“I switched to collagen protein powder months ago because it actually helps your body produce more collagen! I put it in my coffee every day and my skin looks so much better.” – overheard at Erewhon in Venice.
“OMG, after I started drinking celery juice every day, it completely cleared my skin. It’s a miracle, you should try it!” – wellness blogger that I follow on Instagram.
“How old are you? Oh wow, you should really be using a topical Vitamin C treatment now that you’re over 30 to reduce the appearance of wrinkles.” – skin care rep at major skin care store.
“What kind of recovery mask are you using? I mix mine with apple-cider vinegar and use it after flying because the air on planes can really clog your pores. You should try it!” – “friend.”
“How often are you getting a microdermabrasion? Cindy Crawford gets one every month…” – former co-worker who once worked with Cindy Crawford.
“You should only be using natural products on your face!!!” – basically every blogger I follow these days.
If you’re like me, you don’t know who or what to believe anymore. And often times the people I trust in this space disagree with one another. Prime example:
Skin care rep @ Kiehl’s -> “Use this serum that’s been custom-made for your skin every night before bed.”
Facialist @ Dermalogica (2 months later) -> “Oh, you’re using an oil based serum daily? That’s probably what clogged your pores. You should only use that once a week.”
Then, I have friends with perfect skin who don’t even wash their face with soap. It doesn’t make sense!
It seems that unless you were born with amazing genes or have a ton of money to spend on expensive laser treatments (do those even work?!), it’s a guessing game.
So then, if the majority of us are f**ked, why did I bother spending the time to write this? Because, I genuinely believe a) we’re not, b) we’ve been misguided by beauty companies, and c) if you are a guy like me (or perhaps a girl) with big pores and combination skin (oily in the t-zone, dry elsewhere), then three simple changes can have a dramatic impact on your skin.
Note: I’m obviously not a dermatologist. While I may not be “qualified” to give these recommendations, if someone had shared this with me when I was 16 and suffering from acne and rubbing oxy pads and astringent on my face, I would have given them a huge hug. I would also argue that the sheer number of skincare products I have received and tried over the last few years created an optimal testing ground for this post. So, take it or leave it…but here we go.
“If someone had shared this with me when I was 16 and rubbing oxy pads on my face, I would have given them a huge hug.”
1. Protect your skin barrier
– Get rid of products with astringents, like alcohol and witch hazel.
– Avoid foaming cleansers and detergents (eg. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate), which strips the skin of its natural oils, leaving the barrier dry, exposed and susceptible to irritation.
– I’d even recommend cutting back on daily physical exfoliation as well. Have a face scrub that you love? Don’t throw it away, just use it less frequently.
Product Recommendation: Pre-cleanse by Dermalogica.
Why? It literally melts the dirt off your face while leaving your skin feeling completely hydrated. I don’t understand it, have never seen another product like it, and it works.
2. Moisturize like woah
– Skin needs moisture around the clock.
– Unless you’re surfing all-day or working outside in extreme temps, then applying moisturizer twice a day is perfectly ok.
Product Recommendation: Cerave PM Facial Moisturizing Lotion (skip the AM version, use this 2x day)
Why? While there are a lot of face lotions that I love, I always find myself going back to this product. It’s lightweight, absorbs quickly, has ceramides, hyaluronic acid, and niacinamide (all good for hydration); it won’t clog pores or cause acne. It’s also affordable and can be found at your local drug store. I’ve gotten family members, friends, and roommates hooked on this product.
3. Get a Professional Facial with Extractions
– Extractions, when done correctly, can clear closed comedones (AKA those tiny, flesh-colored bumps that never come to a head, yet never really go away) and remove whiteheads and blackheads.
– A high-quality facial gives your skin a newer, fresher surface for your skincare products to penetrate.
– If you use incorrect pressure, or go in at the wrong angle, you easily disrupt the integrity of your follicles, leading to inflammation and breakouts AKA my face every time I do it myself.
Why? You get what you pay for. This is the one area where I like to splurge for a trained professional who will take their time and do it right. I go 4x a year (I would honestly go monthly if it was cheaper, but c’est la vie).
Bonus: Use a high-quality sunscreen on your face. I’m done with SPF lotions that make you shiny AF because they don’t absorb properly and clog your pores. My favorite is this one by Port Products because it’s not greasy or chalky and doesn’t contain, oxybenzone, which means it’s reef-safe. Harrys lotion with SPF is my favorite reef-safe, low cost option.
I don’t subscribe to the belief that everyone needs to wear SPF every day (if you live in LA and spend a lot of time outside, then sure) but if you live in Vancouver, and it’s winter, and you work in an office and you haven’t seen the sun in weeks, I think you’re OK to go without.
From a sustainability perspective, I understand my recommendations are not “natural” and they are manufactured in single-use plastic containers. While I continue to explore the sustainable beauty space passionately, the natural products I have tried, just don’t work as well (for me), as the ones I have recommended.
Let’s face it (LOL), while there are a million different products to try, the best remedy for great skin is a healthy lifestyle with nutrient-dense foods, exercise, hydration, and sleep. But also, protect that goddamn skin barrier, moisturize like hell, and get rid of nasty blackheads before they stretch your skin to a point of no return.
This article originally appeared on The Healthy Camper.