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Article: Stressed skin? Less is always more….

Stressed skin? Less is always more….

If a little is good, then more is better! Right? Wrong!

As we’ve said many (many!) times before, when we are stressed, we feel it in just about every inch of our bodies. There’s no doubt that having a calm mind can lead to calm skin (see our previous blog topic on this). If our stress levels become too much for us to manage,  we’ll see the impact on our complexion with signs of dryness, flaking, redness and irritated, itchy skin which are all signs of a weakened skin barrier. For some reason however, our natural mental response can be to overload it with products as a way to ‘help’ our skin. We can find ourselves drawn to the, ‘I’ll just try this one to see if it will help” and then before we know if we’ve used layer upon layer of serums, moisturisers, cleansers and toners until our skin literally can’t breathe!! We end up overburdening the skin and weighing it down when it’s already under pressure. 

Here’s a few common mistakes we need to be aware of so we know when to take a ‘less is more’ approach to our skin:

Overloading on active ingredients

The term ‘active ingredient’ refers to ingredients in products that are actively targeting a specific skin issue whether that be pigmentation, ageing, acne etc, and will lead to physical changes in your skin. Whilst active ingredients can be incredibly effective, the types of active products being used together and how often can potentially be problematic for your face and can lead to redness, itching and irritated skin. Overuse of active ingredients like glycolic or salicylic acid and retinol can cause these kinds of skin problems, especially when combined with an exfoliant. The amount of product you apply also matters, not only for your skin type, but also for your wallet. Applying more active skin care products more often, won’t get you results quicker. It will however impair your skin barrier and that is exactly what we want to avoid. 

We all experience different skin conditions due to the fact that our skin has a variety of different needs. Our focus is to help support skin function so that it can find its way back to being balanced.  For example, if you are experiencing dry skin, using a vitamin C with a retinol will be overly drying. Same goes with using a retinol and a chemical exfoliant. If I experience irritation on my skin (we all get it from time to time, no matter how well we know our skin!), I will make sure I use the correct type of active ingredients to help support and heal my skin.  With any type of break out / acne or irritation, I would suggest avoiding the use of active serums as this could aggravate it more. By refining your skincare routine, you step out of the way to allow your skin to do what it does best - heal and regenerate. My go to is always our i am [radiant] active moisturiser as it has healing properties that help balance and normalise the skin barrier which is vital to protect the skin from external pathogens. 

Not changing our skin routine dependant upon the season

As the seasons change, so do the needs of our skin. What our skin can tolerate in humid, hot summer months might be too much for skin that becomes dehydrated from indoor heating during the winter months, so the skin will have to work harder to maintain adequate hydration. It really is a case of getting to know your skin and what works for you across each season. Any signs of redness, irritation or acne is a sign that your skin   barrier is not functioning optimally. If your skin is reacting in any way from a change of seasons, sometimes giving it time to adjust to its new environment without overloading it with different products is a sensible and mindful way to help with the adjustment. Again, a qualified skin therapist can help you to assess and manage all the changes your skin will inevitably experience throughout the  seasons. 

Having shiny, oily or tight skin

Exfoliation definitely has its benefits, but only when it is done correctly. Over-exfoliated skin may look shiny, even if it’s not oily at all. That’s because over-exfoliated skin has lost too many surface skin cells from its top layer (stratum corneum), which gives it that shiny effect. This may sound good in theory, but it’s actually not a good thing for your skin to be too smooth. That top layer of skin is incredibly important as it protects us from outside nasties and pathogens as well as keeping it waterproof, helps fights off infections and ‘communicates’ with the outside world and reacts accordingly. 

Also, if your skin stings, feels tight and dry, and looks red, you might have burned the surface. It could be a chemical burn from too many chemical exfoliants, or a “rub burn” from exfoliation and scrubbing too much, or even a sunburn (especially if you’ve been using retinol / AHA’s without wearing sunscreen). Using heavy AHAs at home should only be done 1x a month - but ideally done in a clinic environment where the therapist is focused on really watching and listening to the skin's reactions and is able to interpret the best treatment protocol for the skin at that time. I would always recommend seeing a skin professional who can properly assess your skin, talk you through ingredients and provide you with information on what will be best suited to you. Feel free to shoot me through any queries you have angels, and I will always try and help! 

As always, feel free to contact us with any questions or feedback - our ears are always open and we love to hear from you! Do you want to know more about the ingredients in our products? Do you want to know any more skincare tips for example? Let us know so that we can cover these in our future blog topics!

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