Skin freaking out? It might be time to chill on the 10-step routine.
With the inclination to healthier lifestyle, choosing ‘cleaner’ beauty products and leaving less of an impact on the earth with our consumer choices, some routines and approaches have increasingly gained favour.
Among them is the popularity of a ‘detox’. While in the past it referred to giving up – or at least having a break from – particularly unhealthy vices, these days, when it’s bandied about referring to skin, it’s probably more appropriate to call it a ‘reset’.
That’s because although it’s the body’s largest organ, and is incredibly clever at protecting us and providing a barrier for external environmental particles that can cause damage, skin can’t ‘detox’ from the inside out. That’s primarily the role of our kidneys and liver.
However, there are times when even though you’ve been following a fairly consistent skincare routine, your skin decides to have a little freakout and present you with all manner of challenges. Here are some signs it might be worth considering pressing Ctrl Alt Del on your skin approach and trying a reset/detox:
- Your once go-to products stop having the impact they used to
Sometimes there’s no rhyme or reason to why your skin acts up. You might be seeing congestion in areas you usually have none, skin looks dull and does not have the translucence you desire, or fine lines are looking far more entrenched than they used to be.
- Your life becomes a little rollercoaster-y and caring for your skin takes a back seat
Unexpected stress can have a big impact on the appearance of your skin, just at the time you don’t need another thing to worry about. Breakouts are the most common but can turn up as hives, itchy or dry skin, eczema, sensitivity and dark circles and bags under the eyes.
- You change environments and your skin has to deal with some new issues
If you suddenly go from a small town to inner city living, you might see some changes. We now know environmental issues go beyond UV exposure when it comes to our complexion: particulate pollution also causes pigment changes and wrinkles. The biggest culprits are soot and petrol and diesel exhaust.
- Your once hardy skin now is sensitive and reactive
If you now get stinging, heat and flushing or unexpected rashes it could be a sign you’re using too many active products.
WHAT TO DO:
Scale it back: Simplify your routine and use bland but hydrating products that will coddle skin without making it jump through hoops. Pick a simple cream or gel cleanser and a gentle moisturiser designed for sensitive skin. We like the ranges from La Roche-Posay and Avene when skin is acting up. Once you start seeing improvements you can slowly add back in other products one by one over time.
Cleanse effectively: This step is really important when it comes to ridding environmental pollution from your skin, and where you will see brands promoting products with ingredients like charcoal, but any gentle cleanser is better than none. Even better, if you wear a lot of makeup try undertaking a double cleanse with an oil and then gel or cream cleanser.
See an expert: If the challenges persist longer than 12 weeks, consider seeing a skin expert that can offer suggestions on helpful products as well as treatments like targeted facials or light therapy to tackle your specific issues.
Consider dietary changes: While there are plenty of disagreements about how much impact things like sugar and alcohol have on skin, it is proven prioritising a healthy, balanced diet with lots of vegetables, leafy greens, healthy fats like salmon and avocados and plenty of water can contribute to improving your overall well being and in turn result in clearer, brighter skin.
Protect yourself: While you’re taking steps to remedy your skin issues, it’s really important to protect it from even more environmental stress. That means using barrier-building skincare (look for ceramides) and always, always applying a broad spectrum SPF – even better, one that also has antioxidants – before leaving the house in the morning.
Words: Megan Bedford