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The 5 unnecessary (and damaging) skin care products that are in everyone’s routine

To have perfect skin, you need the basics, and nothing more. I’m not a fan of the #shelfie, a photo of a cluttered bathroom shelf filled with 50+ skin care products. Maybe it’s just a way to show off how much is spent on skin care. Regardless, it promotes an unhealthy and false notion that more skin care means better skin. In reality, more skin care means more skin damage. I’m all for the #deshelfie, a before and after photo where those 50 products were thrown away and all thats left are the 5 skin care products that work.

The simple message of less is more is becoming muddled and lost, yet in a world where more skin disease exists now than any other point in time, going back to a simple routine is the answer. It is no coincidence that along with an abundance of skin disease comes an excess of skin care products.

You need a chemical (AHA,BHA,PHA) exfoliant, you need serum, you need a moisture lock, you need a cleanser and you need sunscreen. Anything else is needless excess to be ignored on the store shelf, and using such products creates an endless cycle of damage-treat-damage.

A 10 step routine is only necessary if your skin care isn’t working properly

If you have a 10 step routine, you are using too many products, and those products are damaging your skin. Damaging skin care has no place on your shelf or in your routine. But it’s difficult to know what is bad and what is good because more thought, time and effort goes into the marketing of 99.9% of skin care products than their formulation, or consideration for your health. And the reason why we live in a 10 step routine world when a 4 or 5 step routine will suffice is because most skin care damages your skin in one way, so you buy another product to treat the damage from that product. And that product damages your skin in another way so you buy another product, and so on.

The 5 unnecessary (and skin-damaging) products that are in everyone’s routine

1. Toners

If beauty racketeering didn’t exist, then neither would toners. Toners are products intended to bring your skin to a healthy pH (and a healthy pH is paramount for healthy skin). But why would you need a product to bring your skin to a healthy pH if your skin care was already formulated to create and maintain a healthy skin pH? I call this beauty racketeering because Company X will sell you a cleanser with a dangerously alkaline pH of 6 or higher (which is just about all of them), raising your skin’s pH. Now that your pH is raised, they will sell you a product with cytotoxic and drying agents which make your skin sick, damaged and prevent your skin from returning and maintaining a healthy pH on its own. And then the company that destroyed your skin says, “oh your skin is destroyed? Here is something to help. For a price.

I’m not a big fan of someone coming into my neighborhood, smashing up my home, and then knock on my door the next day to offer protection against future incidents from happening again. And I am not a big fan of the skin care industry destroying my face with one product, only to sell me another product to ‘fix my problem.’ And neither should you.

2. Spot treatments

Spot treatments are intended to get rid of a pimple here and there on your skin. The problem is that getting rid of a pimple in this way is a sure way to have that pimple come back. Using harsh measures to get rid of a pimple quickly means you are damaging your skin in that spot which paves the road for that pimple to come back. Ever notice that you always have to spot treat in the same spot?

Spot treatments are drying, harsh and do not solve the root cause of acne. Only a proper skin care routine can solve the root cause of acne.

Spot treatments may provide some immediate relief, but the damage done for a quick fix is long-term. When you damage your skin with alcohols, witch hazel, benzoyl peroxide etc. you are doing more harm than if you were to just let the pimple run its course.

Alcohols: Dry skin out, breaking down the skin at the cellular level. Broken, damaged skin is vulnerable to disease and loses moisture. Drying skin out also will lead to overproduction of sebum, which leads to inflammation and more pimples

Witch Hazel: Is a known skin irritant and will break skin down at the cellular level

Benzoyl Peroxide: Peroxides in general are dangerous to the skin because they cause breakdown at the cellular level. Furthermore, benzoyl peroxide will kill off the beneficial bacteria on your skin which invites pathogens to colonize on your face, leading to more acne.

When you let a pimple heal on its own, you are less likely to have that pimple pop up again because you are not damaging the skin in the area. Strong skin will protect future pimples from arising. Damaged skin from spot treating will always be vulnerable to pimples.

2. Moisturizers

Moisturizers don’t moisturize, they create skin dryness. The formula for a moisturizer is mostly thickener, solvent, emulsifier, preservative and water. There is not enough room in the formula once you have made the base for any dermal delivery agents. And even if there was, moisturizers are too thick to penetrate into the skin and deliver water into the epidermal layer.

So what happens when your moisturizer just sits on top of your skin? The same thing that happens when water sits on any surface, evaporation. And the problem with water evaporating from your skin is that it will take more water with it, which means skin dryness. There is a reason why no moisturizer has ever cured skin dryness, and you have to constantly use it. They provide the illusion of hydration by coating your skin, just like how when you have chapped lips, licking your lips makes it feel better for a minute, and then even dryer than before.

The only way to truly hydrate your skin is by chemical exfoliation, serum and a moisture lock. A moisture lock is an oil that will seal in the hydration below (from the serum) and will not evaporate. The OUMERE Serum Bioluminelle acts as both a serum and moisture lock because it contains oils that lock in the water from both UV-R and the water-based extracts in its own formula. The oils from Serum Bioluminelle sit on top of the skin, sealing in the water and prevent evaporation. I also use an additional moisture lock under my eyes and on my lips. I use the OUMERE eye cream for the area below my eyes, and a petroleum jelly -based lip balm that I am developing for sale on my lips. I haven’t had an issue with skin dryness or chapped lips in years. I can also go a week without a moisture lock and still be fine because my skin has become truly hydrated with this methodology.

3. Sheet Masks

Sheet masks may feel luxurious and have the illusion of doing something beneficial for your skin, but there are two problems:

  1. Sheet masks have the potential to be harbingers of bacteria, mold and fungus. In order to fold a sheet mask, a very sophisticated and very expensive piece of equipment is required, and most companies forgo this purchase and outsource the labor to be folded by hand. Many of these masks are folded by hand in humid environments in Southeast Asia and are done so in people’s homes in unsanitary conditions.
  2. No real skin care benefit can be obtained by doing something sometimes. Skin care need to be a constant effort. Your skin care needs to stay on all day and all night. So having a sheet mask on for an hour or two a day, even if you do it every day, is likely to have little to no benefit.

4. Peels

Skin peels are never necessary, and do far more harm than good. Skin peels kill off live skin, accelerating the aging process, cause inflammation, interfere with the beneficial and skin-protecting skin microbiome, destroy collagen and a slew of other damaging effects. They are not necessary if you have a daily chemical exfoliant in your routine. Although a daily chemical exfoliant is far gentler and doesn’t have that oh so coveted ‘burn’, you are slowly reversing the aging process by using every day.

As skin care enthusiasts, we have to wade through the bad to find the good. And sometimes it feels as though we are drowning in a sea of bad products. Just keep in mind that less is more in skin care and anything beyond a simple routine is excess and damaging.