Don’t Throw the Baby Out With the Bath Water

There’s a scenario that I see play out all the time. A person uses their skin routine consistently for a while and their skin behaves pretty well—until it doesn’t. When they notice their skin reacting or breaking out, they decide that one (or more) of their skincare products is the culprit. So they toss out their skincare for something new.

Sound familiar?

Don’t be so quick to blame your products. A minor skin issue doesn’t mean that you need to completely abandon your routine! Odds are that the problem isn’t your facial products. If your skincare worked well for you for a month or more, it’s unlikely to suddenly cause a reaction out of the blue. Instead, start considering factors in your environment.

Are you using a new laundry detergent or washcloth? Are you overly stressed or not sleeping enough? Has the weather changed dramatically? Are your allergies acting up? What have you been eating and drinking? Remember that your skin is a living organ and works in concert with the rest of your body. Anything that might affect you internally will show up on your skin, as well. Don’t waste your precious time, money, and effort by throwing away and replacing a skincare routine that isn’t the root of your issue.

It’s a problem that feeds a vicious cycle of consumption. When your skin acts up, you get rid of your routine and buy new products. If the new products don’t work out, you try others. If they do work well, you’ll keep them for a while—until the next time your skin starts rebelling (for reasons that may not involve your products at all). Moreover, overhauling your routine introduces even more new variables and makes it harder to identify the root cause that started this whole endeavor. 

One helpful tool is skin journaling. Keeping short notes about your mood, sleep cycle, hydration, foods you ate, and seasonal changes (in addition to details your skincare routine) can provide helpful context when considering your skin’s health and appearance. Revisit your journal when your skin starts acting up to see if you can find a common thread. The few minutes it takes to keep an updated journal outweigh the time spent researching and replacing skincare products in the long run.

My main takeaway is this: your skin is part of a whole body, so holistic consideration is crucial. Reflect on the many factors that affect you on a daily basis before pointing the finger at your skincare.