Cleanse. Scrub. Rinse. Wipe. Tone. Repeat: We’ve been conditioned to believe more is best when it comes to “taking care” of our skin. We’ve also been conditioned to believe that sugar makes us hyperactive and cracking our knuckles gives us arthritis: There are a lot of falsehoods out there. While we’ll never undermine the importance of keeping our faces clean — and never going to bed with makeup on, no matter how late you get home and how lazy you’re feeling — there’s a distinction between squeaky-clean and over-stripped. It’s one that might just mean the difference between glass-like clarity and recurring breakouts.
You might be thinking, “But I don’t have sensitive skin. My skin can take it!” While that might be true, statistics reveal a whopping 50% of American women to have sensitive skin. (Let’s remember: Sensitive does not mean weak, in any capacity.) As for the other half, we might be over-stripping our skin, even aggressively so, without even realizing it. You might also be thinking, “I live in a potentially polluted city, so I need to go the extra mile to make sure my skin gets clean.” It’s true: Most of us do live in unfortunately polluted urban environments, full of unavoidable stressors. But there are ways to combat all those nasty air pollutants, from solar ultraviolet radiation to wafts of cigarette smoke to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, which come from car exhaust fumes, and they don’t involve overzealous cleansing. They do, however, involve the fight against those pesky free radicals, with which you’re surely now pretty familiar. Enter the Resurfacing Compound, which uses unique SIREN Capsule Technology: Unlike most skincare formulas that release all over the skin, SIRENS avoid impacting healthy skin by luring damage-causing free radicals like a magnet. The Compound constantly works overtime to neutralize free radicals plus visibly improve skin, so you don’t have to worry so much about stressors and pollutants.
But back to the main topic at hand: First of all, how do you know your skin is over-stripped? Dryness, redness, peeling, flare-ups of irritation and ultimately, breakouts: If you noticed any or all of these unpleasant symptoms, then odds are you’re over-stripping your precious complexion. If you’re experiencing any vexing, and likely stubborn, skin issues, we’re willing to bet your own diligence is to blame. Secondly, how do you prevent over-stripping? It’s all about protecting your skin’s natural barrier. Breakouts are an indicator that your skin’s defenses are down, that it’s feeling weaker than it should. When our skin is confident, we feel confident, and well, when our skin is feeling vulnerable, it shows.
The number-one culprit of over-stripping is over-cleansing. When this happens, your skin gets robbed of those nice natural oils that keep it healthy and balanced. You know how you’re not supposed to shampoo your hair too often? The same principle applies to your skin. Sure, it seems logical if you have oily skin to try to get rid of it, probably by hardcore cleansing (either that, or patting on too much mattefying pressed powder). On the contrary, over-cleansing can send your skin into frenzied panic mode, pushing eager-to-please oil glands into overdrive as it compensates for what’s been stripped away. Just like that, skin is even oilier and breakouts emerge. Similarly, if your skin is looking dull, it’s likely its natural sebum production is off, which means no glow, no way.
The good news: It’s really easy to avoid over-stripping your skin. All you have to do is shake a few old habits and avoid harsh products you don’t even really need. If you’re unsure of whether a product is too harsh for you, try to observe if your skin happens to feel dry and uncomfortably tight, both signs you ought to lighten up.
Cleanse your skin twice a day; any more than that is unnecessary, save for a light makeup wipe-down after a gym session to avoid sweat-induced breakouts. When you do wash your face, use warm water (our skin hates hot water!), finishing it with a splash of cold to close up your pores. Make sure it’s really rinsed. Twice. That’s right: A couple extra rounds of rinsing ensure there’s no residual cleanser left to strip your skin once you’ve finished washing your face.
Use exfoliating scrubs (controversial walnut scrubs, for example) with a gentle hand no more than three times a week. If you’re noticing red, blotchy skin or worse yet, broken capillaries, your scrub is too abrasive.
Finally, make sure you finish your routine with moisturizer (after you’ve applied your Resurfacing Compound, of course), even if you have acne-prone or oily skin and especially at night. When we sleep, we lose more moisture than at any other point in the day, so that’s when we need to protect our skin’s natural barrier the most.
So be easy on yourself, skin included. When you take tender loving care of your skin, it will give you a clear, glowing thank you right back.