The below is a great extract from ‘Mind Body Green’ written by Amy Chang (2018). It really highlights the importance of a strong skin barrier. For years I personally suffered from hormonal adult acne. Having dry skin meant that the products I was using to treat breakouts were making my dry skin worse …and the products to (supposedly) nourish my dry skin were increasing my breakouts. I was suffering from product overload and a severely compromised skin barrier.
The breakthrough for me came after I switched skincare products. I was then able to fortify my skins natural moisture barrier. This meant my skin became more resilient, less prone to irritation, and had fewer breakouts.
Extract below from Mind Body Green 2018
Note: The author Amy Chang is a Los Angeles-based influencer and founder of BOND EN AVANT, a beauty and wellness blog dedicated to sharing her journey exploring nontoxic skin care and makeup etc
The Skin Care Routine That Helped Clear My Adult Acne
If you get a pimple or two, is your first reaction to reach for something drying? It was always mine. But somehow, every time I approached treating my adult acne this way, all it did was make things worse. Much worse. I couldn’t understand why these prescriptions and products marketed as “acne treatments” weren’t working and were actually exacerbating the situation. I figured maybe I hadn’t found the right one. So, one after the other, I tried them all, desperately hoping one would work. Finally, after almost a decade of riding the acne roller coaster, I discovered how to clear up my adult acne. The first and most important step was realizing my acne was not a result of excess oil but rather dry skin, inflammation, and a disrupted skin barrier.
The Importance of a Strong Skin Barrier
‘The Acne Answer: A Step-by-Step Guide to Clear, Healthy Skin’, written by organic skin care founder and chemist Marie Veronique, was actually instrumental in bringing this understanding to light. In her book, Marie breaks down the importance of strengthening the skin’s barrier and rebalancing its microbiome, which many acne sufferers have severely—and unknowingly—disrupted due to prescription topicals, preservatives (i.e., parabens, phthalates) that can have microbiome and endocrine-disrupting capabilities, and overcleansing or overexfoliating the skin.
“With the skin microbiome,” she explained to me in our interview, “if you use a topical antibiotic for instance, clindamycin, it will kill all of the bacteria on your skin, disrupting the balance. It may work for a while, but once you stop, the bacteria can come back with a vengeance and can be very difficult to treat. We have been taught that when you start getting a breakout, you must use oil-free products, that you want to cleanse to get rid of the bacteria, but all you’re doing is drying out the skin, stripping it of the oils that are actually going to help keep your skin microbiome in balance and creating dry skin, which may invite more pathogenic bacteria to overcolonize. What started out as a little problem can quickly become a large problem.”
What finally worked to heal my cystic acne
Upon learning this from Marie, I decided to make an effort to avoid harmful synthetic preservatives and began employing a skin care routine aimed at strengthening my skin’s barrier and rebalancing its microbiome. Within weeks, my skin drastically improved.
Key tips to take away:-
Focus on reducing inflammation.
Even (adult) breakouts are commonly ‘inflammation’ in need of soothing, not something to overstrip and dry out. Re think your skincare products as you may be doing more harm than good!
Cleansing needs to be about removing impurities, without the use of harsh surfactants -which strip our skins natural (and beneficial) moisture. Two great options are R+F Soothe Gentle Cream Wash or Redefine Daily Cleansing Mask (with Koalin Clay). Click here to find out more or purchase.
Gentle physical exfoliation
Exfoliation is absolutely essential in every skincare regime because it sloughs off a whole layer of dry, dead skin cells (causing dullness). This allows other products to then work more effectively. HOWEVER there’s a catch;- Most of the granulated exfoliants on the market are very harsh. In fact it is not uncommon for them to have apricot seeds (pits) as an ingredient. The small sharp edges can easily create micro-tears in the delicate lipid barrier, allowing distress. This is not something we want to experience.
One of my favourite products is the R+F Micro-Dermabrasion Paste. This dermatologically developed product features Vitamins C & E + ‘sugar granules’ that melt away leaving the skin silky-smooth.
Ideally, an exfoliant should only be used 1-2 times per week instead of cleanser. To purchase click here.
For information on certain problematic skin issues please visit:-
😌 Victoria Isherwood (Registered Nurse – Skincare)
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