Remember how even, smooth, and blemish-free your skin was back in elementary school? When it was gleaming—pre-hormones, pre-stress, pre-alcohol—and overflowing with youth? When the extent of your skincare routine was washing your face with the bar of soap in your parents’ bathroom?
Now, we’re dealing with “adult skin,” and are caught in a nasty cycle of needing this cream to fix this and this serum to fix that. The beauty industry has given a lot of people a second chance at having “younger you” skin. Its products have healed, repaired, evened, and plumped. A miracle, no? (I, for one, am beyond grateful for the salicylic acid variations that got me through last week’s breakout.) But for many, perhaps those layers of products have stifled their pores (and confused the heck out of them!), doing more harm than good. I have a sneaking suspicion that this might be the new issue our generation is going to be dealing with.
Here’s what to do if you feel like your skincare routine is causing more damage than curing it:
Remember not to mix too many active products. Many serums, cleansers, and treatments feature active ingredients like BHA, AHA, lactic acid, salicylic acid, the list goes on. Layering them—or even washing your face with one and applying the other—can cause over-drying, resulting in increased oil production, and, as a result, blemishes. Hydrating actives, like hyaluronic acid, combined with a heavy moisturizer or oil can, can cause clogging—also resulting in blemishes. Even though bottles say they will “hydrate,” “luminize,” and “manage” your skin, mixing them all together might do just the opposite.
Double cleanse to remove everything. If you have your layering down to a science, then consider double cleansing. Washing your face twice, first with an oil-based cleanser and then with a regular cleanser, will truly send whatever’s on your face down the sink drain—rather than letting it build up on your skin. If products don’t get washed off thoroughly, they could clog up your pores. And we all know what that leads to…
All products take at least two months to show true results. Give your products time to work. It’s not realistic to see overnight results with anything, so try and keep this in mind on your journey to finding the right products. Also, keep an eye on your skin and how it reacts to certain formulas so you know what to keep using and what to avoid. Though it’s tempting to buy multiple serums and wear them all at the same time, you’re just not going to get the results you want.
Ultimately, everyone’s skin is different so what works for some may not work for others. However, if you are finding yourself at a skin plateau or rough patch, remember: maybe less is more.