As an esthetician and being in the beauty industry for decades, you'd think I would have perfect skin all the time. But the funny thing was, my skin slowly became worse the moment I graduated Esthetician School last 2010.
To my horror, my skin aged rapidly, got psoriasis, rosacea, and even hormonal cystic acne! My confidence was shattered. With that, I've tried countless of products and treatments recommended to me, including trying Botox at 20! Crazy, right? Most were aggressive, synthetic, and unfortunately toxic for my health. But it didn't help at all and further damaged my skin.
That said, false endorsements and bad advices/trends are scattered everywhere, and sadly the source sometimes comes from a licensed professional. So we have to also gear ourself with knowledge, and it's starts by knowing about your skin barrier.
What's the Skin Barrier?
Our skin's protective lipid barrier, also called stratum corneum, is composed of ceramides, lipids, and fatty acids. It has two important jobs: to lock the good (nutrients/moisture) things in, and kick the bad stuff (allergens/pathogens) out.
If it's damaged, the skin becomes dehydrated, irritated, and loses it's flexibility—resulting to vulnerable skin and even your health at risk!
Common signs of a damaged skin barrier can be a mixture of the following,
These are signals sent by your body to let you know that it needed help and that you have to break some bad habits such as these 6 O'S:
But don't fear, you can reverse the damage. Aside from avoiding the 6 O's above, I want you to remember SAM.
S - Skip Morning Wash
A - Address Root Cause
M - Minimalist Routine
Skip Morning Wash
I know, it sounds crazy and I even felt the same way the first time I have heard of it. 4 years ago, my friend shared this tip with me when I had so much acne, and I looked at her with disbelief and disgust. Like, girl do you want them to multiply?
But I still decided to try for at least 30 days, what more can I lose? And surprisingly within a week, I saw my skin became clearer! It blows my mind how this was never discussed by any dermatologist I consulted with nor when I was taking my beauty classes.
Our skin's natural pH is mildly acidic, lying anywhere between 4.7 and 5.75. This means that over washing can really impair our skin's natural barrier function and upset its pH balance, leading to irritation, sensitivity, and dryness. The surfactants remove the protective acid mantle, which leaves your skin vulnerable to bacteria. It also triggers more oil production as a defense mechanism—stripping off all the natural oils needed by our skin.
So instead of disrupting your skin's system early in the morning with a cleanser or unfiltered water, go straight to applying your usual morning products.
Address Root Cause
Consuming alcohol, fatty foods, dairy, processed meat, sugars, gluten, etc. are know to cause inflammation in our body—reflecting badly in our skin. The maintenance of good skin and even the aging process is significantly influenced by your body's nutritional condition. So having balanced diet and drinking lots of water are likely to support healthy, youthful skin.
What helped me the most was when I listened to my body. Having a Skin Journal where I document how my body reacts to certain ingredients, diet, etc. made me understand the root cause, knowing what to avoid and continue with. Most notable ways that personally helped me address my skin issues was doing the GAPS diet, taking supplements/probiotics for strengthening my system, and got rid of the toxic/harsh skincare products that I have been applying to my skin.
Seriously, stop using so many skincare products! Trust me, you don't need that many. Instead, you should focus on the quality and ingredients of what you use. Research and focus on what your skin needs. For daily use, you only actually need 3 products: To Cleanse, Protect, and Moisturize/Hydrate.
If you don't know what products to use depending on your concern, you can take my quiz HERE.
Adding multipurpose products, such as my Vitamin C + Squalane Repair Cream (it moisturizes, repairs, and brightens the skin!), was a gamechanger and can really help you simplify your routine. It targets and gives multiple benefits at once, without overloading your skin.