True Radical Honesty From Our Community
What To Do If You Hate Those Fine Lines Around Your LipsRead More
Advice for all of your skin care needs
What To Do If You Hate Those Fine Lines Around Your LipsRead More
Stress = irritation, which is one of the worst things for your skin. Let’s see what we can do to help turn stressed skin into your best skin ever.
Your skin is the largest organ in your body, so it’s no wonder what you see on the outside reflects exactly what’s going on inside. When you’re rested and bursting with energy, for example, your skin often reflects that. And, ps, can we have a group hug for those rare but joyous days, please?!
Similarly, when you’re super tired, anxious and emotionally drained, your skin is likely to react in the same way, looking dull, feeling rough and, frankly, being a bit of a stressed mess.
But why does stress and emotional anxiety affect the skin in such a major way? Well, when you feel stressed about something, your brain prepares your body to go into fight or flight mode. In doing so, your nervous system releases hormones like cortisol and adrenaline into the bloodstream which nudges your heart to beat faster, your breath to speed up and your muscles to tense up. All this is great in short-lived stressful situations like job interviews or when dealing with a threat or emergency. But when stress becomes more the norm than a rarity, these hormones go into constant overdrive and things start to go awry. Headaches and nausea can kick in, your digestive system becomes compromised and, in extremely chronic cases, you may even increase your risk of a heart attack or stroke.
And then there’s your skin.
Various studies show that both acute (temporary) and chronic (consistent) stress create negative effects on the health of your skin. For starters, spikes in cortisol increase inflammation and cause your sebaceous glands to go wild, encouraging them to produce way too much oil than your skin really needs (cue breakouts!). An overload of cortisol also breaks down vital collagen supplies, decreases hydrating hyaluronic acid, upsets the balance of your skin’s barrier function and messes up its pH levels. All of these things equal bad news for the health of your skin, resulting in any number of skin annoyances such as blocked pores, acne, dehydration, irritation and flare-ups in existing conditions like rosacea, psoriasis or eczema.
And the worst thing of all? Cruddy, stress-induced skin is, well, stressful in itself. Which doesn’t help your emotional well-being one tiny bit. Sigh.
The good news is there are many ways to improve our skin when stress is hitting you hard. To follow, seven of our tried and tested favorites…
1. De-Stress With A Journal
Before you start working on your skin, you need to concentrate on your entire health and well-being. And the best way to do this? Make a note of any habits or experiences that make you stressed or uneasy. Write down how they made you feel, how you reacted to them and what, if anything, you did to make yourself feel better. This allows you to notice themes or patterns in your stress levels, as well as ways to improve your mood and help you relax.
2. Sleep like A Queen
Like all skin experts, we’re big believers in the power of a great night’s sleep. In terms of stress, this is because cortisol levels dramatically drop when you’re asleep. So, if you deprive yourself of valuable zzzs your skin misses out on this important time of repair and rejuvenation during which collagen production accelerates, cell turnover speeds up, blood flow increases, muscles relax and antioxidants kick in to repair damage caused during the day.
The Mayo Clinic recommends at least seven hours of quality sleep every night but the most important thing is to go to bed and get up at roughly the same time to get into a good routine. Ensure your bedroom is dark, quiet, not too warm and limit caffeine, food and your smartphone for at least two hours before you hit the sack.
3. Dial Down Your Actives
Active ingredients like retinol, vitamin C and glycolic acid are all well and good when your skin’s barrier function is working like clockwork. But when stress upsets its delicate nature, your skin’s ability to heal and repair itself becomes compromised. This is when an overload of actives can be too much for your skin to deal with. Cut back for a while and allow your barrier function to rebuild itself. If you usually exfoliate every other day, for example, switch to once or twice a week. Love to apply your Retinol Facial Serum every night? Reduce this to every other night for a short period of time, or try alternating it with our soothing Niacinamide Facial Serum which is perfect for sensitized skin.
Trust us, giving your skin a break is super important during times of stress.
4. Avoid ‘Triggering’ Skincare Ingredients
We recommend avoiding the most common skincare nasties ALL of the time, but it’s even more important during times of emotional and mental stress when your barrier function might not be working to the best of its abilities.
Keep your routine straightforward, simple and steer clear of sulfates, in particular, which are excellent at cleansing, but can exacerbate dryness, itching, redness and breakouts – especially if your skin is feeling stressed out.
Gentle cleansers that contain non-drying surfactants like disodium lauryl sulfosuccinate and disodium 2-sulfolaurate are a far better choice and ideal for sensitized skin. Try our Vitamin C Brightening Cleanser which also contains nourishing rose hip oil to help reduce inflammation and redness.
5. Save New Skincare Products For Another Time
Sure, we all love to try out a brand new product every now and again but now’s not the time to introduce a newbie to your daily routine. Stressed skin is more reactive which means ingredients that usually feel great may bother you more than normal.
Stick to what you know for now and save the new stuff for later.
6. Enjoy A Cup Of Tea
Research shows that drinking black tea helps lower the levels of cortisol in your bloodstream, making you feel more relaxed and positive. It’s even been suggested that the simple act of making tea alone is enough to help soothe stress and anxiety.
The reason black (as well as green) tea is thought to be such a mood booster is mainly down to l-theanine, an amino acid that helps promotes relaxation, counteracts anxiety, reduces fatigue and supports thinking.
7. Finally, Give Yourself A Break
Everyone goes through stressful periods in their lives and it’s perfectly normal for things to get on top of you every now and again. But try not to allow your stress to get the better of you as this will result in a vicious circle for both your health and your skin – and that can be hard to shake off. Practice deep breathing throughout the day to center yourself, go for a quick walk to clear your head, or read a book for ten minutes in the afternoon to take your mind off things.
These healthy habits are awesome for lifting your emotional health and maintaining stronger, radiant skin. Period.
How To Turn Stressed Skin Into Your Best Skinread more
When it comes to your skin we can’t think of a more mind-numbingly frustrating phrase than – wait for it – hormonal acne. Are we right or are we right? Here’s what we know about dealing with these pesky, recurring breakouts…
Hormonal acne might sound like one of those distant horrors from your teenage years when angry pimples plagued your chin on a monthly basis. But sadly, filing this common skin condition away in the annals of pubescent history isn’t the case for everyone. In fact, hormonal breakouts can affect you at any age. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, acne affects more than 50 percent of women between the ages of 20 and 29, while just over 25 percent of those between 40 and 49 are also suffering. What’s more, studies show that acne hits adult women way more frequently than men.
Acne is caused by one thing and one thing alone – excess sebum that gets trapped in your pores and may or may not become inflamed. Nobody’s arguing this. But it’s the hows and whys your skin overproduces sebum that can change from person to person. Oh how simple it would be if you could point the finger at chocolate, poor cleansing or your parents (because, genes), right? Instead, a whole host of factors trigger acne. And one of the most common? Yup, hormones.
Read on for everything we know about how to deal with these pesky hormonal breakouts…
What Exactly Is Hormonal Acne?
While not strictly a term used in the medical profession, hormonal acne occurs when an imbalance in hormones stimulates the skin to produce excessive amounts of sebum and consequently (although not always) break out. These breakouts are cyclical and commonly coincide with periods in your life (no pun intended) when your body experiences major shifts in hormone levels. Think menstruation, pregnancy, child birth and the menopause.
The hormones in question here are estrogen and progesterone which fluctuate like crazy during these times, creating imbalances with your levels of testosterone.
However, not all hormonal acne is down to inherent hormonal fluctuations. That may sound like a contradiction in terms but all we mean is that certain medications can also throw your hormones out of whack, as can emotional stress which produces an excess of cortisol in your body. Cortisol is known as ‘the stress hormone,’ and it’s a major trigger of excess sebum production and inflammation. Say no more.
How To Tell If Your Breakouts Are Hormonal
If you’ve noticed your skin is breaking out monthly, around the time of your period, this is a tell-tale sign you have hormonal acne – especially if you’re experiencing red, inflamed pimples in the same places each time, and they’re mainly concentrated on your chin, around the jawline or across your back and chest. Even if you’re menopausal, hormonal fluctuations still occur on a regular basis as your reproductive hormones systematically decline.
Some hormone replacement therapies also use different hormones to replace those which your body is losing. And all this can cause a similar type of cyclical adult acne. So, there’s that.
During pregnancy, or postpartum is another common time as, again, your hormones are all over the place, sending your sebaceous glands into turmoil and creating excess oil at the surface of your skin. And if you’re super stressed? This won’t help one bit.
Of course, self-diagnosing hormonal acne is no mean feat so if you’re not sure whether your flare-ups are hormonal or thanks to some other trigger, it’s always wise to seek professional help from a board-certified dermatologist.
5 Ways To Help Treat Hormonal Acne
There are plenty of ways to help keep hormonal acne under control. At the doctor’s office, things like laser treatments, hormone-regulating meds and prescription topicals can reap awesome rewards for severe acne. However, if you’re dealing with mild to moderate breakouts these at-home acne treatments are also well worth it…
1. Keep Your Pores Clean
Dirty skin doesn’t cause acne, per se, but if you allow dirt and surface debris to build up in your pores, well, this won’t help at all. This means a great cleansing routine is imperative if you’re suffering right now. Don’t make the mistake of cleansing like your life depended on it, however, as harsh formulations and over-zealous scrubbing will completely strip your skin’s protective layer which accelerates oil production even further.
Instead, choose balancing products that, yes, whisk away dirt, oil and impurities but, no, don’t suck all the life out of your skin. Try Charcoal Clarifying Cleanser which contains activated coconut charcoal to decongest your pores, along with reishi mushrooms to hydrate and ylang ylang blossom to fight inflammation. Cleanse twice daily, using lukewarm rather than hot water, and always after exercising.
2. The Same Goes For The Rest Of Your Home
Keeping clean doesn’t begin and end with the skin on your face. If you’re a face-toucher, oil and dirt from your hands will constantly transfer itself straight to your face which is bad news for your pores. So a) wash your hands regularly and b) try to stop touching your face as much.
Also, wash your pillowcases, bed linens and makeup brushes at least once a week, and do your face towels and smartphone even more regularly – daily if you can.
3. Make Tea Tree Oil Your BFF
One of the most effective topical ingredients for targeting acne is tea tree oil. Naturally antifungal, anti-inflammatory AND antimicrobial, this incredibly therapeutic essential oil has been used in traditional medicine for centuries and is scientifically proven to treat and heal mild to moderate acne. It’s also less drying and irritating than other acne-busting favorites such as benzoyl peroxide which makes it awesome for sensitive or more mature skin types. It can still be pretty potent, however, so stick with diluted, carefully curated formulations that have been specifically created for safe use on your skin.
Try Tea Tree Super Serum+ which combines tea tree oil (well, dur!) with salicylic acid, niacinamide, hyaluronic acid and vitamin C to create a purposeful, well-rounded treatment for clearer, healthier-looking skin. What’s more, it might be gentle, but it’s still mighty powerful so you only need to use it two or three times a week for awesome results. And remember, always do a patch test first.
4. Look After Yourself
Emotional anxiety and constant stress put your mental wellness on edge. They also encourage your body to produce excessive amounts of cortisol which upsets the balance of your hormones and triggers an inflammatory response in your skin. Now we’re well aware that being told to chill out and stress less rarely reaps the desired result, but if you can do a few things to improve your emotional wellbeing, this will really help the health of your skin.
Exercising regularly and making sleep a top priority are great ways to manage your levels of stress so try to go to bed at the same time each night, and do a fitness class or go for a brisk walk two or three times a week – or whatever your schedule allows. Just don’t stress about it. Because, well, you’re trying to reduce stress, not build on it!
It’s also worth taking a look at your diet as overdoing things like sugar, dairy and processed carbs are thought to increase inflammation in your body. And anything you can do to avoid inflammation is a very good thing.
5. Invest In Some Butt-Kickin' Retinol
Not only is it seen as the gold-standard in anti-aging, but retinol can have a huge impact on acne-prone skin. Retinoids have been proven to speed up cell turnover to help regulate sebum production and keep your pores clean and clear. They’re often the first port of call for the treatment of hormonal acne at the doctor’s office.
Prescription retinoids, however, can be pretty harsh on your skin – especially if it’s super sensitive – and some people simply don’t get on with them. Think redness, irritation, dryness and flaky skin which, when coupled with breakouts, is so not the desired effect. This is why many people turn to retinol, which is kinder to the skin and much more highly tolerated by the skin.
Try our powerful, but gentle Retinol Moisturizer or give Retinol Facial Serum a go which also contains vitamin E to aid healing. You could even layer them both, depending on your skin’s tolerance to retinol, of course. Just remember to patch test them first, then introduce them slowly into your routine – two or three times a week – building up to nightly use.
What’s The Deal With Hormonal Acne?read more
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.
Are You Using The Wrong Products For Your Skin?read more
Eating chocolate and greasy fries won’t necessarily give you pimples, and a week in the sun won’t make them vanish, either. But there are certain things that really can help prevent and treat acne breakouts. Here, we’ve rounded up ten of the best…
Acne is the most common skin woe in the whole of the United States. Not dark under eye circles, not sun spots, not even wrinkles, but acne. According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), it affects up to 50 million Americans every year, and around 15 percent of women are plagued by some form of acne during their adult lives.
If you’ve had acne on and off for most of your teenage and adult life, you’ll have heard every last trick about how to avoid breakouts. Most of which were probably complete BS. So, we’re here to set the record straight once for all with our guide to the most tried and trusted ways to keep acne under control.
1. Don’t Pick
The world’s fascination with popping pimples shows no signs of going away (thanks mainly to dermatologist Dr. Sandra Lee, aka Dr. Pimple Popper!), but attempting this at home is rarely a good idea. Sure, squeezing that white top might be hard to resist, but it can trigger inflammatory responses in your skin which can delay healing and potentially make your pimples worse.
Picking and prodding zits also introduces a bunch of new bacteria to your skin and quite frankly, it has enough to deal with already. Finally, if all that wasn’t enough, popping pimples creates trauma to your skin which can lead to scabbing, infections, pigmentation and scarring. Don’t do it. Just don’t.
2. Keep Your Skin Clean
A primary cause of acne is blocked pores that get clogged up with oil, dirt and dead skin cells, and then become inflamed or infected with bacteria. This makes cleansing your skin twice daily extremely important – especially at night after sweat, sebum, makeup and sunscreen have built up on the surface of your skin.
Try our new Tea Tree Super Cleanser + which is ultralight, super refreshing and mega calming. It also douses your skin with a powerful blend of nature’s blemish-controlling superstar, tea tree oil, and our ultimate secret weapon for breakouts, MSM.
3. Wash Your Hands
While we’re on the subject of cleanliness, don’t underestimate the power of clean hands. Of course, you’re far too disciplined to pick at your pimples (see above), but even touching your face or leaning on your hands spreads unnecessary dirt, oil and bacteria all over your skin. It’s a tricky habit to kick because it’s usually an unconscious move, but the least you can do is wash your hands regularly to minimize the after-effects.
4. Keep Everything Clean
Not to keep banging on about cleanliness, but there’s more… Towels and pillowcases can also harbor bacteria if they’re not laundered regularly, so make sure you change these out on a weekly basis. And perhaps consider using a fragrance-free detergent if your skin tends to be reactive.
Also, wash your makeup brushes twice a week (especially if you wear makeup daily); shampoo your hair often to avoid oils from your hair transferring to your face, and wipe down your smartphone with a hand sanitizing wipe as often as you remember.
5. Use Retinol
Retinol is an anti-aging given, but it’s also a powerful tool for acne-prone skin. How so? Well, retinol helps unclog your pores by stimulating collagen production and encouraging cell turnover. It also promotes healing and, by keeping your pores clear, can help other skincare or topical acne medication penetrate more effectively.
Introduce Retinol Serum into your evening routine a few times a week and apply it to cleansed skin before moisturizing – you won’t regret it.
6. Wear Sunscreen
This might not be one of the most well-known anti-acne tricks, but it’s important, so hear us out.
In addition to the obvious protection from UV damage, sunscreen reduces redness and can help skin avert post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (those dark spots that pimples often leave behind). It also reduces the likelihood of your skin becoming dry in the sun which keeps sebum balanced and under control.
So there you go, sunscreen for acne – surprisingly important. Just remember to avoid heavy, pore-clogging sunscreens that can cause breakouts or make the pimples you have even worse. Instead, try our new SPF 30 Mineral Sunscreen which is sheer, lightweight and oil-free.
7. Moisturize… But Do It With Care
Acne often goes hand-in-hand with oily skin which can get forgotten about when it comes to moisturizing. It’s a huge mistake to skip this vital step, however, no matter how oily or pimply your skin may be. If you fail to moisturize your skin, the surface will become dry and your sebaceous glands will overproduce oil to compensate. Cue excess oil which can block your pores and make acne worse.
Your best bet is to hydrate with a light serum like Hyaluronic Acid Serum, then follow with a non-comedogenic moisturizer that’s less likely to block your pores. Oh, and make sure you do this day AND night, especially if you use harsh acne treatments that dry out your skin.
8. Avoid Over Exfoliation
Scrubbing your face feels great, but it’s one of the biggest mistakes you can make, particularly if you’re prone to breakouts.
Exfoliation is great for boosting cell turnover and keeping your pores clean and clear, but too much can cause redness and inflammation – something you definitely don’t want to encourage if acne is already making your skin both of these things. Stick to once a week max, or better yet, allow chemical exfoliating ingredients like salicylic acid to gradually do the job for you.
9. Manage Your Stress
As with seemingly everything, when it comes to acne, stress only makes matters worse. Research has pointed to a direct link between stress and acne, thanks to stress-related hormones like cortisol encouraging your sebaceous glands to produce more oil. Cortisol also reduces your skin’s natural levels of hyaluronic acid which makes your skin more dehydrated and further triggers sebum production. All this excess oil is a veritable playground for bacteria to breed and acne to worsen.
Of course, keeping stress under control is no mean feat, but breathing exercises, yoga, or taking a short walk each day may help clear your mind. Go for whatever form of relaxation suits you and helps take the pressure off, even if only for a few minutes. And remember to get your seven or eight hours of quality sleep while you’re at it. Sleep is SO important.
10. Strike Down Inflammation, Inside and Out
As helpful as skincare tips may be, acne is often an inside job rooted in internal factors influenced by diet and hormones. While addressing these triggers is an important part of getting chronic acne under control, it’s also key to hit back at topical inflammation. This beauty baddie not only exacerbates breakouts, it can increase the likelihood of hyperpigmentation and scarring, so it’s especially critical to diminish it as much as possible.
To help do this on the daily, look for skin saviors with anti-inflammatory clout like vitamin C in the form of sodium ascorbyl phosphate, as well as MSM and aloe, all of which have a reputation for mitigating inflammation and blemishes alike. You can find them teamed up in our Vitamin C Serum, as well as across several other TruSkin formulas—because we know how invaluable these good guys can be for all skin types.
10 Skincare Habits Guaranteed To Help Treat Acneread more
You might not be able to spell hyaluronic acid, but who cares? What you really need to know is what it does and exactly why you need to include it in your skincare regimen.
Hyaluronic acid (HA) is a veritable darling of the beauty world, and almost every skincare brand we know has harnessed its powers to help bring your skin to a better place. But it’s one thing to see this wonder ingredient on your ingredient list and think, ‘Yeah, I’ve heard of hyaluronic acid. That stuff’s supposed to be good,’ to truly grasping what HA can offer.
As you probably know, our main MO is to fill in these little gaps to help give you a better understanding of your skincare options so you can make excellent decisions for the benefit of your skin. Because knowledge is power, right?
Well, here are five things you might not know about hyaluronic acid.
1. Hyaluronic Acid Is A Humectant
Hyaluronic acid, otherwise known as hyaluronan, is a sugar molecule that’s naturally found by the bucketload in your body. It’s present in your joints, eyes and cartilage, but around 50 percent of the body’s total amount of HA is in your skin, where it helps keep things cushioned and lubricated. How does it do this? Well, HA is known as a humectant, which means it works like a sponge to attract water to hydrate the skin – either from the air or from deeper within the skin’s dermis. Other humectants include the likes of aloe, glycerin, honey and urea.
The amazing thing about hyaluronic acid is that it’s been proven to hold up to 1,000 times its weight in water. And if that sounds like a lot... well, that’s because it is.
2. Age-Related Hyaluronic Acid Loss Is A Thing
Aging is a privilege, but it’s also darn hard on your skin. As you know, much of the good stuff that keeps your skin plump, radiant, soft and youthful decreases as you get older. Collagen and elastin are the obvious ones here, but your levels of naturally-occurring hyaluronic acid also diminish over time.
According to the Journal of American Academy of Dermatology, HA loss can begin as early as your 20s, with levels reducing by as much as half by the age of 50. Ouch! This is one of the main reasons your skin feels more dehydrated as you get older, and of course it contributes to those fine lines and wrinkles creeping up on you.
It’s also why counteracting this massive loss with some topical HA in your skincare routine is such a fine idea.
3. If Used Incorrectly, Hyaluronic Acid Can Actually Dehydrate Your Skin
Shut the front door.
This is an interesting one because sure, HA is a moisture-loving skincare ingredient that’s great for adding much-needed water and hydration to the surface of your skin. But it can also do the opposite. Bear with us for a minute…
As we’ve already explained, HA needs water in order to hydrate your skin. Well, it has to get this from somewhere and if there’s no water on the surface or if you live in a climate that’s seriously lacking in humidity, any HA you apply will pull water up from deeper within your skin. And that’s not ideal.
Thankfully, this is easily rectified – you just need to apply your HA moisturizer or serum (and may we suggest our awesome Hyaluronic Acid Serum?) to damp skin, straight after cleansing. Then, if you’ve gone for a serum (and just to reiterate, you probably should!), apply moisturizer over the top to seal all that water in. Serums, while awesome at delivering active ingredients to your skin, often lack emollient or occlusive ingredients like fatty acid-rich oils, which are vital because they help lock moisture into your skin. We repeat, always follow your serum with a creamy moisturizer like Vitamin C Brightening Moisturizer.
4. Hyaluronic Acid Is Not Just About Hydrating The Skin
Far from a one-trick pony, hyaluronic acid offers countless other benefits for your skin – other than the obvious effects of improved hydration like smoother, stronger skin and fewer visible lines and wrinkles. For starters, HA works hard to help fortify your skin’s important barrier function, which helps your skin defend itself from environmental factors like pollution, sun damage and toxins.
HA is also an anti-inflammatory and, not to be a complete show-off, but it boasts awesome antioxidant properties, too. Antioxidants are super important for the health of your skin because they target skin-damaging free radicals, helping to neutralize them before they seriously harm and age up your skin.
5. Hyaluronic Acid Works For Most Skin Types
Unlike some active skincare ingredients we won’t name (because we love them just as dearly), the form of botanical HA we use in our formulas is known for being gentle and well tolerated by most skin types. After all, it's designed to mimic the the naturally-occurring HA in your skin, so it's less likely to cause irritation, sensitivities or trigger existing skin conditions like rosacea or acne. Our Hyaluronic Acid Eye Cream is packed with botanical HA for these very reasons.
Of course, there’s always a slim chance you might have a mild reaction to hyaluronic acid but this is more common with HA fillers than with skincare. We always recommend performing a patch test just in case. In fact, this is something you should do when using any treatment or active skincare formulation for the first time. Then you can catch anything untoward before it's too late, and make a decision on whether that particular product is right for you.
Other than pairing well with most skin types (even sensitive), botanical HA also works seamlessly with other active skincare ingredients like retinol, niacinamide and vitamin C. In fact, HA and retinol get on VERY well together, hence the popularity of our Retinol Facial Moisturizer, which contains both.
Now, can we have a big hurrah for hyaluronic acid, please? For it truly does deserve every bit of praise it receives.
5 Things You Never Knew About Hyaluronic Acidread more
Skin in total freak-out mode right now? Then it’s time to de-stress and give your poor complexion a break.
Stressed skin is one of life’s vicious circles. First, emotional stress sends your hormones out of whack, making your skin dry, oily, itchy or break out. Sad times, indeed. Then, to add insult to injury, you get the 'pleasure' of having to deal with cruddy skin and, heck, that just ruins your self-esteem and makes you feel even more stressed. As we said, a vicious circle.
It’s true, emotional anxiety has a massive impact on the look, feel and health of your skin. This is because when you feel stressed, your brain stimulates the release of various hormones (cortisol, to name just one) which upset the equilibrium of your body, disrupting your immune system, wreaking havoc on your skin’s barrier function, interfering with the healing process and triggering all sorts of problems, mainly irritation and inflammation.
If this is ringing too many bells in your head right now, chances are your skin and, more importantly, your emotional wellbeing are crying out for some much-needed TLC. Not sure where to start? No problem, we’re on it…
1. First, Try To De-Stress Your Mind
Chilling the heck out is easier said than done, but reducing (or at least attempting to reduce) your levels of emotional stress is a major step to mirroring the same effects for your skin. If things are all too much at work, for example, speak out, delegate tasks or learn how to say no. According to the Mayo Clinic, asserting yourself in the workplace – or, in fact, any situation – is one of the best ways to de-stress because it reduces internal conflict and helps you more successfully manage everyday life.
You could also keep a journal. It’s amazing how much of a relief it is to write stuff down and get things off your chest. And if you’re worried someone might get hold of your pent-up thoughts? Easy, write them down on a scrap of paper instead of a proper journal, then when you’re done, you can toss it in the trash.
Of course, these are just a couple of the many ways to help manage stress. There are many tricks for calming your mind and improving your emotional wellness, so if life is kind of overwhelming right now, please make sure you seek professional advice to identify its causes and help you learn to cope.
2. Practice Some True Self-Care
Can you honestly say you’ve been looking after yourself recently? Maaaybe… but probably not. The thing is, exercise and a healthy, balanced diet are awesome stress relievers.
Exercise stimulates endorphins which are known as ‘feel-good’ chemicals for good reason. Hint: they make you feel good! Try to up your levels of daily physical activity as much as possible. You might not be up for a 10-mile run at 6 a.m. every morning, but small things like a brisk walk, gardening, swimming, cycling or even doing some household chores will get those endorphins pumping and help lift your mood.
Yoga and pilates are also awesome stress relievers because they help dial back your sympathetic nervous system. This is your body’s ‘quick response’ system which produces that pesky stress hormone, cortisol. If you can, try to combine a mixture of heart-pumping exercise with more relaxing, muscle-strengthening activities for a complete, all-round regimen.
When it comes to your diet, too much sugar, salt, processed carbs and fried foods are absolute devils on your skin, causing harmful free radicals that break down collagen and accelerate inflammation. Instead, feed your skin with stuff it loves – namely antioxidant-rich fruit and veggies, oily fish, nuts and lean protein. Oh, and as tempting as it may be to deal with stressful situations with coffee and doughnuts, try not to make this a habit.
3. Give Your Barrier Function A Break
Your skin’s barrier function is its uppermost layer – the very top of your epidermis, which acts like a security guard to protect you from the outside world. It works super hard to stop moisture from getting out and nasty irritants from getting in.
When your skin is suffering, this is a sure-fire indication that your barrier function has been compromised. Many things contribute to this, not least of all stress itself, which depletes your skin’s natural production of healthy oils and alters its pH level.
Your skincare routine also has a vital role to play here.
Harsh cleansing with chemical-fueled products can completely strip your protective barrier of important proteins and lipids, so this is a massive no-no, for starters. Cleanse gently with mild, sulfate-free formulations like our Vitamin C Brightening Cleanser and only ever use lukewarm, never hot, water to wash your face.
Another thing: don't forget to moisturize after cleansing, which is VITAL for healthy, stress-free barrier function. Dryness is seriously damaging to your skin’s barrier, leaving it vulnerable to transepidermal water loss (TEWL) as well as external aggressors like pollution, UV radiation and the like. Choose smart, all-round moisturizers that combine ingredients to not only help draw water into your skin (eg. aloe, glycerin and hyaluronic acid) but also lock moisture in (eg. shea butter and stearic acid). Vitamin C Brightening Moisturizer is always a great shout.
4. Think About Everything You Put On Your Skin
Bombarding your skin with active ingredients like retinoids and glycolic acid can be way too much for some skin types to cope with. Sure, these ingredients are awesome for tackling lines, wrinkles, dark spots and acne, but you can most definitely have too much of a good thing.
If your complexion is feeling totally out of whack, it’s worth looking at your routine to see if it contains too many active ingredients that are potentially fighting against each other or are simply proving too potent for your complexion. Pare back on treatment serums (you really only need one in the morning and one at night, anyway) and consider dropping down your usage to two or three times a week. You never know, this could easily de-stress your skin with very little effort.
On the flipside, ingredients to include in your routine are those crammed with calming, hydrating or soothing benefits. Aloe, vitamin E and niacinamide are three that immediately come to mind and – bonus – you’ll find all of these ingredients in our Niacinamide Facial Serum. Just saying.
5. Optimize Bedtime
Getting your beauty sleep is essential for the health of your skin because overnight is when it repairs and heals itself from the slings and arrows of the day. Skip too many zzzs and your skin misses out on all that vital time in which collagen production ramps up to boost regeneration and antioxidants kick in to reduce damage and revitalize your skin.
As you know, eight hours of sleep is the recommended amount (or somewhere between seven and nine hours, according to the National Sleep Foundation) but it’s not all about quantity. In fact, the quality of your sleep is just as important.
To totally boss your best night’s sleep, ensure you nail this checklist:
- Go to bed at roughly the same time each night.
- Don’t go to bed hungry, full or having just drank a ton of caffeine or alcohol.
- Ensure your bedroom is dark, quiet and at a comfortable, slightly cool temperature.
- Avoid using your phone, laptop or tablet for at least an hour before bedtime.
- Take a few deep breaths as soon as you get into bed to lower your heart rate and make you feel relaxed.
- Gently cleanse, tone, treat and then moisturize your skin with Vitamin C Deep Hydration Night Cream to give your skin the best chance to rejuvenate itself.
Finally, remind yourself how well you’re doing at life – every single day. And when you look in the mirror, try to see the good stuff. A positive outlook on life is absolutely priceless for stress-free skin.
5 Awesome Ways To Give Stressed Skin A Breakread more