Project Real Skin
In our society, we are very focused on appearance. Digital visual culture is changing our perception of what is 'normal'. Project Real Skin is an initiative to show 'authenticity' and thereby boost self-image. Because everyone is unique and this should be visible.
Media culture and certainly social media such as Instagram play a major role in determining the beauty ideal and trends. Because digital images can be easily manipulated, an unrealistic ideal of beauty is created. Apps like Facetune and Snapchat use filters to customize the look. Getting rid of wrinkles and blemishes from the skin is an important part of this. This manipulates our image of 'normal skin'. We are wrongly given the idea that it is normal to have smooth skin.
It's in our human biology to 'want to belong'. We like a normal appearance, we certainly don't have to be perfect. But when our image of "normal" gets distorted, it leads to growing dissatisfaction with one's own appearance in a lot of people. The use of digital filters has even been linked to the growing demand for cosmetic procedures among young people. In 2008, 3.1 percent of 18 to 25-year-olds were treated with Botox and fillers. In ten years, this percentage has increased to 8 percent.
Recently it became known that even Google and Snapchat are concerned about the effect of filters on the self-image of the users. Where Google applied a standard filter in its previous Pixel phones, the company wants to be much more transparent with the newer models about which filters can be turned on and what the exact effect is on the appearance of the user.
As a cosmetic doctor and artist, my mission is to make people happier. Sometimes that can be done with a cosmetic treatment, but it can also be done by giving people a better picture of what is normal and thus taking away a lot of concern about the appearance. That's why I started Project Real Skin. Together with dozens of volunteers, I created an online library of photos of real skin in all its glory and with all its wrinkles and imperfections.
To be honest, I love seeing the diversity in color and texture. So much more interesting and beautiful than the monotony of the digital filtered world..
Many thanks to all the people who have already contributed so far!