So your skin is an unhappy camper.
Maybe you’re getting a ton of breakouts, or suddenly your cheeks are red and irritated, or your skin just looks matte and dull and sullen.
Maybe you’re forehead is tight and your nose is flaky, or maybe the opposite and you’re the oiliest you’ve ever been.
“I need a new skincare regimen!” you exclaim.
And hey, you might be right.
But first, let’s look at some factors that might be contributing to your grumpy complexion that have nothing to do with topical skincare.
Track your breakouts. Do they happen just before or the first few days of your period? Did you just start a new hormonal contraceptive? Breakouts that stem from hormonal fluctuations (usually found on the chin and jaw) are very normal! And sadly not super preventable.
However, healthy skin rebounds faster and will heal the breakout quickly, so take care of your skin all month long and these once a month eruptions will leave as quickly as they come. (A good spot treatment never hurt anyone though…)
Is it a side effect of any medication you might be on? Did you just finish a round of antibiotics? Any disruption to your internal ecosystem can show up on your skin. Focus on your gut health with probiotics and drink LOTS of water to help bring your body back to it’s happy place.
Some medication can suppress your immune system and/or cause inflammation, and pimples are just an inflammatory immune response to a teeny tiny infection in your pore. So focus on giving your body what it needs to get back to it’s best self before you dump money on skincare.
3. WATER INTAKE
Your skin is 64% water and needs constant internal hydration in order to be at it’s best. No matter how expensive your moisturizer is, it can’t compensate for lack of water from INSIDE the body. Dehydration leads to inflammation, which is your skin's major enemy (you’ll hear me talk about inflammation a lot, so just ride with me) and leaves it ill-equipped to handle environmental stressors.
Drink. More. Water. (I'm serious)
Your skin does most of its regenerating at night, but you have to be asleep for that to happen. And for a long time.
A study in the journal Clinical and Experimental Dermatology found that people who slept seven to nine hours a night had skin that was not only better hydrated, but that could also protect and heal itself better after being exposed to UV light compared to those who slept five hours or less.
Blood flow to the skin in your face is highest during sleep as well, which is why your skin looks more lively and rosy after a good night's sleep. So don’t miss out on this killer opportunity!!
Now, this is still highly anecdotal in regards to evidence, but a lot of people say they have a reduction in breakouts and redness when they cut certain foods.
Dairy, wheat and refined sugar are usually what people claim to be the most helpful to eliminate, but any food that causes inflammation in your system or that could contain hormones are possible culprits.
I mostly see it from a holistic perspective in the sense that your skin is an organ that is part of your body’s ecosystem. If you’re not feeding your body with the foods it needs to be well, it will show up everywhere, including your skin.
I will just say that I'm not willing to comment on dietary supplements, vitamins, powders or elixirs that say they can improve your hair or skin. I'd need to see some studies, but these industries are unregulated so I always recommend doing your own independent research, which means looking for journals and studies, and not articles published or sponsored by people who sell supplements (lol) I can't even find two articles that agree on whether or not adding collagen to your coffee will denature the collagen and render it useless, so this whole area is up to your discretion.
Oiy, the S-Word. The drain on your system that comes from stress is immense, and your skin doesn't get away unscathed. Stress makes your body pump out a hormone called Cortisol which, among other things, tells your skin to increase oil production. It also suppresses your immune system, which can cause all sorts of conditions to flare up. Eczema, psoriasis, cold sores to name a few. But if all that extra oil gives you a breakout, your reduced immune system isn't as available to squash it.
The effect of the mind and mood on skin is becoming such an area of interest, there is now a branch of study called psychodermatology.
So yeah, it's a thing.
Ah, the dreaded maskne. Or if you don’t get the breakouts, maybe your skin is just red and inflamed from the constant friction. If you’re able to, switch to a 100% silk mask with a replaceable filter pocket (we carry some beautiful locally made ones). Silk is a highly effective mask material and is gentle on the skin.
Whatever mask you use, make sure you're changing it and washing it frequently and with hypoallergenic detergent so you don’t irritate the skin with the soap you use.
These are the major players at work behind the scenes to either help or hinder the health and appearance of your skin.
Until you're able to commit at least a LITTLE bit to getting them in order, there’s only so much topical skincare can do for you.
Did you know you may not actually know your real skin type until these areas have been sorted out?
It's hard to know what kind of skincare products you need until you know how your skin behaves without all the above stressors interfering with it's natural function. So try and tackle one of these things at a time.
Because healthy skin does truly start from the inside out!