There was once a time when the focus on healthy skin was a healthy skin barrier. Now we live in a time where many of us want instant gratification and with that comes the desire for instant results. Promoting instant results is a massive red flag. When it comes to our health, nothing is seen instantly. It takes persistence and nurturing so that the skin’s natural ability to heal and rejuvenate is encouraged over a period of time. This doesn’t need to be forever but when we understand the natural turn over of skin occurs every 28 days, then we should not except anything sooner to occur.
For the purpose of this article I will discuss the impact of over exfoliation.
Over-exfoliation is a common way to get your skin glowing instantly. It’s actually a great way to brighten the skin as we are getting rid of the dead skin cells that have built up on the surface of the skin. There are generally 2 ways you can exfoliate the superficial layers on your skin, physically or chemically.
The physical approach is an abrasive approach such as using beads, salt crystals or something that will physically encourage the sloughing off of the skin. Professionally, beauty therapists will have tools such as microdermabrasions that will physically deeply exfoliate the dead skin cells.
The chemical approach is through using chemical compounds such as alpha and beta hydroxy acids, enzymes and other substances that when applied on the skin will encourage the bonds between the skin to be broken and so easily remove the build up of the surface cells on the skin. You may have heard of these products being referred to as peels, masks and other exfoliators.
As I mentioned, this is actually a good thing, the issue comes if we exfoliate excessively and/or aggressively. Here are some ways you could be overly exfoliating your skin which could then lead to skin dryness and sensitivity:
- Excessive use of exfoliating products such as clay masks and fruit enzymes, or
- Going to your dermal/beauty therapist and using a more intense treatment such as peels, microdermabrasions, etc
The most common symptoms of over-exfoliated skin are:
- redness and overly sensitive skin,
- reactivity to anything applied onto the skin,
- dryness and flakiness of the skin,
- sensitivity to touch,
- burning and discomfort when anything is applied topically,
- skin issues present such as acne, eczema and rosacea
What’s the solution?
If you are experiencing signs of over exfoliation, the first thing you must do is check out all your skincare products in your bathroom and use only those intended for sensitive skin.
The same way food rejuvenates our body from the inside, there are specific ingredients that act as food for the skin. The nutrient profile of these ingredients is complete. This means that when a nutrient such as Vitamin C is present there are also numerous nutrients to support its absorption and utilisation in the skin. Science only knows a drop in the ocean, so leaving things up to nature is a great way to take the complexities out of your skincare routine.
Sensitive and reactive skin needs the following ingredients in your skincare routine to help with the natural rejuvenation of your skin barrier:
Angelica Sinensis Extract – a blood nourishing herb which is great to hydrate the skin but has the unique benefit in guiding the effect of the other ingredients to the deeper layers of the skin.
Avocado Oil – a great source of enrichment for dry, damaged and chapped skin as it has scientifically proven to replenish the skin barrier.
Borage Oil – high concentrations of essential fatty acids makes borage oils important in the rejuvenation of skin issues where the healthy skin barrier is affected. Trials have shown that children with dermatitis, had a decrease in dermatitis without the presence of any side effects.
Baobab Oil – is rich in omega 3 making baobab oil effective to restore hydration in the skin, promotes the skin’s natural ability to heal, reduce inflammation, and assist with promoting elasticity in the skin. A great all-rounder for the supplementation of skin concerns such as eczema and psoriasis.
Calendula Extract – is an anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial plant that is able to calm and sooth irritated skin. By relieving redness in the skin, Calendula has shown positive effects for eczema, psoriasis and acne.
Jojoba oil – due to its high content of wax esters, jojoba oil is a great repair option for people with altered skin barriers such as in eczema, dermatitis, acne and psoriasis. It also has an anti-inflammatory effect on the skin, so furthering its positive effect on problematic skin.
Don’t forget to help your skin barrier heal with your diet. What you eat has such a powerful influence on your skin and it should always be your focus when it comes to healing your skin from the inside out.
Check out this article on nutrition specifically for sensitive skin:
When discussing diet, our food has a direct impact on our gut health which in turn impacts the health of our skin.
Our emotions will have a direct impact on our skin. As with our diet, if we are feeling negative emotions the body releases inflammatory chemicals which will then cause more skin redness and break outs. These inflammatory chemicals are delivered start to the dermal layer of our skin via our blood stream and so will have an impact on the health of the skin from the base of the dermis. As these skin cells migrate to the surface of our skin, the skin starts to appear dull, red and reactive.
If you are feeling stressed, anxious or just caught up in the business of life, it is so essential to take a moment and step back to take in exactly where you are at and what is going on. When we are in an adrenalin-filled state we don’t think clearly and making decisions for our work, our life or just day to day can be negatively impacted by the adrenalin in our body.
The best way to combat this release of inflammatory chemicals is by:
- Practising mindfulness
- Finding what makes your heart sing. Creating a calming space in your home is a great way to instil calm in those moments of chaos.
- Aromatherapy can help create the mental shift needed to bring more calm.
Before making any significant changes, get your skin assessed by a qualified skin health practitioner. At Salubre Skin Clinic, we offer free skin assessments to help you understand what your skin is trying to tell you with the signs and symptoms that are presenting.
Then you can choose to schedule 60-min consultation with Dr Irene Prantalos (Chinese Medicine) where the key activator is to drive positive results faster. A personalised program is devised that focuses on your skin health concerns. The approach is to provide internal and topical protocols for the natural and healthy rejuvenation of problematic skin. Inflammation is a common cause of many skin eruptions, with this in mind nutritional and lifestyle advice will be supporting the topical routine.
We all know skin issues are affecting many and along with impacting a person’s self esteem, the Skin Confidence by Dr Irene ™ program is essential when it comes to bringing a person confidence back to where it should be with radiant healthy skin.
About the author
Dr. Prantalos (chinese medicine) has dedicated her life to skin health after suffering from debilitating psoriasis for most of her childhood and young adult life. She helps hundreds of people to manage their skin issues at her practice and skin clinic in Surrey Hills, Victoria and online at https://salubre.com.au/