I have a confession to make. I fell into an internet rabbit hole.
I enjoy finding random blogs and scrolling through Tumblr and Reddit. Somehow, I found the subreddit Skincare Addiction, and let me tell you, it is certainly an addiction.
It started innocently: I started reading the information in the sidebar. A month ago, I considered myself to be mildly interested and educated in the world of skincare. Ha. The more I read, the more I realized I knew nothing. Skincare is truly a science, and companies hide it behind words like “brightening,” “deep-cleansing,” and “renewing.” It turns out these words often mean much more than they seem.
Chemical exfoliation is a huge topic in the subreddit, and I’d somehow never looked into it despite having used Stridex and other salicylic acid products before. I’d heard of supposedly good ingredients like glycolic acid and retinoids, but I had no idea what they did. Or that chemical exfoliants don’t even exfoliate if the pH of the product they’re in is too high. Then there are acids that aren’t even for exfoliation like hyaluronic acid, which is used for moisturizing. I didn’t pay much attention to chemistry class in high school, apparently.
It’s been interesting to read about the chemistry behind the products I use, and even more interesting to see some of the things I was already doing right. For example, I’ve mentioned a few times that I’ve been using a hydrating serum for a couple years. I think I mentioned in one of my skincare routine videos that it did the most to improve my skin, even my breakouts, which didn’t seem to make sense but I didn’t question it. Well, my skin being oily in some places but kind of dry overall was a sign that my skin was likely dehydrated, and I’ve been inadvertently repairing my skin’s moisture barrier all this time. Feels good!
I’m not ready to make a new skincare routine video because I’m still putting my new routine together, which will take months. I’m taking 1-2 weeks to introduce each new product individually, and phasing out products that I want to remove or swap from my routine. So far, I’ve introduced both an AHA and BHA exfoliant three times a week, and DAMN my skin feels so soft the next morning.
Now, I know that talking about a routine that I’m not sharing is about 0% helpful. So, I want to share a few things I’ve learned in my research so far that might help you.
- Wear sunscreen. And use enough of it — you should use 1/4 teaspoon for your face, which is more than you might think. If you use less, you aren’t getting the full SPF as advertised on the bottle. It’s even harder to get the full SPF from products like makeup or moisturizer that contain SPF.
- Make sure your skin gets enough moisture. If your skin is very sensitive and produces a lot of oil while still feeling dry after cleansing, then you’re likely dealing with dehydrated skin. Fix that before worrying about acne or exfoliation.
- Your skin’s natural pH is on the acidic side, and using products that are more basic (pH-wise) temporarily changes your skin’s pH and opens it up to all kinds of problems. Check the pH of your cleanser! My current cleanser is 5.5-6.5, and you should aim for something in the 4.5-5.5 range.
- Don’t use baking soda on your face. It has a super high pH and can damage your skin over time. I literally have a baking soda scrub in my bathroom right now… Oops!
- Chemical exfoliation is no joke. Do your research and add sun protection to your morning routine (AHAs make your skin more photosensitive). And expect some purging as your closed pores open and all that gunk is brought to the surface.
- It matters what order you apply your products in. And it matters how long you wait between products to get the most out of them.
- For most products, you want to pat it into your skin instead of rubbing it.
I’m going to make myself stop here because I could probably double that list if I’m not careful. Let me know if any of these little tidbits sound interesting. I could write an entire blog post on each one.
I hope that’s good enough for now. I just wanted to let you know what I’m up to and share some of this awesome advice! You best believe I’ll be making a video as soon as I’m confident with my new routine. In the meantime, I highly recommend checking out the Skincare Addiction subreddit. They have some great information to get you started down this rabbit hole too.
Yep, I’m taking you down with me.