How to be Gentle to Your Skin
Advice from Best-Selling Author, Paula Begoun, The Cosmetics Cop
Irritation Is So Bad for Your Skin
I cannot stress this enough: irritation and inflammation are bad for skin-really, really bad. Daily assaults such as unprotected sun exposure, splashing the face with hot water, applying skin-care products that contain irritating ingredients, and on and on, generate an irritant or inflammatory effect. This results in the skin's immune system becoming impaired, collagenase (the breakdown of collagen) occurs, and the skin's outer protective layer is impaired.
For those with oily skin, irritation triggers nerve endings in the pore that activate androgen production, the hormone that makes pores bigger and increases oil production! None of that is good for any skin type!
Irritation: The Silent Problem
You can be irritating your skin and not even know it because irritation, more often than not, doesn't show up on the surface of skin. Even though you can't see it, irritation is taking place beneath the skin's surface, causing damage, mutating skin cells, destroying collagen, and making large pores and oily skin worse.
You can get a clearer idea of how this underlying, hidden damage from irritating skin-care routines or products takes place by imaging what happens to skin in reaction to unprotected sun exposure. Being exposed to the sun day after day from early childhood results in cumulative, serious damage taking place beneath the skin's surface but it doesn't show itself on the face until after many years of unprotected exposure.
For the overall health of your skin, anything you can do to treat it gently is a very good thing. Treating skin gently encourages normal collagen production, maintains a smooth and radiant surface, helps skin protect itself from environmental damage, reduces oil production, and makes pores smaller.
Avoid The Following...
- Overly abrasive scrubs (such as those that contain aluminum oxide crystals, walnut shells, or pumice)
- Astringents containing irritating ingredients (alcohol and menthol being the prime offenders)
- Toners containing irritating ingredients (alcohol and menthol being the prime offenders)
- Scrub mitts (think Buf-Puf)
- Cold or hot water
- Steaming or icing the skin
- Facial masks containing irritating ingredients (watch out for fragrant essential oils and polyvinyl alcohol)
- Bar soaps and bar cleansers
Common Irritating Ingredients to Avoid
(These are of greatest concern when they appear in the beginning of an ingredient list.)
- SD Alcohol (also known as denatured alcohol)
- Balm mint
- Benzalkonium chloride
- Benzyl alcohol
- Citrus juices and oils
- Clover blossom
- Essential oils
- Fennel oil
- Fir needle
- Melissa (lemon balm)
- Menthyl Acetate
- Oak bark
- Sandalwood oil
- Sodium C14-16 olefin sulfate
- Sodium lauryl sulfate
- TEA-lauryl sulfate
- Witch hazel