There are many things I wish I had known about skincare in my twenties and that I would have done differently if I could do it over. I could have spared myself much suffering, breakouts, blemishes, and general discomfort.
I have been in a privileged position to learn a lot about the skin, skincare, and the chemistry of skincare formulations over the last few years, and the changes I made to my routine have changed my skin! Here are 3 things I changed in my routine over the past decade.
Micellar water vs. Double Cleansing
I have never used makeup wipes. I’ve always hated them, but I was guilty of trying to cleanse my face as quickly as possible after rowdy nights out in my twenties 😊. Enter cotton pads and micellar water. Many dermatologists love this and would recommend it as your first cleanse, but this never worked for me. It always burned my eyes, and it felt like I was rubbing my eyes raw to get the makeup off. Therefore, I would just give up and go to bed.
When I discovered the magic that is Double Cleansing, my skin just glowed. It was one of the most important and significant changes I made in my skincare routine. If you use the right cleansing balm or oil followed by a gel or other cleanser, every grain of makeup is removed, and your skin glows. I am a huge fan of double cleanses, and if you want to know more about why and how to do it, read my post here. I use the FIGGI Purify the Goddess Makeup Dissolving Cleansing Balm-to-Oil as step 1 and follow it up with the Refresh the Goddess Gentle Gel Cleanser.
My skin is less sensitive, I have very few breakouts, and my other products penetrate much better, giving me that fantastic glow we all want. Trust me – double cleansing should be the secret weapon in your skincare routine.
How To Use Retinol
I will talk more about my skin type in my last tip below, but I will just preface this section by noting that I did not understand my skin type in my twenties. I completed magazine quizzes and made up my mind about what I thought my skin type was 😊. Not the most intelligent decision. I do not deal well with retinol. My skin is sensitive and reactive, and I struggle to add this into my routine without severe and continued reactions.
When I was younger, I just thought about doing what I could to stop aging. O, to be young and dumb again! This meant I slathered on any drugstore retinol I could find and sealed it in with a moisturizer. No wonder my skin was constantly inflamed, red, itching, flaking, and breaking out! First, I needed to understand more about my products’ percentages of active ingredients. I did not check this. Now I know you can go as low as 0.01% of retinol in your routine, which will still help. Will it be as powerful as higher percentages with the quicker results you seek? Absolutely not. But with sensitive skin, slow, controlled, and measured patience is the only way.
Adding to this series of unfortunate decisions, I applied retinol first, followed by moisturizer. Why is this an issue for sensitive skin? Good moisturizers help us prevent trans epidermal water loss. This means it creates a seal over the skin, keeping all the goodness of the moisturizer in and avoiding the loss of water through the skin. It also seals in active ingredients placed underneath it. So, I was closing in a high percentage of retinol on my skin every night and leaving it for 8-10 hours.
When you apply the retinol over your moisturizer, you have a buffer between your skin and the active ingredient making it less intense and invasive to sensitive skin.
Avoiding Essential Oils
One of the things I did get right at a young age was avoiding fragrance. I have always been sensitive to this, and my skin reacted badly. However, if I had known my skin type was dry and sensitive, I could have made better decisions about the products I used. I always assumed I had normal to combination skin – no sensitivity whatsoever. I feel silly writing this and thinking back on how blind and naïve I was in my skincare routine.
When I went to my dermatologist, got help identifying my skin type, and started using the correct products, my skin completely changed. Not only that, but I was suddenly not in constant itching and burning agony. I learned that many fragrance-free products contain essential oils to help enhance the smell or mask foul odors from other ingredients in the products. Getting on the aromatherapy, natural bandwagon, I assumed this was a good thing for my skin, right? Wrong! My skin is extremely sensitive to essential oils. I have reacted badly to tea tree, citrus-based oils, and lavender. Redness, burning, itching, flaking, and nasty breakouts. Tea tree actually caused a mild burn on my chin once.
When I started looking for products without essential oils, which is almost impossible to find if you also need the product to be fragrance-free, it made an immense difference to my skin. I love the FIGGI Beauty range because it’s free from essential oils and fragrance-free, and I know exactly what is in it and the percentages of it.
We all need to do what works for our different skin types. Skincare is highly personal, and what works for me may not work for you. That said, we were all young and made less-than-stellar skincare decisions 😉.
How has your routine changed in the last decade? I would love to know what did not work for you and what made the most significant positive difference in your skincare since you made the change.
Love and Light