February 21, 2020
So often when it comes to our incredibly unique skin, “knowing thyself” proves to be the greatest challenge. You may feel positive that your shiny T-zone or monthly jawline breakouts are open-shut cases, yet the tried and true protocols have you falling just short of desired results. The beauty (and yes sometimes the beast) of bio-individuality is that what we’re seeing in the mirror can actually be more than meets the eye. In a time where there is no shortage of black and white labels for your skin, we are here to help you dive deep into the gray areas of your skin-queries.
Comedones vs Pimples:
Not all acne is created equal, although it’s always pretty frustrating, no? Technically, whiteheads, blackheads, pimples, and pustules all qualify as acne, but the big differentiators are look, feel, and treatment. Blackheads and whiteheads are considered comedones and comedones occur when oil and debris gets trapped in an open pore or beneath a layer of skin. Typically you won’t see a lot of inflammation or experience much discomfort with these blemishes. Rather than reaching for the metal tools to face down comedones, my favorite way to prevent and reduce them is to exfoliate the dead skin that can trap dirt with a physical AND chemical exfoliator duo like Josh Rosebrook’s Active Enzyme Exfoliator.
Pimples and dreaded painful cysts are considered inflammatory acne and are caused when white blood cells attack bacteria that has become trapped within the pore, leaving the surrounding skin red and sore. Incorporating a gentle cleanser, like Botnia’s aptly named Gentle Cleanser, is a great way to rid the skin of impurities while maintaining the moisture barrier. You can also try a warm compress over inflamed pimples followed by the Province Apothecary Clear Skin Advanced Spot Treatment which treats and conditions blemishes at the same time!
Adult Acne vs Teen Acne:
Whether you’re just beginning freshman year or sending your first born off to theirs, there is nothing more mystifying or distressing than the onset of acne. For both teens and adults alike hormones are often at the helm. Teens experiencing the right of passage that is puberty will be shining in more ways than one as androgen levels rise leading to excess oil production. Get ahead of breakouts by following a routine full of AHAs and BHAs like the foaming cleanser and toner in Botnia’s Travel Kit.
For adults living life in the modern world, chronic stress can cause hormonal imbalances that lead to breakouts most commonly seen along the jaw. Pregnancy and starting or stopping birth control can also cause these fluctuations. To maintain healthy cortisol levels and bring hormones into balance adding an adaptogenic elixir like the Yin Power from Sun Potion into your routine is as easy as tossing a teaspoon in your morning beverage before you go running out the door to tackle another beautiful day.
Dry vs Dehydrated Skin:
The biggest difference between dry and dehydrated skin is what it is lacking. Dehydrated skin can be difficult to identify because one of the tell-tale signs is oiliness! You read that right. When the skin is lacking water, it can sometimes overcompensate for this “state of lack” by pumping out sebum like it’s going out of style. Send your skin the message it can take a breather by adding in hydrating products like Agent Nateur’s Holi(Water) which douses the skin in plumping hyaluronic acid. At this point it may go without saying, but drinking enough water – a good rule of thumb is half your body weight in oz- is one of the single most transformative actions you can take for your complexion.
Alternatively, what dry skin is craving is a healthy dose of oil. Dry skin does not produce as much oil and without that healthy lipid barrier you may be experiencing flakes, tightness, and itching. To treat dry skin you will want to reach for a product heavy in sebum-esque jojoba like goop’s Enriching Face Oil. Esty inside tip: mix with a spritz of your favorite hydrosol or toner before applying to create an emulsion to pull those oil molecules deep within the skin.
Sensitive vs Sensitized Skin:
Many people, especially those living in big cities, consider themselves to have sensitive skin. Individuals with the sensitive skin type usually come by it honestly, meaning mom or dad most likely have sensitive skin as well. It is characterized by becoming easily flushed, as the blood vessels are closer to the surface of the skin. In those born with this skin type, the lipid barrier is much thinner than in someone with say ‘normal’ or oily or combo skin. To help your skin face environmental aggressors DIY your moisture barrier with a protective moisturizer such as the Atmosphere Protection Cream from OSEA. It’s always important to patch test new products and slowly introduce them into your routine.
Sensitized skin is a condition brought on by many factors, but most often from over-exfoliating. If you’ve gotten a little excited with a new scrub brush or perhaps left on an active a bit longer than the recommended time you probably know exactly what it feels like to be sensitized. When the moisture barrier is disrupted the skin can feel sunburned and appear rashy. The good news is this condition is easily reversible with a minimized routine. Walk back any exfoliation for a spell and lean into gentle and calming occlusives such as the Bara Balm from H is for Love which is healing alchemy in a jar. Trust me on this one.
Rarely do we as individuals fall into just one category or “type”, am I right? The same goes for our skin. It can be difficult to steer clear of messages asking you to label yourself, but knowing the nuances of your skin requires patience, healthy curiosity, and of course a good esthetician to hold your hand through the journey!