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Are You Using The Wrong Products For Your Skin?

Are You Using The Wrong Products For Your Skin?

Your skincare routine can make or break your skin so if yours doesn’t seem quite right, maybe it’s time for a rethink. Here’s how to spot the tell-tale signs you’re using the wrong products…

We’ve all been there – gotten swept up by some miracle-sounding wonder serum that, rather than giving us ten-years-younger skin, actually made our skin nothing short of a hot mess. And oftentimes it’s not immediately obvious that a certain skincare product is unsuitable for your skin. Instead, irritation creeps up over time or breakouts become more of a norm than the odd occurrence. Ugh!

Here are some of the most common warning signs that it’s time to reconsider what you put on your face...

Skin Issue #1: Weird Breakouts

Breakouts are caused by excess sebum that gets trapped in your pores with no place else to go. This blockage then forms a kind of plug which may or may not become inflamed, causing anything from blackheads and whiteheads through to full-blown zits.

As you know, breakouts can be down to any number of reasons – your genes, hormones, stress, you know the drill – but if your skin is usually clear and acne-free, and has broken out suddenly, with no real reason, then it’s prudent to look at the products you’ve been recently using.

Some products contain occlusive ingredients like cocoa butter, oils and petroleum jelly which are awesome for sealing moisture into the skin, protecting from external irritants and helping to repair a compromised barrier function. However, according to the American Academy of Dermatology, they also have a thick, heavy consistency which leaves a protective layer on the skin and blocks up your pores.

If you’ve recently invested in a new moisturizer and are breaking out, chances are it contains occlusives that are ‘suffocating’ your pores. Switch it up for a lighter formulation that’s either oil-free or formulated with non pore-clogging oils like jojoba. Good news: our Vitamin C Brightening Moisturizer checks that box – and then some!

Skin Issue #2: A Burning Sensation

Nothing in your skincare routine should ever make your skin burn. End of story. Sure, some active ingredients can create a mild tingling sensation for a minute or so after application, but tingling and burning are very different things. And the latter is not good news for your skin.

Anything that causes pain is a sign you’re using something way too potent for your skin to handle. AHAs and BHAs like glycolic and salicylic acids are the usual culprits here, but retinoids can also be too strong for certain skin types so stick with retinol rather than tretinoin or retinoic acid. Retinol is a gentler type of retinoid and much better tolerated by the skin. Our Retinol Moisturizer, for example, combines retinol with skin soothing, hydrating ingredients like botanical hyaluronic acid and vitamin E to create a powerful formulation, with less irritation.

Still feeling the burn? Then call time on retinoids altogether and stick with milder anti-aging ingredients like vitamin C, peptides or MSM.

Skin Issue #3: Redness

Inflamed skin is a sure sign something’s not quite right. Of course, facial redness may be down to skin conditions like rosacea, contact dermatitis or psoriasis so it’s always worth getting your skin checked by an expert if you think one of these might be the cause.

And then there’s your skincare routine. One of the most common reasons for facial redness is over-exfoliation. Exfoliating is incredible for accelerating cell turnover and boosting radiant, healthy-looking skin, but too much can weaken your barrier function, stripping away its important layer of ceramides, fatty acids and essential nutrients. And that’s a one-way ticket to red, irritated skin if ever we heard one.

Have you upped your exfoliation game recently or introduced a new exfoliant into your routine? Then pare it back or change to a milder formulation. Chemical exfoliants like our Ocean Minerals Super Toner are a great option for sensitive skin as they contain gentle chemicals to break down dead skin cells rather than abrasive physical elements like crushed up nut shells or fruit seeds.

Skin Issue #4: Tightness or Itchy Skin

Dryness is a common skin type and needs to be looked after with gentle formulations and lots of moisturizing occlusives to help replace the lack of oils in the skin. Problems like tightness and itching generally arise when this is ignored and too many active ingredients are introduced into your routine. So there's a lesson, right there.

Of course, tightness and itching might also be down to dehydration rather than dryness. And yes, these are two very different things. While dry skin is a skin type and thanks to an absence of oils, dehydration is more of a condition and due to a lack of water in the skin. Again, over-exfoliation or over-stimulation can cause dehydration because these break down your skin’s barrier function making it unable to retain water.

Does any of this sound familiar? Then simplify your routine and, if you’ve recently invested in a new facial serum, try using it just once or twice a week rather than daily to see if this helps reduce any discomfort. Niacinamide Facial Serum is a great choice for soothing and balancing sensitive skin or try Hyaluronic Acid Facial Serum to amp up your skin's moisture content.

Skin Issue #5: So. Much. Oil.

If oiliness is unusual for you, or you’re noticing your skin is way greasier than normal, something in your skincare regimen could definitely be to blame. Similar to most skin issues, using harsh cleansers or layering too many active ingredients breaks down your skin’s natural protective barrier. And while this often causes dryness, it can also result in the complete opposite – forcing your sebaceous glands to go into overdrive and produce more oils to compensate for those which have been stripped away.

Reckon you could be overdoing it with the oil-reducing skincare products right now? Chances are this is causing your skin to dry out and produce excessive amounts of sebum, so cut back and introduce lightly hydrating and moisturizing formulations into your regime to help stabilize oil production. Rose Water Refreshing Toner is awesome for this and works perfectly with our fabulous Tea Tree Super Cleanser+ to balance, hydrate and clarify oily skin.

One Last Word…

Of course adverse reactions aren’t always down to the products you put on your skin… But they can be. Which is good news and bad. Good because if this is the case you can do something about it. Bad because it’s not always easy to pinpoint exactly which product or ingredient is causing you bother – especially if you’ve invested in a whole new regime.

The solution? Never switch out your entire routine at once. Introduce new products one at a time, patch test them first, then give your skin a good month to adjust before adding in another product. Doing this will allow your skin plenty of time to let you know if it’s right for you.

Or not.


More About This Article

Georgia Gould

Georgia Gould

Georgia is an award-winning beauty writer who has been in the business for over 20 years. British-born, she began her career as a magazine beauty editor in London before moving to San Francisco, CA in 2012 where she now continues her love as a freelance writer and editor. As well as her editorial work, Georgia has created content for many high-profile beauty brands, including Clarins, L’Oréal, Procter & Gamble, Simple and TRESemmé. Her passions include retinol (obviously), golfing, skiing and walking her beloved Schnauzer, Dave.