I want to talk about how we treat our skin.
It’s easy to throw all the anti-acne creams, scrubs and peels in the world at your face and expect it to start looking better than ever. But skin is far more delicate than we sometimes remember. We underestimate the importance that skin integrity plays in its health and appearance. You can do huge damage by mistreating your skin in being rough, overzealous with active products, or forgetting to protect it from the elements.
I’m as guilty as the next person of forgetting that my skin is fragile and it might not bounce back from that kind of treatment. Recently, I’ve experienced a freak breakout after being way too harsh. My entire lower face was COVERED in angry whiteheads and pustules. As much as I wanted to nuke it with benzoyl peroxide, I’ve been treating it gently with hydration and soothing products, and in only a few days the difference is remarkable. Calm skin is happy skin!
You can damage, irritate and anger your skin in a couple of ways. Overwashing can counterintuitively make oil production worse, as well as dry out your skin. Unprotected sun exposure not only causes dryness and redness but much more serious long term consequences.
In my case, I over-exfoliated. I used a physical washcloth to scrub at my face in an attempt to remove minor flaky skin. Maybe worst of all, using harsh actives too often will also cause irritation, redness and peeling.
The latest developments in skin care technology have allowed stronger products to come to market and made it easier than ever to accidentally go overboard. Think high-strength acids and retinoids, all marketed in fancy packaging with big results promised. We forget that these ingredients are powerful and have the potential to damage the skin if used carelessly.
Damaging your skin by treating it harshly in any of these ways will cause inflammation. Inflammation is the root cause of redness, sensitivity, dehydration, acne, and even ageing. It delays healing and prevents healthy skin function.
The key to avoiding creating or exacerbating skin issues is to stop the damage and start to treat your skin with care. Think of your skin like a precious object, treat it gently! Use a light touch, that means no harsh physical scrubbing on a regular basis. Don’t use products that aren’t compatible with healthy skin pH. Ease into using high-strength actives. You’ll start to see glowier, smoother, calmer and clearer skin, and skip over the irritation and redness.
So, use this as an excuse to take a break, step back and give your skin a rest. If you treat your skin with respect it will respect you back!