Reevaluating My Skin Care Routine
Sometimes less is more especially when it comes to skin care. Also watch out for irritating ingredients in your make up.
As someone always striving for my version of best, reevaluting my habits and routines is a given from time to time. After listening to episode 20 of one of my favorite podcasts, Forever 35, with Kate's facialist, Courtney Chiusano, I decided the two main things she brought up to avoid were worth looking at in my routine; too much exfoliation and possible irritants in your makeup products. Bismuth, an ingredient found in most powder foundation, blush and eyeshadows, was mentioned which I had never heard of before much like Dori and Kate. After checking my face powder and blush I found it lurking in the ingredients list.
Courtney mentioned this could irritate your skin and cause micro cuts. Yikes. In my powder foundation and blush, pictured below, it is listed as bismuth oxychloride. I stopped using these powders immediately after the show to see if anything would change. The funny thing is I don't really need to use face powder. It used to be super necessary, so I thought, when my skin was oily and out of control like it usually is in the summer. But now the difference between using and not using powder, even by the end of the day, is negligible. Why should I even use it? I found some great powder alternatives from the brand 100% Pure, which I've purchased from before, with a selection of face powders and blushes with better and natural ingredients not including bismuth. For now, I'm using Benetint from Benefit for my blush and my cheeks have never been happier.
"Some people react to bismuth oxychloride due to its unique crystalline structure. What happens is that the crystals can "poke" at skin and get stuck in the pores, where the sharper "spokes" can cause irritation. This is more of a problem when bismuth oxychloride is the main ingredient in powder makeup." - From Paula's Choice Ingredient Dictionary
I had a spot on my right cheek that was perpetually irritated and dry. No matter what products I layered on top, oils and exfoliants, it stayed angry, inflamed and cracked. For as long as I've remembered the spot has been there. I didn't think the irritation was caused or aggravated by my powders specifically my blush or foundation powder because it was only one cheek, the right, and not both. But after refraining from using both powders on my face, within a few days, my cheek already looked better. The redness and irritation has calmed and the texture is almost the same as the rest of my face which is a dream come true. Almost a week later, the perpetually dry spot is basically gone. I wanted to spread the word just in case others didn't know about this irritant hiding in your face powders and eyeshadows. Feel free to do your own internet sleuthing because as Kate and Dori like to say; I'm not an expert.
“The number one mistake is always over-exfoliation.” - Courtney Chiusano
The major mistake Courtney sees clients making is over exfoliating. I thought I was off the over exfoliation band wagon, stripping my face of moisture while assuming this would also rid me of occasional acne, but apparently not. I don't use physical exfoliants on my face anymore but chemical exfoliation is my cure all for any skin ailments. Pimples? Exfoliate. Anything undesirable on my face? Slap exfoliating tonic all over my face. Previously, I was using the 1% BHA liquid from Paula's Choice all over my face nightly but it was recently discontinued. So I swapped it out with my 2% BHA liquid also from Paula's Choice. It seemed to be doing the same heavy lifting of keeping my pores and face clear. Then my face seemed aggravated for no reason. Instead of toning down the exfoliation, I dialed it up making sure my whole face got a nice coating of BHA every night.
I'm not too proud to modify my routine since I am still a relative novice when it comes to skin care. So in addition to foregoing my face powders, I didn't use my beloved BHA that night even though I was terrified random pimples would pop up over night. The next day, I anticipated disaster on my face but my skin looked fine and less irritated. Maybe this facialist knows what she's talking about. Weird. So I decided to have my BHA liquid be an every other night part of my routine. The nights when I'm not using BHA I make sure to add a few drops of Marula oil from The Ordinary to add moisturize, another thing she said her clients don't do enough of.
I fell into the faulty line of thinking, again, that moisturizing is kind of important but exfoliating and drying out my skin is more important to keep pesky pimples away. I've been trying out this revamped routine and the skin on my face has improved with no new pimples and less irritation. There is always room for adjustments in your routines. I've wanted to start using more natural beauty and makeup products so this is a good jump start for me. Make sure to reevaluate what you are putting on your skin every so often to see if your products are working well for you.