By Sarah Jio
I’ve been writing about health and beauty for most of my career, so it’s not an exaggeration when I say that I’ve tried everything. Seriously, I’ve accumulated enough lotions and potions, serums, and mud masks to fill every last spare inch of my bathroom (or at the very least, to sink a small ship). I love skincare—so sue me! Still, the new year brings new goals, and I’ll admit, it’s probably time to do a bit of purging, pruning, and revamping when it comes to my skincare regimen (oh, and also I might be buying a few new products!).
Here are the top four changes I’m making:
Yep, my product haul has gotten a bit out of control. Guilty as charged. While, historically, I’ve enjoyed the abundance and variety, lately I’ve been finding it a bit … overwhelming. In fact, just the other day, I reached for a new “moisturizing” mask only to realize, four minutes later when my face began to burn like it was on fire, that it was actually a … hair mask. (Facepalm.) It took an hour for the inflammation to finally go down (thank you aloe vera gel), and mere minutes for me to realize that it’s high time I Maria Kondo my skincare collection. I mean, how many eye creams does a girl really need? In case you’re not an MK devotee like I am, here’s a quick cheat sheet on her brilliant method:
1.) Dump all your stuff on the ground, and I mean everything.
2.) Sort by like items (eye creams go here, face masks go there, etc.),
3.) Examine each thing and only save what “sparks joy.” For me, that meant tossing lots of expired jars of goo and ditching products I never really liked in the first place, even if they were famous brands. I wound up giving my mom and sister two huge boxes and feeling like a weight had been lifted. Now, when I get up each morning, I only see the products I love and use daily.
Confession, I have a long history of overdoing it with my skincare, and it’s not just that I use too many products. I can also be a little, well, heavy-handed—scrubbing too hard, trying at-home chemical peels (a big no-no), and generally waging a war on my skin. Things got so bad last year that I ended up with irritated, rashy cheeks, and it was not pretty.
A visit to my dermatologist confirmed that I’d actually damaged my skin’s protective barrier. Yikes!
It took a few months of gentle care to get back to normal, but this year, I’m not letting that happen again. One way to make sure of that is trying a technique that’s popular among beauty bloggers and YouTubers: ditching the a.m. face wash. I know, it sounds like heresy, right? That’s what we do in the morning. We wash our faces. But, apparently, a growing number of people (experts too) say that it may make more sense to skip this step. Aside from the time-saving factor (always a plus), skipping the morning wash may do wonders for your skin’s barrier. Now I wake up and simply mist my face with my favorite CoQ-10 Toner from Indie Lee, before following with my usual skincare routine. So far, my skin is loving it!
One of the things I can say with confidence is that I’ve really learned (by trial and error … and tons of research) what works and what doesn’t when it comes to fighting acne. I had (mostly) clear skin my entire life, until my thirties when hormonal acne hijacked my chin. It wasn’t severe, but I hated it and wanted it gone. In my quest to find solutions, I learned to ignore the fads and trendy products and focus on what really works. For me, that means tackling the random acne flair up by getting back to the basics rather than throwing a ton of products on an unwelcomed zit. My game plan:
1.) Keep my pillowcases clean. I’ve noticed that my skin always does better when I change my pillowcase every day or so (rather than weekly), and also when I wash them with unscented detergent.
2.) Wash my makeup brushes every few days. I know, it’s a pain, but it makes a huge difference. Those unassuming brushes can harbor gazillions of acne-causing bacteria. Gross!
3.) Target breakouts gently, and with a secret weapon. Rather than layer on the acids and masks and drying gels, I just wash my face and opt for a hydrating treatment serum like Dr. Zenovia’s Hyaluronic Acid + Peptide Serum which has a patented complex called “Reg-ulate360” that helps to balance out angry pores and is particularly effective at banishing hormonal acne (the devil). It might sound weird to moisturize acne-prone skin, but in many cases, that’s what inflamed skin needs most: moisture!
Isn’t it funny how our skin is our largest organ, and yet we tend to focus almost all of our care and attention on our faces? Aside from using a little lotion here or there, do you do much else to boost the health and radiance of the skin on your body? Most of us have lots of room for improvement (including me), and I was so excited to hear about Dr. Dennis Gross’s new power product for the body.
You know him as the creator of the Alpha Beta Peel Pads that I swear by for even, glowy skin, but his newest product, the Alpha Beta Exfoliating Body Treatment, targets the body with a special once-a-week formulation for thicker skin on legs, arms, chest and beyond. I’m adding this to my “Skincare Sunday” routine (which, FYI, also includes a bath and a glass of wine).