Hey! I hope you are all doing well. It has been a while since I lasted posted, and I miss blogging!
I hope you guys are staying healthy and well during these very unstable times. I plan on doing some additional posting in regards to the current climate of the world right now, and I do plan on contributing to this larger conversation, but to be completely honest I do not feel entirely ready yet. For now, I am still learning, listening, and being as compassionate as I can. I want to bring you guys this post, as I realized the other day that it has been a while since I have talked about skincare and skin health. This is too bad, because I love discussing this topic; it is quite interesting to me. As many of you know, I used to deal with bad breakouts due to a systemic gut inbalance. I have learned a lot of crucial information about how to keep my skin clear and healthy, and suprisingly, the routine I use clashes heavily with traditional skincare advice. In hopes to inspire some of you to look critically at the advice we are told, I am bringing to you the common skincare advice I hear, and why I break the “rules.”
1. “Wash your face twice a day, every day.”
The reason why I only wash my face once a day, is because unless I get sweaty or dirty somehow in my sleep, which is unlikely, I have no reason to rinse my face as soon as I wake up. Instead, I splash some cold water on my face and that is it. If you are putting on expensive cream and serums before sleeping, then you are essentially wiping that away first thing in the morning instead of giving it more time on the skin. My skin type is dry, so avoiding washin and irritating my face is essential for me to have skin that remains plump and well-hydrated.
2. “This three, four (five…six…) step regimen will fix your skin!”
The amount of ads I see for expensive, multi-step skincare regimens blows my mind. Popular skincare lines sell these sets for upwards of $70, and most of them include a wash, a cream, exfoliant, toner, serum and sometimes more. I don’t know about you guys but I like to keep my routine as simple as possible. As outlined here, my routine is basically washing my face with my black clay soap, and putting some oil/moisturizer on. I also love this handmade eye cream from Etsy. Supporting small businesses is a win. Complicated skincare routines can do more harm than good, particularly when the various products contain chemicals such as fragrance, dyes, parabens, and BHA. You can read more about the “Dirty Dozen” lurking in common skincare products here. I’ll also point out that popular brands like Proactiv market their product as a miracle worker. The main ingredient however, Benzoyl Peroxide, is incredibly irritating to the skin and can cause adverse reactions-rashes, swelling, pain etc (read more on this here). Moral of the story (at least for me) is simple wins. Also, if you are switching up your skincare routine often, this will wreck more havoc on the skin.
3. “A brush scrubber will get more dirt/bacteria out of your pores when cleansing.”
Many people rely on skin cleansing brushes to clean the face. Unfortunately for me, when I tried this out it had bad results. My skin was ery irritated and red after I used it. For people with dry skin, overuse of face cleansing brushes leads to broken capillaries on the face, redness and sensitivty. Using my fingers is a much more gentle and effective method in my eyes. Of course, if your skin type is oily you may have better luck with face brushes.
4.”Adding excess oils to your skincare routine clogs the pores.”
This one drives me crazy! Oil has saved my skin. No doubt about it. My favorite oils are Jojoba oil, Rosehip oil or Avocado oil. I am loving True Botanicals Pure Radiance Oil right now, which is suitable for dry skin types. Typically I apply the oil right after washing my face so it sinks right in. It feels so amazing. Even better, after you apply the oil, give yourself a litle facial massage or do some jade-rolling. Pure bliss! Do not be afraid of oil. Some people think adding oil to the face will cause breakouts by making the skin greasy, but this is not true. You just have to pick an oil that is best for you! Pure and unrefined oils contain anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties that work beautifully on the skin.
5. “Use a ton of spf every day-even if it is not sunny outside!”
I know what you’re thinking- it is dangerous to not wear suncreen! I hear you and I agree, protecting yourself from UV rays is definitely important. However, when I see people smearing on BananaBoat on a cloudy day, I can’t help but cringe. Sunscreen contains a lot of crap, and most are not aware of it. People think they are doing themselves a favor slathering it on all the time, but this can have the opposite effect. Most common sunscreens contain Benzophenone-3 which is a harmful chemical. Another one is Cyclomethicone which is a silicone based ingrediants that is toxic and tends to bio-accumlate over time, leading to issues with reproductive/endocrine health. Lastly, a common one is Formaldehyde. This ingredient is not on the label but the preservatives that hve been used as paraben replacements release it. This is a known carcinogen and ecotxin. I read up on all of this here. “Should I just not wear suncreen?” No- you should. But pick better options that don’t contain terrible ingredients. My favorite by far is the Surf Mud by EirNYC. It has Zinc Oxide and Vitamin E, which your skin will love, while being protected from the sun. I also want to point out that Vitamin D exposure (which sunblock prevents) is vital to your mood and hormone function. I write up on this in this post.
6. “Your skin breaking out is not related to diet.”
Ah! This is just simply untrue, but many dermatologists will still try to convince you that diet has nothing to do with acne or other skin conditions. When my skin was breaking out all of the time in 2016/2017, I saw a Naturopath for my condition. At the time I was vegan and consuming tons of plant oils, fiber, and processed food. She did a blood test and we found out that my body was intolerant to about fifty percent of the food I was consuming. No wonder my skin was angry with me! I stopped being vegan and switched to a primal/paleo diet. Fresh vegetables, wild caught meat, seafood, eggs, moderate amounts of fruit, healthy fat, etc. My skin slowly but surely LOVED my new diet, and thanked me for it with the bumps around my mouth/nose flattening, and a newfound glow to my complexion.
Please note- I recognize everyone is different and not all of the above advice may apply to you. That is completely fine!
The point of this post is not to tell you that your skincare routine is wrong or bad. If it works for you, more power to you. However I have gotten some questions in the past about what truly worked for me when clearing up my skin, and if I am being completely honest, my advice is simple. My skincare routine became more basic-less products, less washing, less fuss. My lifestyle became better-more functional movement, more sleep, meditation and gratitude. My diet became healthier-less processed food, stressing constantly over my next meal, and tracking my calories. When I started to focus on my health internally and get really serious about my happiness, my skin cleared up along the way. I really do believe that being happy, finding meaning in your life, and carving out dedicated space for self-care helped my skin. It was not an expensive routine, a “must have” skincare product, a new cleanser, or any well known dermatologist. It was just me, finding what works through trial and error. I hope this post inspires you to look critically at not just your skincare routine, but all facets of life. Just because someone tells you “this will work” doesn’t mean it will. You have to usually put in the real work to see success, but it is worth it in the end.