In a recent report titled “Back to School: Unfiltered,” Curology, a leading personalized prescription skincare company, has unveiled some startling insights into the anxieties faced by Gen Z high school and college students. The report, which surveyed 2,000 American teens and young adults, reveals that the pressures of social media and its beauty standards are significantly impacting students’ mental health and self-perception, particularly in relation to their skin.
According to the survey, nearly three-quarters (72%) of students feel compelled to meet the heightened beauty standards set by social media, with a quarter (25%) admitting discomfort at the thought of sharing unfiltered, makeup-free images of themselves online. The study further revealed that students who use filters to alter their appearance were 22% more likely to experience back-to-school anxiety than those who do not, suggesting that these digital enhancements may serve as a “social crutch” for many young people.
Curology CEO Heather Wallace expressed concern over these findings, stating, “With the rise of social media filters, students today are under more pressure to look ‘perfect’ than ever before.” She emphasized Curology’s commitment to helping students feel comfortable and confident in their skin through access to licensed dermatology providers and effective treatments.
The report also highlighted several notable findings:
- Acne is the primary reason students resort to editing their appearance with social filters.
- 75% of respondents believe that beauty standards have been inflated due to the prevalence of filters on social media.
- Students with severe acne were almost twice as likely as those with clear skin to worry about living up to their online image (20% vs 11%).
- Over half (59%) of students with acne expressed nervousness about making new friends and socializing in person when returning to school.
- Nearly four in five respondents (77%) agreed that having clear skin boosts their confidence and empowerment.
- More than one in three respondents (37%) wished they could use a facial filter in real life.
- 77% of students expressed interest in improving their skin as part of their overall wellness.
In response to these concerns, Curology continues to support students’ skincare journeys through its Access Program. This initiative provides a monthly credit of up to $485 to 200 qualifying teenagers or young adults demonstrating financial need. To date, the program has benefited over 6,000 individuals, representing an investment of nearly $3 million from the brand.
This report underscores the urgent need for a shift in societal beauty standards and the importance of promoting realistic, unfiltered self-images among young people. As we move forward, it is crucial to address these issues and foster an environment where students can confidently embrace their natural selves, both online and offline.