Keeping your skin under control is a delicate balance of maintaining it when it’s on its best behavior and treating it when it’s acting up. We’ve all experienced those instances when our skin throws an epic tantrum – I’m talking painful breakouts, redness and irritation or inflammation. In those cases, there’s not a face mask in the world that will zap away those pimples and heal any damage overnight. I like to keep my skincare routine very simple, but sometimes what you need is a total skin reset. There’s no quick fix or special sauce; it takes about 2 weeks of diligent care and the right combination of patience, know-how and the right products (and maybe some professional intervention) to get your skin to start over. It can take 27-30 days for your skin to fully reset, so patience is key here. Here’s how you can reset your skin after an epic breakout.
If you’re experiencing a painful breakout out of the blue with no rhyme or reason to the breakout areas (and these are not your average period pimples), the reason could be anything from hormone fluctuations, diet and stress to a change in climate, using the wrong products for your skin type or a damaged skin barrier. The tip here is to treat your skin like you would treat a cold! Instead of grabbing every treatment you can find and doing more and more to your breakouts, let the body repair itself by being gentle with your skin. Blemishes have life cycles and when you interfere with this process by picking or using a super drying spot treatment, you’re actually making it last so much longer.
Work in sync with the various stages of the blemish! In times like these, your skincare routine should feature soothing and gentle exfoliating products that will tackle the excess oil and dead skin buildup that contribute to clogged pores.
Redness & irritation
If your skin’s meltdown consists of more redness and painful stinging, this could actually be as simple as a reaction to a product or a more complicated medical condition like rosacea. Most redness and irritation occur when the skin’s protective barrier is damaged; it’s the layer outermost layer of skin that helps retain water and moisture and defends against environmental pollutants from penetrating through. If a product reaction is the issue, it’s most likely due to an allergen or irritant – or you went overboard with an active ingredient. When you’re shopping for new products, the biggest offenders to look out for are fragrance, essential oils, aggressive acids and solvent alcohols. When it comes to rosacea, a lot of people experience spontaneous flare-ups due to something in their diet or something they’ve put on their skin.
To fix this, try putting yourself on a “skin diet.” Basically, you remove everything from your skincare routine that you were using prior to the meltdown and replace them with super gentle products that will help calm down and soothe your skin. Eliminate active ingredients like acids and retinol and focus on the basics of gentle cleansing and moisturizing. Reach for products that contain barrier-repairing lipids like ceramides!
You can start *slowly* adding your regular products back into your routine once you’ve gotten your skin back to its not-so-irritated self. Reintegrating products one at a time will help you see how your skin reacts to each product or ingredient. So if anything causes another flare-up, you’ll know which one to take out of your routine!
You can also incorporate beauty foods into your literal diet. Here are the best foods for healthy skin.
Dry & itchy
If your skin texture feels super dry with an itchy and tight sensation, you’ll want need *big* amounts of moisture – but your usual moisturizers might feel like they’re not penetrating the skin at all. It’s likely that the top layer of your skin has been destroyed and lifted away from the surface, creating a barrier to anything penetrating. The tip here is to gently exfoliate that dead layer of dry skin so you can apply some much-needed moisture and reinforce your skin barrier to better retain hydration. On top of your skincare routine, you can stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the day, washing your face with lukewarm water vs. hot and having a humidifier in your bedroom to add moisture to the air during the drier months.
It’s also important to note that your skincare doesn’t stop at your morning and nighttime routine. Your lifestyle and what you do throughout the day also affect your skin health. That means exercising regularly, getting at least 7-9 hours of sleep every night, staying hydrated, eating a nutritious and well-balanced diet, managing stress levels and, of course, wearing SPF!
In case you missed it or just want to listen again, here is a quick checklist of beauty episodes on The Blonde Files Podcast:
How do you handle your skin’s epic meltdowns? I’d love to hear!