Skincare can be expensive, sometime stupidly so. We cleanse, exfoliate and tone. We layer on serums, hydrolats and moisturisers. Every now and again we throw on a mask.
However we often spend our time doing the wrong things, or spend our money buying the wrong products - setting our skincare programme back as fast as we can layer on product. I call this two step backwards skincare and here’s some examples.
Exfoliating is fun. It leaves your skin feeling soft and smooth and fresher. We have rosy cheeks and non-flakey elbows. However, the skin only replaces itself every 28 days. If you remove more than just the dead - was going to fall off anyway skin, you can damage your skin barrier functions. This can open it up to all sorts of nasty bacteria that cause acne and you’ll definitely be reducing the skin’s ability to hold in moisture resulting in trans-epidermal water loss (TEWL).
Ideally you should be using a gentle acid exfoliator on your face once a day and buffing the result of your body’s flaky bits every week using a mechanical scrub. This exfoliation routine has the benefit of making your skin look glowy while removing dead skin cells to allow active ingredients in moisturisers and lotions deeper into the skin - without damaging it.
Using harsh shower products
You spend a lot of time applying creams to your face and lotions to your body. You tone and scrub them to give even skin tone - and then every morning you jump in a shower and slather a load of bubbles all over your skin setting your skincare regime back a day.
Some (cheaper) shower gels are known to irritate the skin, strip the bacterial biome, suck out moisture and disrupt the acid mantle and denature skin proteins. If your skin feels tight after a shower and your fingertips feel a bit rough, something’s not right.
We get it. The smell of shower gels can be delicious. The foam can be addictive. But there are alternatives. Switch from using shower gels using SLS. Try using shower creams (like UXB ahem). CeraVe does a nice cream cleanser and Mother Dirt has a bacteria friendly alternative. Even a nice bar of soap, while not the idea pH for the skin is better than some of the cheap and cheerful shower gels.
Using harsh shampoos
Do you ever notice that some shampoos make your scalp itch or the skin around your face feel tight and dehydrated? This is because while you’re getting your hair squeaky clean the shampoo foam is running off the hair and onto your skin.
If you can’t find a shampoo that’s more compatible with your skin try only massaging the product into the middle and tips of the hair, avoiding the roots near the scalp. Also, try bending over while you shampoo and rinse to avoid runoff.
Using products in the wrong order
Using products in the wrong order usually won’t hurt your skin but it will waste your money. Here’s a couple of example of incorrect sequence of application.
You apply your moisturiser then your serum. In this case your serum won’t be able to sink into your skin working the magic is does as the moisturiser has creative an occlusive barrier designed to lock in moisture and keep everything else out.
You tone and then cleanse. This is a waste of time because toners are a deep cleansing product, maybe containing some actives and a chemical exfoliant. If your skin is still dirty because you didn’t cleanse it first, your expensive toner is going to be spent sticking to this surface grime rather than the stuff deeper in your pores it is supposed to go after.