A common misconception I see with my clients; they think their skin is dry or oily when really it is dehydrated
As a holistic esthetician, we look at things from a slightly different angle. We want to support the skin and its functions rather than work against them. We also step back and look at the bigger picture when analyzing the skin to get closer to the root of the cause so to speak.
For example you may come in, your skin is producing enough oil, but still very dry on the surface. You feel like fine lines and wrinkles are more visible than usual and you have been using a cleanser that leaves your skin feeling super tight and squeaky clean followed by an alcohol based toner for acne (even though you rarely have them and it also makes your skin feel super tight). The reality is your skin is being a bit over-stripped and is dehydrated.
Which begs the question, is your skin actually oily/ dry or is it being imbalanced by what it is being exposed to daily? Whether it be the products that you are using, or just the conditions of the surrounding environment.
Sadly, many clients I see are using cleansers that are way too harsh for their skin. :( While removing excess oil, sweat, makeup, sunscreen is absolutely important, if your skin is feeling super tight and dry after washing with a cleanser, it could be temporarily stripping your acid mantle which is a fancy term for your skins natural barrier that protects your skin from outside invaders, like pathogenic bacteria, fungi, and more. (More on what that is in my next blog post)
In the short term, perhaps this looks something like your skin starts producing oil in overdrive soon after and then a few hours later, TOTAL OIL SLICK! This is because we have created an imbalance and chosen something that is WAY too stripping. The oil on our skin works to protect it and we want to keep this balanced.
In the long term, using a very stripping cleanser can cause inflammation and exacerbate other skin issues like: acne, rosacea, eczema, etc. It can also lead to a lot more dryness, redness, irritation.
For me, I saw the biggest change in my skin was when I moved from Texas to California. Immediately, my skin was so dry yet so oily at the same time. I had not yet put the piece together that without all that lovely humidity and ambient moisture in the air, my skin was dehydrated! The two cold brew coffees a day at the time, really did not help either 0:)
So let's begin by going over what dehydrated skin looks like and caused by.
Dehydration can be caused by so many different factors such as-
Dry environment, lack of moisture in the air (HI CALIFORNIA CLIMATE! )
Extreme temperatures, very hot or cold as well as constant use of AC or heaters... Especially in the winter months
Extended sun exposure
The wrong skincare, typically stripping cleansers!
Or another common culprit, too much exfoliation in your daily routine
Aging, as we age our skin starts to slow the production of oil and TEWL (AKA Trans epidermal water loss) increases
Hard water or very hot water use - shower water is typically much too hot for our faces
Internal dehydration: not drinking enough water, drinking too much coffee
What are we really talking about when we say dry, dehydrated, and oily skin? There is a balance of oil and water on the surface of the skin from the oil our pores produce and our sweat, combined it creates a powerful barrier for the skin (called an Acid Mantle) against invaders like pathogenic bacteria and fungi.
Dry skin, has a lack of oil in this combination. Dehydrated skin lacks water/hydration in this combination. Oily skin has too much oil for this balance. It is worth noting that Dry skin can also be dehydrated, so that would mean its both lacking oil and hydration! Oily skin can also be dehydrated which can exacerbate blackheads and congestion in the skin.
It is also completely possible for your skin to change over time. When we are teens we are at the pinnacle of oil production due to hormonal changes. As we age, our oil production slows as well as the ability to hold onto hydration. So our skin slowly becomes drier and less able to hold on to hydration.
In skincare, what you are using as a cleanser, sets the stage for the rest of what you put on your skin. If you are using a cleanser that is super stripping or drying, it may be throwing off the whole balance of your skin, and potentially causing more issues!
You want the foundation to be solid before piling on other things that may or may not be helpful. Using a cleanser that is right for your skin will set the rest of your products up for success.
Oil cleansing is great option for all skin types that does not leave skin stripped. Having oily skin growing up, there's no way I would have used an oil cleanser on my own. Back when everyone wanted to be as matte as possible. However, oil attracts and binds with oil, making it great for oily skin while not stripping it is very nourishing to dry skin as well. It is great for getting a deep pore cleanse while at the same time can help melt away makeup or sunscreen.
I am obsessed with this Balancing Oil Cleanser from Botnia, First start on dry skin or damp skin, making sure to take time to massage the oil cleanser in well.. Then add water, massage in and remove with a damp washcloth. What sets this cleansing oil apart from others is that it is packed with anti-inflammatory, soothing, and tissue healing herbs like Comfrey, Meadowsweet, Rose, Red Raspberry Flowers, Calendula, Lavender, Chamomile. No essential oils, these herbs were infused into the oil!
Another option, if oil is not your thing is this Gentle Cleanser from Botnia. It is a smooth gel that has a lot of glide to it, that won't compromise your skin protective barrier. It also has humectants to draw water into the skin as well as anti-inflammatory skin soothers like Arnica, Goldenseal, Chamomile and a small amount of lactic acid.
The reason I chose to carry Botnia Skincare is because I believe in their small-batch products that were developed with intention; sourcing local farms, limiting plastic usage, harnessing the innate power and wisdom of whole herbs in their formulas. No alcohol is used and very limited fragrance coming only from the plants themselves or a small amount of essential oils.
It can be overwhelming picking the right skin care for you! Luckily, I am here to help. Feel free to email me if you have any questions. I also am offering skin consultations which you can book online as well as facials!
Many of the external factors that affect our skin are out of our control, like the environment, like aging, but what we can control is what we put onto our skin!