Article by: Perry Romanowski

Here’s an interesting website that purports to give advice for taking care of your skin.  I don’t think it is put together by a cosmetic chemist but the advice seems reasonable.  Certainly more reasonable than most of the beauty blogs out there. reddit-skin

Reddit Skin Care Advice

One of the things that the website could use is an expert to help verify (or dispute) some of the information that is being communicated.  Overall, I’m pretty impressed with the info given.  They are a bit hard on St. Ives facial scrub but in general they are giving good advice.


I have very little to criticize except their recommendation of specific brands / products.  While I’m sure the products they recommend are fine there are plenty of other fine products out there.  The ones they recommend are from small companies and there is nary a mention of large brands which work just as well or better and are probably less expensive.  It is not sexy to recommend mass market products like Dove or Olay but the reality is that they actually work.

Cosmetic chemists and the site

The general skin care advice site is this one.

There are a number of ways you can participate in the site to use it for formulating and to provide your expertise.

For example, if you are a skin care formulator, this is an excellent place to do some consumer research and learn what consumers are being told to do.  You can then use this information to modify your own formulations or to invent new products.

You could also answer questions without bashing ingredients or any skin care brand.

And if you are a cosmetic chemist consultant you could use the site to establish yourself as an expert.

Try it out and let us know what you think.



  1. peaceandlove

    Reddit is great and it should be taken with a grain of salt. Often, a few users gain influence and can dominate subreddits. They can get obsessed with weird things and apply a pack mentality that delivers a large volume of adoration or disapproval to all kinds of things that probably don’t deserve it.
    We’re talking about cosmetics, but Sunil Tripathi is a case in point. Redditors mistakenly identified the missing college student as Suspect No. 2 in the Boston Marathon bombings, relaying misinformation that got picked up in the national press and devastated his family who were really just worried about a their missing son.

    1. Perry Romanowski

      Great points. There can definitely be a pack mentality on Reddit. But I still like the site overall.

      1. peaceandlove

        Yesterday I posted a comment on Skincare Addiction thread and it received 29 down votes. My crime? No one commented, but I suspect the problem was that I mentioned a brand that’s not anointed by the Skincare Addiction crew.

        I suspect that a large number of this subreddit’s active users (and moderators) get paid by Paula’s Choice and other preferred brands. But the anonymity of Reddit makes it impossible to tell.

    2. peaceandlove

      Since I posted this comment, I was banned from posting on Skincare Addiction. When I asked one of the moderators why, the conversation that took place led me to the same conclusion as one of the other commenters here: they’re a bunch of whack jobs.
      At least in the case of one moderator, she’s found a corner of the internet where she have a modicum of power and she wields its as if she has no power anywhere else in life.
      It’s too bad, Reddit really should be a place where people can have smart conversations about skincare.

      1. ieatbugs

        None of our moderators are compensated in any way. We do tend to recommend certain brands because they are readily available and generally well tolerated. Often times people don’t have access though, and we have plenty of alternatives. You’ll notice we don’t link to any stores and we don’t allow any kind of referral linking. If you ask each mod their preferences, you’re likely to get a different list of brands from each one.

        However, that’s not what your comment is really about. The reason you were banned from our subreddit (and then subsequently had your account removed from the site) was because you were using it as an advertising platform for your webstore, which is against the rules.

        1. sjones

          Ironic in light ieatbug’s comment above that s/he and two other moderators of Reddit’s Skincare Addiction site have been removed from their moderators’ posts and banned from the Reddit online community precisely for using the very popular Reddit community to herd traffic to their own money-making website. It also came to light during Reddit’s investigation of this unscrupulous activity that the moderators of the forum may have been in cahoots with Paula’s Choice, allegedly for financial recompense, to promote Paula’s Choice products.

          More information here:

          1. Perry Romanowski

            Fascinating! Thanks for the update. I had no idea.

  2. Sammi

    Skincare addiction is sadly brought to you by Cerave and Paula’s Choice. Cerave isn’t a household name and who believes all 10 (Moderators) just happened upon “Paula’s Choice” and fell in love with all their products?
    Not this chick.

  3. Katy

    Do not even try to argue with the whack jobs at SkincareAddiction. Truth and science means NOTHING to them. I pity the acne sufferers that come to them for help. I’ve actually seen many, many post where people tell them, “But, my dermatologist told me Stridex and Mineral Oil is not what I need!” They will turn it around on the dermatologist having “an agenda,” trying to sell their own products. My dermatologist has never tried to sell me anything, and I trust him completely. I do like to peek at SkincareAddiction for the laughs, though!!!

    1. Perry Romanowski


    2. ieatbugs

      We never advise our readers to go against medical advice. If they aren’t comfortable or have questions, we might suggest a second opinion.

  4. Kristy

    Hi, I’m the creator of SkincareAddiction and I just wanted to thank you for this article.

    I would like to respond to your comments about our preferred brands:
    While it may be true that many consumers can tolerate ingredients that are potential irritations, I think a lot of people who are coming to us for advice are people who are experiencing problems with commonly used products. I don’t think our readers represent a ‘random sampling’ of the population, and I think a lot of them are already experiencing skin problems, so that is part of why we recommend brands like Cerave.

    Cerave is a great option because there is a large body of research about it being safe and effective to treat people with conditions arising from a compromised epidermal barrier: many of whom are suffering from sensitivity and atopic symptoms. Since these products are well tolerated in a population with a sensitive skin, and there is great evidence for its efficacy, we find that they are also well tolerated among people without these specific concerns. Since they are also quite inexpensive, it’s a good skincare ‘baseline’ to start with for many readers.

    It’s true that they aren’t internationally available. I have to say though, when we started this subreddit, we had NO idea that we would ever get this kind of readership due to the niche nature of our subject matter. It’s something we are trying to work on, and will probably try and get some international moderatorship soon to try and accomodate! 🙂

    1. Perry Romanowski

      You make a great point about readers not being a random sample. When we test cosmetics it’s frequently done on a random sample of people.

  5. Emily

    I also LOVE skincare addiction. At 31yrs old I have always struggled with my skin, using every kind of product under the sun from ultra natural oils and creams, to big name cheaper brands, to prescription only. After following the advice on SkincareAddiction, my skin is in heaven, it has never looked or felt better and I FINALLY feel like I have found something that works.

  6. Rebecca Green

    The author seems to think SkincareAddiction is a site. It’s a subreddit, and part of the Reddit website.

    I’m confused why the author thinks Cerave or Stridex which are both readily available in the US are not considered to be mass market products. As for Dove and Olay, they might “work”, but these contain irritants like sulphates, perfumes and photosentisers. At SkincareAddiction, we’re dealing with people whose skins have senstivities to these things. They’ve tried these “mass market” products and they’re at a loss because they’re screwing up their skin. Why would we recommend products that contain known irritants? We recommend based on efficacy, low irritation and availability.

    Your readers and cosmetic formulator readers would do well to learn that these additives are causing HUGE problems. Skin is highly emotive, perhaps moreso when you’re a teen and there’s no way to hide the disgusting red blotches. Then it’s made worse because you bought some special acne cleanser that strips out your skin, irritates it and makes it worse.

    The realities of this subreddit are there are LOTS of people largely in their teens who are struggling with their skincare, resorting to mass market products, like overpriced BP sold via infomercials, and getting horrible results. They’re exasperated. I recommend your readers lurk and see what the effects of these Dove and Olay products are doing and make some changes to the way you approach this.

    1. Perry Romanowski

      Thanks for your comments. As a fan of Reddit I realize that SkincareAddiction is a subreddit. The bulk of our audience are not Redditors so it was just easier to call it a website.

      I was reacting to the first list of recommended products. While you can get Cerave in drugstores, it is not a big brand. And Paula’s Choice isn’t either. But it doesn’t matter much they are fine enough products.

      I will respectfully disagree with your estimation of the problem of sensitive skin and that sulfates, perfumes and other ingredients in mainstream brand products play. Cosmetic formulators do extensive testing of the products we create and for the vast majority of people, the mainstream products are perfectly fine & even desired by consumers. In fact, the only reason fragrance is added is because people would rather buy scented products than not. If formulators could remove fragrances we would because they add additional cost without significantly impacting performance.

      If you did a blinded study of the products that contain the ingredients you object to and compare them to the products you recommend you would be hard pressed to find a difference. On some level you are falling for the marketing message of these brands.

      But like I said, you’re doing a good job. And formulators would be well served to see what consumers are saying because ultimately these are the people for whom we are trying to formulate products. Keep it up.

      1. Rebecca Green

        “The marketing message of the brands” – no, you’re underestimating us. Eliminating products that have parfum or scent listed as an ingredient has seen my skin finally behave beautifully, but the stuff is in everything. For others on the board, they know it’s SLS (some track down sulfate free toothpaste because of it). Same with essential oils. There’s a bunch on the board who are making their own products because of additives like these, and it’s just boggling that things like alcohol are included in products for dry skin. Not as a solvent, but as the second or third ingredient. What is up with that?

        I’m sure you’re across choosing not to use these things, not because it’s “good” or “bad”, because it actually affects people’s skin. It’s such a shame marketing and bottom lines are deciding what works for people, instead of science. Time after time these “perfectly fine” products we’re asked to comment on are just full of irritants, and changing to something without them gives a better result.

        When things without these additives work well, why include them? Cheaper, smellier? Why not use an alternative? Or reformulate so more people can use it?

        1. Perry Romanowski

          Perhaps I’m underestimating you. But you do realize that anecdotal evidence is not evidence of effectiveness. Indeed you may have made changes and your skin improved. However, this does not automatically indicate cause and effect. Remember there are three things that can happen whenever you try a new product.

          1. No change.
          2. It gets better.
          3. It gets worse.

          The same three things can happen if you don’t use any product or continue doing the same thing you were doing. The results you get may or may not be a result of the product you’re using. It’s difficult to understand but it is reality. It is very easy to fool ourselves.

          If you want to know what is real you have to do blinded studies. You have to not have a vested interest in the results. You seem convinced that SLS is bad. What evidence could convince you that it isn’t? And there is plenty of scientific evidence to debunk the idea that Alcohol dries out skin. It doesn’t. (for example

          The reason fragrance is added is because people buy products that have fragrance in them more than they buy products without fragrance. Cosmetic companies are in the business of selling products and giving people what they want. If more people bought products without fragrance, there would be more cosmetics without fragrance. That’s just not what consumers want. Make sense?

          1. Mike

            This kind of discourse would add greatly to not only SkinCareAddiction, but Reddit in general. Might you stop by and start an AMA on SkinCareAddiction? You seem to have a wealth of knowledge.

          2. Perry Romanowski

            I will try to make that happen.

    2. Amber

      Hey, Rebecca, I’m unsure if you’re a disgruntled mod or user, but maybe this is a way for me to get through to you without having to actually go through reddit.

      The sub is great for US redditors. However, I see you’ve struck a brilliantly huge gap in your argument by suggesting that CeraVe and Stridex are readily available (I know you said in the US – but is Reddit specifically US?). Think about the international people who lurk/post in the thread.

      As an Australian I had to shop around a little to even see which sites would consider shipping to me. Then when I did finally find one, the prices were ridiculous. You wouldn’t know that, since you don’t have to deal with it in the US, but there are much better formulas in other countries with good prices. These aren’t covered so any time I’ve made a thread I’ve received advice like ‘Oh just go to such and such site and grab it’. These sites jack up the price of the product and the amount it takes to even ship it to me, when I could simply walk down to my local chemist and grab some Palmer’s formula for a third of the price.

      So while I understand that your efforts in catering for US teens is great, it’s not fully developed as a whole and the author of this has hit the nail right on the head with the criticism.

      1. Kristy

        Hey, I’m not sure who the person that posted these comments is, but it isn’t a moderator 🙂 We are trying to work on becoming more internationally friendly. It was lack of foresight on our part – we didn’t really expect that such a large amount of people would have an interest in the ‘strictly science’ aspect of skincare – but we were wrong!

        We aren’t targeting teens in particular, or really any special group: it’s just that the majority of our knowledge is US centric, because most of our moderator team is as well.

        1. Amber

          I’m very glad to hear you’re working to become more internationally friendly 🙂 it will definitely boost how great the sub is already.

  7. PMmum

    I joined this sub about 5 months ago and I now have the best skin of my life (at 45!) just following the basic skincare tips for beginners they offer.

    I did go a little further and tried a couple of the peels and wow! I am asked if I have been visiting the spa!

    This is a great little hidden gem and resource for those looking to improve their skin.

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