhelming. They cajole millions of followers with the ‘latest makeup routine’ or ‘how to achieve flawless skin’.  With magazine circulation dwindling and the pandemic forcing people to be isolated at home, brands and marketeers seized the opportunity to promote instant gratification. 


Products that offered quick fixes!! BUT at what cost?

The little to no regulation on social media platforms has led to unattainable aesthetic images and has created a breeding ground for insecurities, as we compare our own image to the looks and lives of others. They (the media) trade on aspiration; an aspiration for perfection. An aspiration that is frankly unreal and unachievable.

We worry that the perpetual lockdowns have compounded the issue further. There are no filters in the real world, so once we emerge from our cocoons filtering images will no longer be an option. The real us will be back on display. 


How will this impact us psychologically?


Will we be even more self-conscious? Have the flames of our unrealistic expectations been fanned? 


Only time will tell!

Even, more worrying is the impact on the younger generation. We’re aware of children as young as four watching make up tutorials and wanting to introduce facial routines. We as skin professionals are all for caring for skin, but young skin needs gentle care with the right products. 


How do we manage that? It’s concerning!  What we are failing to hear, is that NOT everyone has perfect skin and that is okay!!


This unhealthy representation, is leading to body dysmorphia, reduced self-worth and lack of self-confidence. Those with skin conditions such as acne, rosacea, pigmentation, lines and wrinkles, scarring, sagging ageing skin are feeling isolated; unrepresented, under-valued and sadly not beautiful!

None of us are perfect. Perfection does not exist!

Yet, according to a survey carried out by Toronto University, half of girls and young women will not post a selfie without use of a filter to enhance or change their image. This stat’ is from 2018, so we would hazard a guess
if it’s even higher now. 

It’s not just the younger audience either – filters are relatively new to the older generation.  Indeed, we joke that all we had to worry about back in the day was red-eye. It’s easy to fall foul to the manipulated imagery, believing it to be true. It feeds the wish to control the ageing process and look forever youthful, have lighter skin, or even flawless skin tone.

However, the fact is there is no one miracle cream, but that does not sell the dream does it?

It’s time for change and we are pleased to say the uprising has started. We are starting to see acne sufferers posting filter and makeup free selfies. They are showing the world they are proud of who they are, irrespective of their skin issues. 

That’s powerful and we salute them!

Filters are finally starting to be regulated. Instagram have removed filters that focus on harmful stereotypes or directly promote plastic surgery, although you can still find filters to plump your lips, change the shape of your eyes or thin down your face.

As skin professionals, filters can impact our clients’ expectations. It is quite normal for clients to expect immediate results, so we find managing those expectations is key.

Reminding people what is real and what is not. 


We too have anxiety about our skin, which is why we felt the need to show #thefacebehindthefilter and we encourage you to do so too.

Our campaign aims to remind people that we are all beautiful and to embrace our imperfections, because our flaws are what make us who we are. 

Strive to be the best that you can be and don’t bench mark yourself against others.

The Skin Collaborative

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The Skin Collaborative
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