We all want to age well, and one of the keys is limiting and reducing inflammation as much as possible. Here are 4 things we limit or avoid to keep skin feeling happy and looking healthy.
Perfume and Fragrance
How many times have you selected a product simply because it smelled nice? Did you know that perfume or fragrance can be any number or combination of approximately 5000 undisclosed chemicals? According to the American Academy of Dermatology, fragrance is the leading cause of contact dermatitis and can trigger allergies, headaches, irritation and sensitivities. We recommend skipping any leave-on products that contain perfume (parfum) or fragrance in their ingredient lists.
Exfoliation is essential for encouraging cellular turnover and exposing fresh, glowing skin, but you can definitely overdo it. Over-exfoliating can stress the skin and compromise its natural protective barrier and lipid function, resulting in more oil production and/or sensitivity and inflammation. Gently exfoliating 1-3 times a week is usually enough to keep everything glowing. Check your moisturizer and serum products to ensure you are not unknowingly applying acids, retinol and other exfoliants on top of your regular peel or exfoliant.
A common cause of rash, itchiness and irritation is the chemical SPF found in many skin care products. There are potential issues with damaging free radicals as well. When it comes to our face, we are very particular and always recommend a mineral-based zinc oxide / titanium dioxide product that can be applied separately from our skin care. You're more likely to apply the correct amount of SPF by using designated sun protection (instead of a moisturizer with SPF). We would never use Octinoxate, Oxybenzone, Avobenzone, Ensulizole, etc on our face.
While there are varying opinions on essential oils, we prefer to avoid them as much as possible (on our face), and definitely in their pure or undiluted forms. While some do contain benefits in the short term, in the long run, many result in irritation and damaging effects on the skin. Better to look for the many plant- based extracts, vitamins and beneficial synthetic compounds that are available. You can form your own opinion on this, but for my clients and my own skin, I find many essential oils irritating and sensitizing, so we are very selective with this category of compounds.
This is a short list, but it gets things started. Always be aware of what you're putting on your skin, and you'll look glowing and amazing for years to come!