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
Under the impression that sensitive skin and active skincare ingredients were mortal enemies? Actually there are some awesome power-players that work wonders on delicate skin…
It’s a well-known fact that sensitive skin types go gaga for gentle ingredients that care for their fragile barrier function and are moisturizing, hydrating, calming and soothing. But sensitive skin matures just like every other skin type, and oftentimes things like aloe vera and chamomile (as awesome as they are!) don’t cut the mustard when trying to soften the visible blows of aging.
Most skin types can turn to potent, active anti-aging ingredients like retinol, glycolic acid and vitamin C without a care in the world. Of course, it’s always smart to patch test such powerful ingredients first… just in case. But once this is out of the way, most find they can introduce them into their daily routines with zero problems.
Not everyone has such luck with their skincare, however, and sensitive skin can be a tricky type to master. But all is not lost because we’ve rounded up some of the best active ingredients that are effective, for sure, but are way kinder to the skin, making them a fabulous choice for sensitive souls.
Keep scrolling for the five active ingredients we rate best for sensitive skin.
Retinol is awesome. We know that. You know that. But if you have sensitive skin that flares up if you so much as say the word ‘retinol’ out loud, gentler alternatives are more your style. And this is where bakuchiol shines.
Bakuchiol (pronounced bah-koo-chee-awl) is basically nature’s answer to retinol. Says it all, right? Extracted from the seeds and leaves of the babchi plant, bakuchiol has been used for centuries in Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine, both internally and topically to treat the skin. A bunch of recent clinical studies have also shown that, as well as offering the previously well-known anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, bakuchiol offers similar benefits to retinol, stimulating collagen synthesis and accelerating cellular turnover. Because of these skin-changing abilities, bakuchiol can dramatically improve the surface of the skin, encouraging a brighter, clearer, smoother and more even complexion. What’s more, all of this comes with very few, if any, of the irritating side effects that are so often attributed to more potent retinoids.
Bakuchiol is the backbone of our new healthy aging Longevity range which includes Rejuvenating Longevity Serum, Depuffing Longevity Eye Cream and Renewing Longevity Moisturizing Cream. Give them a go, sensitive skin folks. We don’t think you’ll regret it.
2. Hyaluronic Acid
You’ll probably know a fair bit about hyaluronic acid (HA) as it’s always in the skincare spotlight. But here’s a quick recap. Hyaluronic acid is a lubricating polymer that’s found naturally in your skin (as well as in your eyes and joints, ps). It’s what’s known as a humectant which means it has the ability to draw in moisture, kind of like a sponge. In fact, studies have shown that HA can hold up to 1,000 times its weight in water. Don’t ask as how, it just does. Call it magic.
Sensitive skin is often notoriously dry and dehydrated thanks to a slightly sub-standard barrier function. And this is why HA is such a good choice for hydrating, moisturizing and plumping sensitive skin, simultaneously helping to improve fine lines and wrinkles. The fact that it’s a naturally-occurring substance already found in the body also makes it very well tolerated. Love that. Try Hyaluronic Acid Facial Serum for your daily hit.
PHAs are poly hydroxy acids that work by gentle exfoliating those pesky dead skin cells that can outstay their welcome at the surface of your skin, blocking your pores and giving your skin a dull, gray palor that nobody wants. Unlike scrubs and cleansing brushes, PHAs exfoliate your skin without the need for any rough scrubbing – because sensitive skin hates that. You’ll probably be acquainted with their cousins, AHAs (alpha hydroxy acids) and BHAs (beta hydroxy acids) which include the likes of glycolic acid and salicylic acid. And don’t get us wrong, we’re big fans of the As and Bs, but when it comes to sensitive skin, the mighty Ps are everything.
So how do they differ? Well, PHAs have a larger molecular size than AHAs and BHAs. This makes them way gentler on the skin because they only work at the surface, rather than penetrating the deeper, more fragile layers. Ideal for those who can’t quite bear the strength of other exfoliating acids, PHAs are awesome alternatives. They also help hydrate and moisturize the skin as an added bonus. Keen to try them out? We get that, so look out for the most common PHAs on your ingredients list: gluconolactone, lactobionic acid and galactosen.
It’s a fact: niacinamide (vitamin B3) is one of our favorite antioxidants for sensitive skin. Versatile, easily tolerated and wonderfully caring for a compromised barrier function, what’s not to love?
As well as its fighting ability to ward off the damaging effects of free radicals – which your skin forms on a daily basis thanks to pollution and UV radiation – niacinamide has fantastic anti-inflammatory properties, helping to regulate oil production while calming the skin and reducing unwanted redness.
It also has a clever way of aiding the production of ceramides in the uppermost layers of your skin. Ceramides are waxy lipids that make up somewhere between 40 and 50 percent of your skin’s composition, helping to retain moisture and protect your skin from external factors. With age, ceramides start to dwindle, so anything you do to keep them at an all-time high is going to be awesome for the strength and resilience of your skin. Try applying our Niacinamide Facial Serum twice daily for incredible results. It also contains vitamin E and HA for some extra love.
While we’re on the subject of ceramides, these are another great bunch of ingredients to keep an eye on if you want to improve the resilience of your skin and ensure it stays looking and feeling its best for longer.
Synthetically produced to mimic the natural stuff that works hard within your skin’s structure, topical ceramides are kind of a big deal. They’re well tolerated by all skin types (even the most sensitive), plus they offer some extremely important benefits – especially as your skin ages. We’re talking moisturization, hydration, strengthening, repairing, protection and all sorts.
The most commonly used ceramides in skincare are NP, AP and EOP which we’ve packed into our new Firming Collagen Day Lotion and Smoothing Collagen Serum. What’s more, the ones we use are vegan ceramides which means they’re plant-derived and totally cruelty-free. High-fives.
5 Active Ingredients Sensitive Skin Should Tryread more
There are tons of things you could be doing to cause irritation, redness, itching and dry skin. Not sure what they are? Then you’re in the right place…
While many sensitive skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis are thanks, in part, to a genetic predisposition, many are self-inflicted. In fact, we are regularly our skin's worst enemies, causing flare-ups and upsets because of silly actions that upset the skin’s barrier function, disrupt sebum production or over-stimulate cellular turnover.
Behold, eight common ways you might be aggravating your skin, triggering existing conditions and generally screwing up the look and feel of your complexion…
Mistake #1. Cleansing Your Face With Hot Water
Oh, how tempting it is to run your water as hot as possible – especially as fall turns to winter and life turns somewhat chilly. But using scorching water temps to wash your face (and, in fact, your whole body) strips the skin of natural lipids and proteins, damaging your epidermis and opening your skin up to irritation, inflammation, itchy skin and dryness. It can also lead to your sebaceous glands going into overdrive to try to combat the dryness, resulting in all of the above, plus excess shininess and possible breakouts to add insult to injury.
If you notice any of the above and know that you're guilty of languishing in super hot showers, turn down the temperature and stick with lukewarm water instead. Also, try to limit your time in the shower to five minutes. This’ll not only help save your skin, but our water supplies, too.
Mistake #2. Exfoliating Like It’s Going Out Of Fashion
Skin exfoliation is a fabulous way to accelerate turnover and slough away dead skin cells. And we love a bit of gentle exfoliation as much as the next person. But ‘gentle’ is the operative word. For starters, exfoliating your skin with harsh, scratchy scrubs can cause tiny micro tears in the skin. And that’s just asking for trouble. Similarly, exfoliating too often – whether through physical scrubs or exfoliating acids – can compromise your barrier function and trigger sensitivities.
Our advice? Listen to your skin. If you’re exfoliating once or twice a week and your skin is still looking dull, with no sensitivities, you can probably afford to up the ante. But if it’s looking red and feeling uncomfortable, slow it down. You should also try our NEW 6% AHA, BHA + PHA Liquid Exfoliant which is formulated with glycolic acid, salicylic acid and glucolactone for fantastic exfoliation with fewer of the troubles.
Mistake #3. Not Washing Your Pillowcases Regularly
Sure you might cleanse your face before bed but how often do you wash your hair before turning in? The dirty truth is that pillowcases are full of sweat, oil, dead skin cells, hair products and dirt. And if you leave them to their own devices for too long, all that grime can lead to bacteria and/or microscopic dust mites. And that’s a one-way ticket to skin irritation and acne breakouts.
Change your pillowcases every two to three days. No arguments. Similarly, wash your face towels and makeup brushes as regularly as possible.
Mistake #4. Using Overly Fragranced Skincare Products
Contact dermatitis is when a certain substance comes into contact with your skin and triggers an allergic reaction. This usually takes the form of a red, itchy rash. Of course, these symptoms will go away as long as you remove whatever’s causing the reaction. But therein lies the problem. Exactly what is the cause?
When it comes to ingredients in your skincare routine, fragrance is the number one cause of contact dermatitis in the US. So, if you’re experiencing itchy-type symptoms or weird facial redness, it might be worth checking the labels on all your skincare (as well as your haircare and laundry detergent) labels to make sure you're steering clear of the scented stuff.
The frustrating part of all this is that under US regulations, fragrances can be listed simple as ‘fragrance’ or ‘parfum,’ rather than the raw ingredient used. Specifics are rarely revealed because they’re thought of as ‘trade secrets’ by the FDA. Go figure.
Stick with ‘fragrance-free’ products, however, and you should be OK.
Mistake #5. OD-ing On Active Skincare Ingredients
Retinol... vitamin C... glycolic acid... all of these skincare powerhouses are incredible for tackling wrinkles, reducing the appearance of dark spots and generally improving your skin. But you have to be careful and use them only in moderation. Overloading your skin with such potent active ingredients can irritate even the strongest of skin types. And if you’re already predisposed to sensitivities, they can spell disaster.
There are a few golden rules to remember when dealing with active skincare ingredients. First, don’t layer more than one active treatment product at a time. Many serums are formulated with more than one active, for sure, but skincare manufacturers know what they’re doing. Piling on serum after serum can seriously traumatize your skin. Secondly, go slowly – after patch testing first. This is so much better than applying a new product day after day only to have a reaction a week later when it's too late.
Finally, search out the more sensitive sides of active ingredients. Try bakuchiol rather than retinol, lactic acid instead of glycolic acid and sodium ascorbyl phosphate instead of l-ascorbic acid. These will have similar effects to their powerful cousins, but with far fewer side effects. We’re currently head-over-heels for our new Rejuvenating Longevity Serum which packs a punch against skin aging thanks to nature’s gentler answer to retinol, bakuchiol.
Mistake #6. Skipping Sun Protection
It goes without saying that the sun has to make an appearance here. Because, sorry sun, but you’re bad news for the skin. And even worse news for sensitive skin.
Sensitive skin can be very reactive to weather temperatures and conditions, becoming flushed, prickly, tingly or itchy when exposed to things like wind, cold, heat, and especially sunlight. Sun skin allergies are also real. So much so that it’s a medical condition with a fancy name: polymorphous light eruption (PLME).
This is why sunscreen has to be a non-negotiable step in your skincare routine. Just remember to stick with mineral formulations that use gentle ingredients like zinc oxide to protect your skin. Our SPF 30 Mineral Sunscreen with Vitamin C is a winner.
Mistake #7. Smothering Your Face In Sulfates
Synthetic fragrance isn’t the only irritant in skincare. Sulfates can also be a complete pain for certain skin types.
Sulfates are used a great deal in skincare formulations because they’re damn good at cleansing the skin, removing oils, dirt and product residue very effectively. However, they’re kind of too good if that makes sense, drying out your skin and often causing problems like dryness, itching, redness and breakouts. Especially around the sensitive eye area.
We avoid using the worst sulfate bad boys – sodium laureth sulfate (SLS) and sodium lauryl ether sulfate (SLES) – in favor of kinder-to-skin surfactants that care for your barrier function instead of stripping its life away. Our Soothing Cleansing Milk is the best bet for sensitive skin.
Mistake #8. Ignoring Food Sensitivities
Don't forget, what you put into your body can be just as relevant as what goes onto your skin.
Most people with serious skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis or rosacea are well aware how important diet and food allergies are. Anything from tree nuts (think almonds, walnuts and macadamias), to dairy and yeast can all cause unwanted flare-ups. And the relationship between food, allergies and the skin doesn’t stop there. If you have an allergy to a certain type of food, it may also be mindful to not only avoid eating it, but to stay well away from it in your beauty products.
Food and skin allergies are tricky to self-diagnose but they’re important to nail down so if you think you might have an allergy or intolerance to something, it’s wise to get help from an allergist or dermatologist straight away.
Are YOU The Cause Of Your Sensitive Skin?read more
Want to better the texture of your skin and help transform the rough into the smooth? Done.
Skin concerns can vary greatly. Whether it’s hormonal breakouts that just won’t let up, puffy morning eyes after too much of a good time, or pesky dark spots that crop up on your cheeks every year – no matter how prudent you are with the sunscreen – there’s always something.
Take rough, uneven skin, for example. Poor texture might not be life threatening or even that noticeable to the untrained eye. But we get it, touching your skin and feeling bumps, flakes and rough patches instead of baby-smooth skin is as frustrating as hell.
So, why is uneven skin texture such a royal pain in the butt? Well, bumpy skin can be super persistent for starters. It's also impossible to cover up with makeup. In fact, makeup often makes it look ten times worse. And then there are the gazillion reasons why it’s there in the first place. OK, maybe there aren’t that many, but you get the picture.
If you’re fed up with bumpy skin simply not letting up, read on for some important intel that might just help you say ciao to the rough stuff…
First Up, What’s Causing Your Uneven Skin Texture?
Oh, if only we had a straight answer to this question. But alas, when it comes to the health of your skin, things are never quite that black and white.
Poor skin texture can be caused by any number of things which is pretty unhelpful, we know. Thankfully they can, at the very least, be put into four main camps: chronic skin disorders; sluggish cell turnover; an overly complicated skincare routine and surprise, surprise, the sun.
First up we have skin disorders like rosacea, eczema, psoriasis and acne. All of these can make your skin feel bumpy and rough to the touch – especially during flare-ups. And if you’re not careful, scarring from severe acne can also leave you with textural issues in the long-term. So, if you think you might be dealing with some kind of chronic skin complaint like the aforementioned, the only real way to get a handle on what’s going on is to get a professional diagnosis from a dermatologist. Trying to solve these on your own (particularly when you don’t know what you’re dealing with) can be a long, hard struggle and even then you might never achieve the best results.
Other textural issues are most commonly caused by sluggish cell turnover which allows dead skin cells to persistently stick around at the surface of your skin. This results in dullness, dehydration and rough, clogged pores. And then there’s an overly complicated skincare routine that’s packed to the brim with active ingredients. Active ingredients are great in moderation, but too much of a good thing can totally over-stimulate your skin, leaving it feeling bumpy and irritated.
Finally, the sun. This is the one thing you can blame for almost all of your skin woes. And it’s valid. UV radiation disrupts your collagen supplies and causes your cells to prematurely break down and die, leaving you with seriously uneven skin texture (and tone, for that matter!).
How To Boss Smoother Skin
As mentioned, for slightly complicated issues like rosacea and eczema, get thee to a derm. However, if you think your textural issues are more a case of poor cellular turnover, cruddy skincare and/or too much time in the sun, here are five fantastic ways to help smooth things over…
1. Exfoliate On The Reg
The best way to accelerate cell turnover and reduce build-up on the surface of your skin is to exfoliate more often. Don’t get us wrong, most people don’t need to exfoliate daily – that can exacerbate the problem – but two or three times a week with a physical scrub, or three to four times a week with a chemical exfoliant can do wonders for bumpy skin.
Our awesome NEW 6% AHA, BHA + PHA Liquid Exfoliant is a great choice for textural issues because it’s formulated with a sweet blend of glycolic acid, salicylic acid and glucolactone which provide the ideal amount of deep exfoliation and oil control, without upsetting the balance of your skin.
2. Don’t Skip Your SPF
Protect your skin every day with a mineral sunscreen that has a minimum of SPF 30 and is also broad-spectrum. The latter is super important because it means it protects your skin not only from UVB radiation (which is what the SPF denotes) but UVA radiation as well. And that’s the stuff that gets right through those clouds on cold, wintry days, damaging your skin, rain or shine. Try our fabulous SPF 30 Mineral Sunscreen with Vitamin C as the last step in your morning routine.
3. Make Retinol A Bedtime Favorite
Of course, one of the best ingredients for uneven skin texture is retinol. As per! Although totally different to exfoliants, retinol also has a clever way of boosting turnover and accelerating collagen production to help improve texture, tone, acne, the works. Retinol is not always advisable for rosacea or eczema-prone skin because it’s a potent little beast, but as long as you introduce it slowly and carefully into your routine, it can have skin-transforming results for most skin types.
Give our Retinol Facial Serum a go in the evenings, two or three times a week, after cleansing and before moisturizing.
4. Dose Up On Vitamin C
When it comes to waging war on skin-roughening free radicals, vitamin C gets our vote every time. A major player in the world of antioxidants, vitamin C helps neutralize the many free radicals caused by sun damage, environmental pollution and the like. But that’s not enough for our vitamin C because it also works like a dog to inhibit melanin production, therefore keeping a beady eye on your skin tone as well as its texture.
Like retinol, however, vitamin C can be a pretty powerful addition to your skincare routine so we believe sodium ascorbyl phosphate (SAP) should be your ultimate go-to. SAP is a salt form of pure vitamin C which makes it a) more stable and b) less irritating. It’s the only kind we use across all of our vitamin C products.
5. Never Underestimate The Power Of A Good Moisturizer
Dry and/or dehydrated skin is seriously bad news for the smoothness of your skin so moisturizing is totally non-negotiable. You should moisturize your skin after every cleanse, ideally following a treatment serum that addresses any other concerns you may have.
Look out for moisturizers that contain a good blend of humectants like hyaluronic acid, glycerin or aloe (these draw water to the surface of your skin) as well as ingredients like shea butter, jojoba oil or cocoa butter that help lock all that moisture in. And for an extra boost of free moisture? Apply your product while your skin is still slightly damp. Our current fave is our new Renewing Longevity Moisturizing Cream but we have a whole bunch of moisturizing whizz kids right here.
The Most Effective Ways To Improve Uneven Skin Textureread more
It might be thought of as an ‘extra’ step in your skincare routine, but exfoliation can make or break the condition of your skin.
Reckon you’re a dab hand at exfoliating? Got the product, worn the t-shirt and all that? Well, as great as you might be, there’s always room for improvement. Whether it’s getting your frequency absolutely correct, knowing when is the best time to exfoliate or learning how to exfoliate your face and neck without damaging your skin there are many ways to do better.
So if you hate resting on your laurels when it comes to the health of your skin, read on for five important exfoliating lessons you need to know…
1. It’s Better To Under-Exfoliate Than To Over-Exfoliate
The first, and undoubtedly the most important rule when it comes to exfoliating your skin is to never, ever, overdo it.
Here’s the thing, exfoliation is your way of stimulating your skin to turn over at a faster rate, removing dead, hardened cells from the skin’s surface while encouraging the fresher, younger ones to reveal themselves. All this helps remove toxins, unclog pores, control breakouts, fade surface level dark spots, smooth lines, balance oil production, allow the rest of your skincare routine to work better and, well, you get the picture.
Of course, your skin has its own pre-programmed way of shedding millions of dead skin cells every day – a process called desquamation – but things like aging and environmental damage slow this process down from around 28 days to as long as 80 days. And this is not good news. Slow, sluggish cell turnover means that instead of naturally sloughing away, dry, old skin cells get stuck at the surface causing your skin to look dull, patchy, congested and dehydrated.
So you get the picture that exfoliation is pretty important. Well, here’s the catch. Exfoliating your skin too hard or with high concentrations of super-potent ingredients will speed up cell turnover way too much. And this can totally upset your skin’s barrier function, stripping away important proteins and oils, leaving it open to irritation, breakouts, redness and stinging.
This is why it’s key to be gentle. If you like to use physical exfoliants like scrubs, cleansing brushes or facial mitts you should only ever use very light pressure, and avoid harsh tools and products that make your skin sting or hurt. On the other hand, if you prefer chemical exfoliants that harness the powers of hydroxy acids such as glycolic, salicylic and lactic acids, try to avoid super high concentrations and don’t attempt any kind of DIY mixology. Mixing and matching such potent ingredients is best left to the skincare professionals. Otherwise it inevitably does not end well.
2. Yes, You CAN Alternative Between Physical & Chemical Exfoliants
While we’re on the subject of physical and chemical exfoliation, the good news is you don’t have to choose between the two. Of course, you should never scrub your skin and then immediately apply a chemical exfoliant afterwards. Or even on the same day for that matter. This is completely over-egging the pudding, plus you know all that irritation we just spoke of? Well, double exfoliation is opening up the door for sore, sensitive skin.
However, you can certainly alternate between the two if you tread carefully and don’t overdo it. Just remember to stick to two or three times a week with your face scrub, then on alternate days, apply a gentle-on-the-skin chemical exfoliant.
And boy, have we got just the product for that!
Say hello to our new 6% AHA, BHA + PHA Liquid Exfoliant which is formulated with an incredible blend of glycolic acid (an AHA), salicylic acid (BHA) and gluconolactone (PHA). Together with vitamin C this fragrance-free, pH-balancing treatment has been specifically formulated to offer an effective way to increase skin turnover, with less of the irritation often associated with acid exfoliants. The key is the 6 percent sweet spot which we believe is just the right amount to care for all skin types – yes, even sensitive.
3. Cleansing Can Be Effective Before OR After Using Face Scrub
Exfoliating your skin with a physical scrub, washcloth or mitt should never replace your cleansing routine. In fact, you should still cleanse your skin whenever you exfoliate.
But should you do it beforehand or after exfoliating? Well, surprisingly you can do either.
Most skincare experts recommend cleansing before exfoliating because this helps remove surface debris like makeup, oils, sunscreen and sweat, allowing your exfoliator to really get to business straight from the off. However, doing the opposite lifts away those dead skin cells first which gives your cleanser a better chance to wash all that debris away.
In short, cleansing first allows for a deeper, more effective exfoliation, while exfoliating first gives you a better cleanse.
Of course, if you prefer chemical exfoliants like our new 6% AHA, BHA + PHA Liquid Exfoliant, this whole point is null and void. You must always apply chemical exfoliants to clean skin for the best results. End of discussion.
4. For Excellent Results, Exfoliate In The Morning
Never quite sure whether to exfoliate before bed or after you wake up? To be honest, any time of the day is good and it really depends on your skin type, needs and routine. However, if you really want to get the most out of your exfoliant, it can be better to use it in the morning.
During the night, your skin repairs and renews itself from the daily grind, leaving you with more dead skin cells to slough away come the morning. Also, most people apply their retinol treatment at night so over-stimulating your skin before using such a powerful product can increase the potential for irritation.
All this combines to, in our opinion, give morning exfoliation the win. And when you add in the fact that our 6% AHA, BHA + PHA Liquid Exfoliant contains skin brightening, free radical-fighting vitamin C to shield your skin from daily damage, it really is a no brainer.
5. Treat Your Exfoliant Like A Retinol Treatment
As previously mentioned, exfoliation isn't like cleansing, moisturizing and applying sunscreen, which should all be carried out on a strict, daily basis. In fact, one of the worst things you can do is to dive in head first, going from no exfoliation at all, to a vigorous scrub every morning.
As with retinol, proceed your exfoliation routine with caution. Start with a gentle product just once or twice a week (having patch tested any new product first, of course), then slowly build up to more frequent use as your skin acclimates. Depending on your skin type, you may be able to work up to daily exfoliation, alternating between scrubs and acids, or you may find your skin prefers a less frequent approach. Everyone’s skin is different so you’ll need to be the judge of that. Just remember, exfoliating shouldn’t sting, cause peeling, or make your skin look red.
And this applies to your body, just as much as your face and neck.
5 Of The Best Exfoliation Tips You Never Knew You Neededread more
Treating your skin with active ingredients and potent formulations is all well and good, but when does vigilant skincare become too much for your skin to cope with?
There are some incredible ingredients in skincare that have been trusted for decades to bring visible benefits to your precious skin. Retinol, vitamin C and glycolic acid are just three powerhouses that come to mind, all of which work hard to bring awesome, skin-changing results to the table.
But here’s the thing. Yes, these ingredients are fabulous and yes, when used correctly they can truly transform average skin into great skin – with regular use and a little side of patience, of course. However, there’s that certain something called ‘too much of a good thing.’ And when it comes to potent skincare, that 'thing' can turn into some real issues for your skin.
The main problem with overstimulating your skin is that your barrier function becomes compromised. Not sure what that means? Well, your skin’s barrier function is its uppermost layer (aka the stratum corneum) and it’s extremely important as it’s your body’s first line of defense from the outside world, keeping crucial moisture in and nasty irritants out.
When your barrier function is strong and working efficiently, it keeps your skin healthy, soft and supple. But if it gets screwed up – which can easily happen when you throw too many skincare ingredients at it – it’s unable to do its job properly. And this is where things start to go awry.
Read on for the most common signs you're working your barrier function too hard. And that it's unhappy as a consequence…
Your Skin Is Totally Breaking Out
Acne breakouts occur when overactive sebaceous glands produce an excessive amount of sebum (oil). This sebum then gets stuck in your pores where it mixes with bacteria and dead skin cells and results in a nasty old blockage. If this ‘plug’ of debris becomes inflamed it becomes a full-on zit, if not, it will usually result in a white or blackhead. None of which are welcome, if we’re honest.
Breakouts are generally thanks to your genes which determine your skin type and amount of oil your skin produces. However, certain factors can trigger the frequency, duration or angriness of your flare-ups. And overstimulating your skin is right up there with things like stress and your hormones.
The biggest offenders, in our opinion, are super astringent products that suck your skin dry and do no good whatsoever. Of course, it’s tempting to apply drying ingredients like harsh alcohols, and kick-ass surfactants like sodium lauryl sulfate to oily skin because it feels like the right thing to do. Mistake. This move just encourages your sebaceous glands to produce even more oil to try to counteract the dryness you’re enforcing on your poor complexion.
On the flipside, you don’t want to over-moisturize your skin, either. Certain ingredients in moisturizers will block your pores and trigger breakouts with lightning speed. These are called occlusives and include things like heavy oils and butters. So avoid these at all times – and that includes makeup as well as skincare.
Do This: Stick with a light, gentle moisturizing product like Vitamin C Brightening Moisturizer, combined with a balancing cleanser, gentle toner and a soothing facial serum like Tea Tree Super Serum+.
Your Face Looks Red & Feels A Bit Irritated
And one of the most common offenders? Exfoliation. Exfoliating your skin can feel like pure joy and, when done gently and not too often, it’s a great way to boost cellular turnover, encourage collagen production and make your skin look and feel glowy and healthy. But, and this is a pretty big but, exfoliating your skin too often and with a super heavy hand weakens your barrier function and strips away all of those important ceramides, fatty acids and essential nutrients from the surface of your skin. Frankly, this is the perfect recipe for irritation and facial redness.
If you’re guilty of exfoliating more than once or twice a week and have noticed your skin becoming more sensitized than normal, you need to rein it in posthaste.
Do This: Either reduce your frequency or switch to a milder formulation. Better yet, do both. We love our Ocean Minerals Super Toner which contains gentle chemical exfoliators to break down dead skin cells. Try this two or three times a week and see how you go. You can always move to daily as your skin calms down.
Dryness Has Become A Real Thing
Similar to your likelihood of getting acne, dry skin is something you’re born with. The good news, however, is that dryness can be controlled and balanced with the right skincare routine that concentrates on nurturing your skin and replacing the oils your skin often fails to product of its own accord.
Then there’s the wrong skincare routine – and this can have equally as profound results. Just not the ones you were hoping for.
What do we mean by the ‘wrong’ skincare routine. Well, for dry skin types, you have to avoid anything that’s going to exacerbate your dryness. And the biggest no-no for you? Potent cleansers that are big on sulfates, synthetic fragrances, parabens and harsh alcohol like ethanol and alcohol denat. Ingredients like oatmeal, rice milk, aloe vera and chamomile are way better friends for dry skin as they help nourish and protect your skin’s barrier function. Which, as you’ve probably realized by now, is the most important thing for reducing irritation and minimizing sensitivities.
Also, you really have to be careful with retinol because, while it’s the darling of skincare ingredients, retinol can be tricky to get right. Too much, too often can make dry skin conditions so much worse – especially if you go in like a bull in a china shop, not patch testing first, or applying it too frequently.
Do This: If you’ve recently started a new retinol product, pare it back immediately, reducing how often you apply to once or twice a week until your dryness improves. You should also swap your cleanser for something that'll nourish and protect your barrier function. Our new Soothing Cleansing Milk is literally made for dry, sensitive skin, since you asked.
Your Skin Feels Tight, Itchy & Uncomfortable
Quick refresher: dry skin is a skin type that's thanks to an absence of oils, whereas dehydration is more of a condition and due to a lack of water in the skin. Alongside cold weather conditions, pollution, stress and medications, one of the main causes of dehydration is over-exfoliation or over-stimulation with active skincare ingredients. How so? Because these break down your skin’s barrier function making it unable to effectively retain water.
Thankfully, dehydration is a temporary issue and one that can most definitely be dealt with. You just need to figure out what you’re doing that’s causing your dehydrated skin and work on that first and foremost. Chronic use of highly potent ingredients like prescription retinoids, for example, can be major offenders, as can overexposure to the sun. Then you need to manipulate your skincare routine to ensure it’s working hard to boost water in the epidermis while simultaneously reducing moisture loss from the surface of your skin.
Do This: Simplify your routine and introduce a daily hydrating serum that helps amp up your skin's moisture content. Hyaluronic Acid Facial Serum is a great addition and ideal for sensitized skin. Just remember, you must always apply moisturizer on top to seal in hydration. You could also try our awesome new Multi-Vitamin Facial Serum which combines everything you need for a healthier barrier function – minus the irritation.
Are You Working Your Skin Way Too Hard?read more
Turns out Cleopatra’s favorite milk baths might not have been such a wild idea, after all.
Milk for dry skin? Yes, word on the street is that the white stuff could be the answer to all your dry skin woes…
It’s fair to say that dry skin can be a real nuisance. And if you have it, you won’t need reminding of the many frustrations that come with dealing with dryness and flaking skin – especially on your face. Sure, oily skin comes with its own set of bugbears but, given the choice, it would win the ‘would you rather?’ argument every time.
You see, the thing with dry skin (medical term: xeroderma) is that it often comes with other frustrations like itching, redness, tightness, sensitivities and dehydration. Why is that? Well, dry skin has fewer sebaceous glands than other skin types. And sebaceous glands are super-important for the health of your skin because they produce sebum which contains all manner of fatty acids, wax esters, squalene and triglycerides to lubricate the skin, protect it from outside aggressors and help it retain water. As we said, important stuff.
Unlike oily and combination skin which both contain their fair share of sebaceous glands, dry skin is genetically lacking in these essential oil producers. Hence the dryness. And that’s not all. Thanks to a poorly functioning protective barrier, dry skin is also kind of bad at retaining moisture which means it has a tendency to become dehydrated and easily irritated. Then when you chuck things like harsh soaps and hot showers at it? Well, you’ve got a recipe for disaster on your hands. Sigh.
But it’s not all bad news because there are tons of ways to help treat and protect dry skin. Moisturizer, for one thing, is the single most important product anyone with dry skin can have up their sleeves, and ingredients like glycerin, hyaluronic acid, shea butter and jojoba oil can be total lifesavers.
There’s also a lesser-known ingredient that’s been steadily making its way back onto the beauty shelves and is already making headlines for its ability to care so awesomely for dry skin: milk.
Milk & Your Skin: The Facts
As an alleged devotee to bathing in sour milk, we have to salute the Egyptian queen Cleopatra for knowing her skincare stuff way before her time. Because milk is not only powerful and natural, but it’s truly effective.
So what’s the deal and why is it so damn good for your skin? Well, milk contains tons of exfoliating and nourishing compounds including minerals, vitamins, acids and antioxidants. One of its biggest plus points? Lactic acid. Like glycolic acid, lactic acid is an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA), a naturally hydrating and exfoliating acid that dissolve the bonds between skin cells to encourage all those unsightly, no-longer-wanted dead ones to slough away. Skin needs gentle exfoliation every now and again because dead skin cells have a tendency to hang around longer than necessary, especially as you get older when cell turnover becomes slow and sluggish. And while harsh scrubs and potent glycolic acid can be too much for dry skin, lactic acid is the best of both worlds, gently removing the dead stuff while caring for your complexion and revealing all that plump, deliciously fresh skin.
However, in our modern world, milk is no longer just milk and given that many people are vegan or lactose-intolerant, it’s important to know that plant-based options like rice and oat milk are just as good, if not better for looking after your dry skin.
Oat Milk: The Soothing Treatment
Undoubtedly the most popular of the dairy-free milk alternatives, oat milk has similar soothing, calming and antioxidant effects as its cousin, colloidal oatmeal – another commonly used ingredient in skincare. Made purely from oats and water, its antioxidant benefits are great for warding off environmental skin damage from the daily wear and tear of UV radiation, pollution and the like, while its soothing effects are perfect for reducing irritation and helping to calm dry skin.
Oat milk also has anti-inflammatory properties so may help skin conditions like eczema and rosacea. Oh, and it acts like a humectant, drawing water to the surface of the skin to help keep it hydrated and healthy. Impressive stuff, right?
Rice Milk: The Skin Brightener
While oat milk wins the popularity contest, rice milk is not to be dismissed. Because it's good. Like, really good. In fact, rice milk boasts a whole bunch of skin benefits, not least of which is it ability to help brighten and even out your skin tone while calming the skin and reducing the visible appearance of dark spots. It does this thanks to its natural astringent properties, coupled with its abundance of niacin which is known to have gentle whitening effects.
Rice milk is also packed with free radical-fighting antioxidants (bonus!), plus it contains a vitamin-like component called inositol which helps moisturize the skin and supports healthy collagen production.
Say Hello To New TruSkin Soothing Cleansing Milk!
Hopefully you now understand just how effective milk can be for protecting, nourishing and soothing dry skin. So where’s all this leading? Well, after listening to you and realizing that, while our cleansing line-up is downright awesome, it’s been missing something specifically tailored to dry skin, we spent hours (more like months!) in the lab formulating an exciting new cleansing milk that cares for your skin without leaving it feeling tight and dry.
And our Soothing Cleansing Milk is finally here! Suitable for all skin types, but specifically created for dry and sensitive skin, this cleansing milk is soothing and lightweight, whipping away make-up, dirt and debris while leaving your skin feeling super soft, nourished, hydrated and comfortable. Bursting with both oat and rice milk (because one’s just not good enough for you!) it also contains hyaluronic acid for extra hydration and its soft, milky texture is one you really cannot miss.
Click here to check out the full details and try out new Soothing Cleansing Milk for yourself – trust us, you won’t regret it!
Could Milk Be The Solution For Your Dry Skin?read more