How to fix your skin when it’s freaking out

In the last 6 months, my skin has been all over the place. Luckily I’m coming out the other side now, but I’ve picked up a few tips to help anyone else who is on a rollercoaster with their skin. If you’re here for a quick fix, then sorry, but you’re not going to find that here… or anywhere. Your skin doesn’t work like that. But if you are looking for some changes that you can make to your routine that should benefit your skin, then keep reading!

I should mention that, though it was never looked at by a dermatologist, I suspect I had a damaged skin barrier. I think it came from using a few strong chemical exfoliants and then made worse by the fact that I didn’t realise what was happening and tried to carry on as if everything was fine testing out new products. I had dry areas of skin that felt tight and breakouts on the lower half of my face (chin, around my mouth, jaw) that couldn’t often be seen, but then a few would get really big and come to a head (and not disappear for weeks).

The below worked for *ME*. This advice is mainly focused towards others who have a damaged/compromised skin barrier. I can’t guarantee that it will work for you, but I do feel that there are some key pieces of advice that *should* be a pretty universal take away from all this.

Strip back your routine

We spoke a little while back about the Skincare Diet (all the info in the link), but in short, it’s about realising sometimes long routines can do more harm than good. When it comes to finding what is irritating your skin, obviously the longer the routine, the more chance there is for irritation. When your skin is in freak out mode, it’s recommended to strip your routine right back to cleanser, moisturiser and SPF (for day time) – AKA the essentials. Not what you consider essential, but the actual essentials of keeping your skin clean, moisturised and protected. This might be a bit of a painful thought for you skincare addicts out there (as it was for me at the start), but your skin needs to focus on repairing.

Be gentle

Please, for the love of all that is good, don’t go in hard thinking babyfacial will fix your damaged skin. Likely story is that it won’t. Do not start hammering your skin with physical or chemical exfoliators, hold the retinol and leave the vitamin C for a little while. If your skin barrier is compromised, the last thing it needs is you doing even more harm under the illusion you’re doing some good.

Cut out irritants

Ingredients that previously never affected your skin may be causing some irritation. The key (possibly) irritating ingredients to cut out are essential oils, artificial fragrance (as well as Linalool and Limonene) and bad alcohols. If you’re ever in doubt about the ingredients of a product you’re using, I’d suggest heading to the incidecoder website – it’s really clear about which ingredients are possible irritants as marked by a yellow exclamation mark. If you have cut out all the typical ingredients and you’re still seeing some irritation, then it’s time to look at other ingredients that you could have an issue with. For me, I found that products containing niacinamide were also irritating my skin, so I had to cut anything out that contains that too.

Load up on good ingredients

When you skin is looking to repair, more simple ingredients decks seem to be the way forward (without the aforementioned irritants). However, it’s important to add in some saviour ingredients that will help to calm and heal irritated or damaged skin. The big one to add in is ceramides. They help to reinforce your skin’s moisture barrier (a damaged moisture barrier is a common cause of irritation) and increase hydration. Other good ingredients are Aloe, Niacinamide (if you’re a normal person), Centella Asiatica and Green Tea to just name a few.

Most importantly, give it time

Time really is the best healer. While we may want quick results, it’s just not always possible. The epidermis (the top layer of the skin) takes 12 weeks to repair itself, so cutting down your routine for a week and then adding it all back in so quickly will not help you out. Give yourself time to heal. You might not have the brightest, glowiest skin during this time but your skin will be on the mend. The aim of the game is to reduce irritation, in what ever form it is for you.

Don’t go back to your old ways too fast

When things start to go back to normal and your skin stops being so reactive/sensitive/dry, please don’t add all your products back in immediately. Tread carefully and add things back in slowly, just as you would do when you’re trying new products. Add a new product and wait for 3 or 4 days to see how your skin reacts. If you have no reaction, then you would be okay to add more in. But think about what your skin actually needs, rather than just adding in heaps of products because they’re trendy or because you used them before your skin freakout. If you’ve survived this long on a basic routine, you can go a bit longer without your 10 step routine. Ease yourself back in with gentler acids and use them more infrequently than you would have done before. Add things in very cautiously and up things very slowly. We don’t want to undo all our good work!

It took my skin 3 months to stop breaking out at the tiniest change to my routine. I’m feeling hopeful that my skin is on the mend, but I’m not going to risk it and overload it with new products! I’m going to still try and avoid the bulk of irritants for the near future if possible just to play it safe. Let me know how you get on!

Xo

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Do you need to put yourself on a skincare diet?

Usually in the new year, people turn their attention to their lifestyle – to start moving more and eating better. But what about a skincare diet? Maybe you’ve tried every product under the sun and yet your skin goals remain elusive. Or maybe your 10 step K beauty routine just isn’t delivering the same results anymore. Perhaps it’s time you went on a skincare diet.

There are so many different types of products, with an offering from each brand, that the merry-go-round of trying out new products never ends. But do you really need them all? Let’s be real, every single one of us has bought at least one product based on someone else’s recommendation that was a total flop. Can you hand on heart accredit a change in your skin to every single product in your day-to-day routine, or do some of them just fly under the radar – not really performing but a ‘nice addition’?

The glamour surrounding the multi-step Korean routine that exploded a few years ago is starting to dwindle. The pendulum has swung back towards simplicity- the anti-thesis to the over-complicated K beauty regime. Even the Koreans have moved away from an excessively long routine, so surely it can’t be long before the rest of the world follows suit.

The premise of the skincare diet is simple: by having these long routines, we can actually cause more damage than good. We can overuse active ingredients, use products that don’t agree with our skin and cause irritation, be that in the form of redness, sensitivity or breakouts. The solution? Strip your routine straight back, to just cleanser, moisturiser and SPF.

Krave Beauty recently started the #PressResetChallenge which is exactly what has been mentioned above – streamlining the process to just cleanser, moisturiser and SPF in order to better evaluate what your skin actually needs. The initial 15 days are to heal any irritation, regulate the skin and to take note of how it’s reacting to the minimal routine. After 15 days, you assess what your skin is craving (not what you want to add back, but what your skin actually needs in addition to the basics). This should allow us to have a much greater understanding of our skin, its needs, our goals and how we can reach them. This could also place greater emphasis and encourage greater education about key ingredients and the wonders they can work for our skin.Β 

Liah Yoo was always at the forefront of the skincare diet movement, so it’s great to see that she is using her brand’s platform to further educate her consumers and fans of the brand on the importance of stepping back from their shelfies and really focusing on what is needed. It encourages people to declutter their collections and donate products that are wasting away unusued to those that will enjoy them more.

Looking at the #PressReset/skincare diet movement in a greater context, it links in well with the no buy/low buy movement and goes against the tide of beauty releases. It encourages you to follow a simple routine and stick to it, rather than trying every product just because your friend told you it’s the best thing since sliced bread. Even skincare experts like Susan Yara (see Mixed Makeup on Youtube) have pledged to streamline their routine – even they can recognise the excess! Beauty in general this year is taking a step back towards simplicity and it can only be a good thing.

So, does this sound like something you need? Now this may not be a solution to your problems depending on what they are, but it may offer an insight into your current routine. By slimming your routine down and slowly adding things back in, it can help to identify triggers of any irritation you might have.

This is actually something I’ve been trying myself and I’ve seen a reduction in irritation and breakouts. I’ve been using a moisturiser that’s packed with ceramides to repair my skin barrier and it’s been working an absolute treat. I’ve been doing it the whole of January I might keep it going for a little longer!

Do you think you need a skincare diet?

Xo

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