CTPA Annual Report 2012 - page 22

In recent years there has been growing social and political
interest in the subject of body confidence and its relation to
self-esteem. There is a multi-faceted debate about the factors
that influence this and how different sections of society,
government and industry might be able to play a positive
role in making people feel good about the way they look,
especially where young people are concerned.
The Campaign for Body Confidence catalysed this
conversation in earnest when it launched in 2010 and
since then the discussion has continued to move on apace.
In 2012, CTPA was invited to participate in an All Party
Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Body Image, encompassing
multiple industries and campaigning groups, which aims
to take a collaborative approach to boosting the nation’s
body confidence.
The central thread to all of this work is a growing recognition
that how we feel about our external appearance can have a
significant impact on how confident we feel on the inside;
a truth that has been at the heart of our industry since the
earliest cosmetics, toiletries and scents were invented.
However, while the outward effects of our products are
reviewed, critiqued and admired – probably every second or
so – far less is said about their very positive holistic benefits.
Our industry – proven to support self-esteem
While the wider body confidence debate is relatively new,
CTPA has been working with experts in the field for nearly
a decade to develop a better understanding of the general
over-arching significance of self-esteem and body
confidence for society, the role our appearances play
within this, and how our industry can contribute to building
individuals’ self-esteem. Over the years, this work has
consistently reinforced the vital and very beneficial role that
cosmetics, toiletries and perfumes can play in this respect
and our most recent research project is no exception.
In April this year we commissioned a survey of 2,000 UK
to ascertain how they rate their self-esteem and
uncover the different factors that affect this. It’s a research
project we have repeated intermittently since 2004 to
understand the nature of our industry’s contribution to
self-esteem and any change in this over time. Feeling confident
about one’s appearance rated as the most important factor
for building up self-esteem, above having a large group
of friends, being financially successful and even having a
supportive family.
Almost three quarters (74%) of female respondents and
almost half (49%) of men described cosmetics and toiletries
as important to them for building their self-esteem.
When asked which products were valued the most for
building up self-esteem, deodorants and oral care
products were rated most important by both sexes,
followed by moisturiser and hair products. A third of female
respondents reported that they’d find it really hard to live
without foundation or concealer, while one in four men
valued aftershave for giving them that little, but important,
lift in confidence.
Skin science supports self-esteem as we age
Interestingly, while young people were most likely to report
that their appearances are an important factor in building
self-esteem, the survey suggests that how we look affects
how we feel, whatever our age. Nearly two-thirds of people
aged over 55 ranked their appearance as an important factor
in building their self-esteem, a higher number than those
who valued having a large number of friends or learning
new skills. What’s more, 60% within this age group cited
cosmetics and toiletries as important in building their
self-confidence – a higher number than those within the
18 – 24 age group.
Our industry’s contribution to self-esteem as we age was a
subject explored at our most recent Media Panel debate in
October. The premise of the event was that many people
can find growing older daunting or unsettling and this can
affect their sense of self-worth. Based on research,
experts recognise that taking care of our appearance can
have a hugely positive effect on our mental health and
self-esteem, and that taking an active interest in personal
appearance can help people experience ageing in a more
positive way. With this in mind, we invited independent
experts to examine the supporting role that skin science
can play as we grow older.
Dr Julian Mason,
Consultant Old
Age Psychiatrist, Berkshire Healthcare
NHS Trust, described how the simple
act of caring for our skin makes a
positive contribution to our sense
of well-being. Other than our brains,
the skin is the only organ that we
regularly inspect to assess its quality, which demonstrates just
how important it is to us. Influenced by his daily work with
the elderly, Dr Mason noted the importance of making good
choices about our skin, because it has a significant bearing on
how we see ourselves, and how others see us. He suggested
that both the results of good skincare and the tactile process
of skincare itself play a relevant and important part in staying
mentally healthy as we grow older.
Online research among 2,069 UK adults aged 18+ was conducted by YouGov between 5-8 April 2012.
Inside and Out:
New Research Affirms Positive Role of Our Industry on Self-Esteem
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