The concept of slow living was a huge inspiration behind our company and was brought on by the pandemic forcing us to slow down and reconnect with our priorities. Although we focus on skin care, it is only part of the overall slow living movement. Having routines and specifically a skin care routine is a daily reminder for me to take a more meaningful and purposeful approach to the day. The concepts of slow living can be adapted to slow skin care which instead of seeking instant gratification is oftentimes more conducive to our skin to take a more gentle approach. So let’s discuss why immediate results may actually be hurting our skin.
The top layers of the skin or the epidermis continuously replace themselves every 40-56 days on average. When we’re young the natural exfoliation process happens faster, but slows down when we age. The buildup and excess of dead skin cells can make our skin look tired and dull. In addition, other skin issues can be caused by internal and environmental stressors throughout the skin cycle. During this time, many of us will reach for an exfoliator or a product with a high percentage of actives with the goal of getting back to our dewy glowy skin. Oftentimes we’re overusing these products causing the skin barrier to thin and unable to externally and internally protect the skin.
Benefits of slow skin care
We often feel it immediately when we’ve damaged the skin barrier. Ever feel like your skin is constantly itchy, rough, or see a new wave of acne flare ups? No matter the amount of exfoliation or new products the dry, scaly skin never goes away. If so, your skin can probably benefit from implementing a gentler skin care routine. When too many new products are introduced quickly, our skin can become confused and the cells go on the defensive to try to regulate back to its original state.
Taking care of your skin is much like recovering from a cold. At first your body is weakened and requires time to heal. If you treat your body well by reinforcing its barriers the next time you get sick might not be as miserable and you can recover quicker. You can’t expect your body to bounce back immediately if the steps to healing haven’t been taken yet. The skin will feel and look better when its barrier is reinforced allowing it to be stronger to take on external and internal stressors.
I love the feeling of smooth skin after a good exfoliation session and I’ve tried everything to maintain the feeling for as long as possible. Unfortunately that oftentimes lead to overexfoliating. While I am not saying we should avoid exfoliating completely, I do think those powerful products should be used sparingly. Instead, I use gentle exfoliation ingredients that do not take off too much of the new skin cells allowing them to mature naturally. Using gentle exfoliating ingredients removes some of the already dead skin cells that are ready to fall off while allowing the newer skin cells to come to the top revealing that super smooth skin feeling. As a result? Consistent, glowing skin.
Assist the skin cell turnover process instead of aggressively pushing it
In addition to exfoliating to increase turnover of the skin at the outer level, we can utilize ingredients to increase cell turnover at the cellular level. For example, we love ginseng for targeting dark spots and hyperpigmentation. Ginseng reduces the enzyme activity for melanin production preventing dark spots from forming. Want to boost collagen production? Use bakuchi to not only stimulate collagen synthesis, but also prevent collagen from degrading. As a result, the appearance of wrinkles are improved and skin elasticity is increased. Don’t forget azelaic acid for those fighting acne. It’s a highly underrated ingredient that is used to reduce inflammation associated with acne. It also works to stop the growth of skin bacteria that causes acne, keeping pores clear. While these ingredients may take longer for its effects to be seen, they’re much gentler and your skin will thank you in the long run.
Strengthen the skin barrier
Lastly, the skin barrier needs to be reinforced to keep skin hydrated and protected. The stratum corneum is the outermost layer of the epidermis. Its job is to protect the skin barrier against external stressors and retains water in the skin. Lipid, proteins, and corneocytes make up the stratum corneum and are needed to ensure there are no defects. Ingredients that provide mechanical reinforcement, retains water molecules, and provides physical protection are best for strengthening the skin barrier. Examples include niacinamide, hyaluronic acid, and an occuslive.
Try implementing a few of these techniques and you should results in 4-6 weeks. The benefits go beyond having good skin and I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section.