I’ll be frank and tell you that one of my biggest pet peeves is when someone blames their skin care for their breakouts. There is a small chance that your skincare isn’t working with your skin’s current condition but about 90% of the time it’s not the problem. Our skin is such a powerful organ with the ability to heal itself so breakouts are simply just a signal of what is happening within.
I want to help you try to understand this concept but I also don’t want to shame you in your health habits. It’s a fine line that I dance as an esthetician because I can always tell if you’ve had a cigarette, one too many margaritas or if you forgot to take your makeup off. Don’t even try to lie to me about picking your skin because skin doesn’t heal up in a scab like that. However regardless of my ability to use your skin as a guide I don’t get the authority of a doctor to tell you to change. Yet somehow I get all the blame if someone isn’t happy with their skin. When this comes up I don’t get upset, I just get reminded of the lack of understanding out there. Most people run around to several practitioners and take the solution that;
A) requires the least amount of work.
B) shifts the blame and allows you to avoid taking accountability.
Don't get me wrong, I do it too.
I’ll be nice about it but I won’t let you blame me or your skincare for your breakouts. So that being said, let’s just dive in. Why are you breaking out? Before you change your skincare or run to the dermatologist here are a few things to consider:
1 - Get a water filter.
Most “breakout” prone skin I see is simply a case of incredibly dehydrated skin. Water is magnetic and if you rely on it as a huge form of your cleansing routine you may realize that it is actually dehydrated you. However, unless you intend on using oil cleansing with dry cloth removal as your sole form of skin cleansing then it’s time to clean up the type of water that you’re using. I feel every single person I work on that isn’t from Los Angeles has been recommended a water filter as part of their skincare investment when they first move here. This goes for most cities as well because whether you live in an old building with old plumbing, your city has a high contamination rate in its water or you travel a lot, your face and body is most likely suffering from poorly filtered water. Shower filters like Omica are a great option to help with your skin and hair health. Depending on your sink faucet it’s best to visit your local hardware store or home depot and ask the professional what they recommend. A good filter is often $100 to $150 but is a guaranteed better investment as replacement filters are often half the cost and your money won’t be wasted on products that are not changing your skin.
2 - Food journal.
The basis of Skin Food Talk is to help you better understand what is going on internally by what is showing up on your skin. Sometimes a subtle food change can create an imbalance in the skin that isn’t so obvious. Food journalling is a great way to determine if your foods are creating a reaction that is irritating to your skin. Most acne and rosacea cases can relate to this so much because it can be more of an obvious response like a flare up or breakout. Some cases are a little more subtle like me for example, when I have a food that may be a little heavy or dehydrating my forehead get little fine lines and my t-zone starts to produce more sebum activity. I know this about myself because when I’m having active exercise and a clean diet my skin is super resilient and balanced. When I sprained my ankle and wasn’t able to exercise for a few weeks to get a good sweat I noticed that if I had a glass of wine or anything that was a little fatty I felt my skin immediately respond. Instead of getting upset, I listened and shifted my foods and activity accordingly.
3 - If your skincare routine is complicated, scale back and allow your skin to heal itself.
So many people get excited about products. We get really excited to buy the new trend item that everyone is talking about that our bathroom counters and cabinets start to overflow. The bad news is your skin is most likely not desiring too much. The best way I can explain this is comparing our digestion to our skin. If our digestion is sluggish we typically have to support it and give it foods that are easy to break down. If our digestion is irritated, we typically have to allow it to restore itself and back off any inflammatory foods, drink and medicines. So it’s the same with our skin. If we are feeling sluggish and not lively, we have to support it with the right natural ingredients that your skin recognizes as supportive foods. This includes antioxidants, hydrators and soothing ingredients. If we are inflamed, we have to back off the excess products that stimulate the skin and simplify. Over the weekend I had a mild reaction to a few products I was testing because I layered too many things. Instead of applying more on, I reached for a glass of water and took a few cleansing breaths. I knew my skin would eventually return to it’s normal state if I were to calm down and allow it to find it’s way back to normalcy. Low and behold, avoiding more products and working from within helps. Within 30 minutes my skin was balanced and irritation free!
4 - Are you being mean to yourself?
Your skin will never heal if you are mean to yourself. If you tell yourself you’re fat, you will only see fat. If you tell yourself you are ugly, you will only see ugly. It really kills me how people talk about themselves that it’s a daily reminder that I have to actively use positive self talk if I want the results I want. Our brains have no idea that we are just insecure or feeling negative. Our brains only listen and act in accordance to what we say. So it will start to shift your perspective to see exactly what you say. It’s exactly like when you feel like you are having a bad day and work really hard to shift your perception to try to salvage the day. This happened to me a lot growing up as a young esthetician because someone’s energy would drain me and I let myself spiral with the day. Each moment is an opportunity to shift your perspective so fake it until you make it. Next time you are mean to yourself you absolutely have to say out loud something nice and smile. Every time I wash my face I smile and tell myself how good I look. My skin starts to shine and then the compliments start pouring in. Compliments are also a huge part of this so start accepting them instead of deflecting them. You invited that love into your orbit so say thank you with genuine gratitude and shine on!
In rare cases do I actually find someone allergic to an actual ingredient in skincare. Unfortunately, most of the time the products that are synthetic or contain manufactured chemicals can have a sensitizing reaction to the skin. Natural ingredients sort of know exactly when to turn off and work with your current skin condition. Your skin knows how to restore its own functions, but it needs support for external stressors. Allow yourself to get to the root of the issue before you jump the gun, waste money and blame others. It’s okay to not have flawless skin but it’s not okay to shift the blame. Sit and retrace your steps. The answer usually unfolds itself if you are willing to listen.
Thanks for reading, xo - Hayley