Skin Barrier 101
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AYEEEE! So we covered all the major types of acne in our previous post. Now, you may be thinking,
“OKAY, GIMME THE SOLUTION NOW!”
Don’t worry, we got your back.
We’re gonna talk about how we can care for acne prone skin, and how the battle is 85% in your mind! (IKR? Mind over matter applies on your skin too)
Acne prone skin is like that kid who is a super picky eater. There are many things it will not like, and will throw a tantrum if you feed it something it doesn’t. Sometimes if you feed them at the wrong time, they will still give you trouble. So how do we keep this kid happy while making sure it gets the nutrients it needs?
Solution 1. DITCH YOUR ACNE TREATMENT
We know what you’re thinking. And we can already hear all the dermatologists yelling at us. But let’s confront ourselves, if you’ve been using benzoyl peroxide for 5 years and you STILL get acne, there is something that’s fundamentally wrong. Ever experienced going down the antibiotics route and when you finally thought you cleared acne, as soon as you got off the meds, it all came back? All of these conventional acne treatments are only masking the problem while damaging the skin in a long term by weakening your skin barrier.
So, what do we do?
Solution 2. DON’T BE AFRAID TO MOISTURIZE
“WHAT? Are you trying to get my pores, even more clogged, girl!?” We know. But have you heard of the term ‘oily but dehydrated skin’? Yes, apparently and unfortunately that’s a thing now which basically means that your moisture barrier (skin barrier) ain’t functioning. Many of you will shy away from properly hydrating and moisturizing your skin thinking it will make the skin “even more oily”. And you’re probably addicted to that ‘squeaky clean’ feeling post-cleansing and you’re addicted to overstripping the skin. But then your skin underneath may feel like a desert, huh? Go read this post to keep everything intact.
“What happens if I rebuild my moisture barrier? And how does that affect your acne?”
The moisture barrier is basically a bodyguard for your skin. And you need this more than anyone because your skin is already inflamed and this bodyguard will protect your skin from external pollutants, irritants, and foreign stuff that could potentially trigger more inflammation. Did I also tell you this bodyguard also helps your skin hydrated for longer, too? :)
“But I’m still scared to apply a moisturizer…”
Choosing the right one is important for sure but having acne prone skin doesn’t mean that you have to only use oil-free moisturizers. Some oils can actually be beneficial for you balancing out your oil production. And a lot of studies show that people with acne prone skin are deficient in linoleic acid (one of the fatty acids) but we’ll talk about this in another time. In the meantime, you can refer to Liah’s video on how to choose the right oil for you.
Gel moisturizers could be a great option. Look for the one that’s packed with humectants (glycerin, urea, hyaluronic acid) and antioxidants. And, please don’t go down to the rabbit hole of ‘comedogenic rating’ as our friend who also happens to be a chemistry genius, LabMuffinBeautyScience uncovered, “non-comedogenic” is not a regulated term and there are many flaws in the rating system. Look for a short ingredient list with beneficial components that you know your skin likes. As always with acne prone skin, **LESS IS MORE**
Solution 3. KEEP IT SIMPLE AS 1, 2, 3. CLEANSE - MOISTURIZE - PROTECT (SPF)
Start simple. Go on a #SkincareDietChallenge and give your vitamin C serum to your mom. This strategy is to give your skin a break and lower the chance of irritating or sensitizing your skin from skincare products because your skin is fragile now.
Pay attention to your skin and adjust your skincare game around it.
Close to the time of your period, the hormones in your body can cause higher water retention, creating pressure against the skin and pores. During this time, the oil your skin produces is thicker than usual, which can lead to…….CLOGGED PORES. So just keep your skincare as simple as possible.
In the dryer/colder months, it is important that you supplement more of what it needs so that you can help maintain a healthy moisture barrier. Many do this by mixing in a few drops of acne skin-friendly oil into their gel moisturizers, or going for an emollient moisturizer that works for them. We’re also working on a kick-ass formula to solve this need! (wink)
SOLUTION 4. BE GENTLE
Let’s not piss off this picky eater. Trust us, there hasn’t been a single case of acne in the world that was solved by washing the skin more and more. Many also use harsh topicals to treat acne simply because they wish to hit them hard and be done with acne forever. It simply doesn’t work that way. Temporary and hard-hitting solutions may seem to work at first, but to keep acne away for good, you have to respect your skin and help it heal. Otherwise, it creates a vicious cycle of overdoing actives and damaging your skin barrier, which can cause more acne, leading you to use more actives. (link skin barrier post)
SOLUTION 5. MIND OVER MATTER
Battling acne is 85% in the mind and there is NO magic fix out there. Nurture the mental strength to accept that removing acne takes time, and that you are playing the long game. More stress raise the cortisol levels in your body which creates more inflammation and triggers more oil production anyways. So might as well, come to a peace with it.
We know how tempting it is to grab your benzoyl peroxide or other this-stuff-cured-my-acne-overnight products. Adding an active ingredient will just overwhelm the workload of your skin, leading to more inflammation at this point. Because if it was that easy, everyone would be acne-free.
Remember that we are all in this together. Look to each other for support, and remember that your skin doesn’t determine your self-worth and there isn’t such a thing as ‘flawless skin’.
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- by Cece & Liah
All the skincare basics covering routines, skin concerns, ingredients, and more.