The start of the year is the perfect time to focus on the intentions you have for yourself and for your skin. The less you use on your skin, the better you can truly evaluate what it needs. One way you can do this is through a simple skin-cleanse.
Below are some of Dr. Elsa Jungman’s best tips and practices on how to understand your skin, how to start a skin-cleanse during this time, what to look out for when rebuilding your routine, and why focusing on skin health overall is key to the longevity of your skin. This blog post is Dr. Elsa's personal opinion and does not represent any medical advice.
Evaluate your mental and physical environment
We know from experts that stress contributes to skin irritation and sensitivity. When we stress it messes with our hormone levels and has an impact on our skin’s ability to protect us from the outside world. This is why making time for self care is important.
Beyond mental health - if your home is dry or humid, that could also have a huge impact on your skin. We tend to forget that our environment (home fragrances/diffusers, pollution, AC, heat, etc) has a great influence on your skin’s overall health. If you notice that your skin is tight or irritated, that’s a great place to start—notice what’s changed in your environment.
Give Your Skin a Break
It’s important to recognize that your skin isn’t sensitive, it’s smart. When you feel like your skin is out of balance it is most likely trying to communicate that to you.
To discover what could be the trigger, try eliminating your skincare and make up for a few days for your face (except what is recommended by CDC or by your healthcare provider). For example, if you’re wearing makeup during the week, you limit this to only the weekends.
Pause using all of your products (with the exception of anything prescribed or recommended by your healthcare provider), starting with makeup. That eliminates the need to do a harsh cleansing routine at night. Depending on your skin profile, cleansing your face is not always a necessity and reducing it can help protect it better and use less skincare over time. Once you start to eliminate certain products, you’ll start to be able to tell which ones you actually need. For myself, moisturizing my skin is a necessity but I stopped exfoliating, doing masks and I only gently cleanse when I have been wearing makeup or sunscreen. My skin is now much less dry.
If you’re feeling up for it, try challenging yourself by cutting products out for two weeks (except any prescriptions or sun protection). Your skin cells take 2 weeks to regenerate, so this allows you to really notice what factors are impacting your skin.
Cleanse Your Skincare Cabinet
Pay attention to products that have harsh ingredients versus ingredients that are more respectful of your skin biology.
This all depends on your skin profile, something that you can discover by taking our skincare quiz. For example, if you have dry and reactive skin, limit all the products (cleansers, masks, etc) with ingredients that trigger redness and irritation.
Focus on products that are less processed - like an oil moisturizer that contains 1, 2, or 3 ingredients (like our Dr. Elsa Jungman Start Over - Moisturizing Serum) to keep things simple.
The key is to avoid multiplying the amount of ingredients you put on your skin and try to use the same base and system of ingredients that work for you and cascade that into different products.
Track Your Hormones
Keeping track of your hormones is a great practice in addition to tracking product ingredients. Certain cycle tracker apps like Clue ask questions about your skin and hair. For some people, their skin may be drier at the start of their menstruation cycle, so it’s important to pay attention to how that factors into your routine as well. Some research has shown that our skin barrier get weaker during menstruation cycles, ovulation and during menopause, but we still have so much to learn about it.
You can use a diary or an app to collect that information, and use it to track any triggers (hormones, product, food, alcohol, environment, etc.)
Create Rituals in Your Routine
Unless a doctor has told you differently, you don’t necessarily need to clean your face in the morning. Any soap is abrasive for your skin, so it’s best to treat it with care. When you shower, be mindful of how much hot water hits your face as well. Water itself is an irritant.
One practice you can incorporate more into your skincare routine this year are Facial Yoga Exercises. This helps tone, tighten and boost your skin glow, after applying moisturizer like our Start Over - Moisturizing Serum.
It also helps start your day on a relaxed and rejuvenated note. After facial yoga, you can apply your sunscreen and light makeup as desired.
For the evening, find a cleanser that is gentle for your face and works for your skin type. If your skin feels good after cleansing, you don’t need to add another moisturizer before bed, however, If your skin feels a little dry post cleansing, you can add a bit of moisturizer.
Be Mindful of Your Food Intake
Try to stay away from alcohol and junk food. This can be incredibly difficult, but do the best you can. For more information on this, you can also take a look at our own blog post on food for your skin health.
In addition to your food intake, practice as much self care as you can. You can take a few minutes to do a facial yoga exercise that we have developed here at Dr. Elsa Jungman, which helps enhance your skin’s natural radiance.
Treat Skin Health like Physical Health
Just like you don’t want to wait to be sick to care for your body, you don’t want to wait for your skin to be harmed to care for it. When your skin is healthy, that’s the best time to protect it.
Your skin has longevity capital - the more you aggress it over time, the more that will lead to premature aging. This starts with being cautious of sun exposure and being careful of the products you're using on your skin.
Once you establish a daily practice, the time spent on your routine gets a lot quicker and easier.
Stay Educated on the Microbiome
The microorganisms living on our skin are so important for its overall health. When you’re informed by your skin’s environment you can start to adjust your skincare routine accordingly to meet its needs. The more knowledge we have the more empowered we can feel in caring for our skin and ultimately, our whole selves.