A few days ago I wrote an introductory post about my skin and the irritations and reactions I’ve been experiencing in recent years. I’ve been researching and reading books in hopes of finding a remedy. Most have been diet related. Recently though I read Beyond Soap: The Real Truth About What You Are Doing to Your Skin and How to Fix It for a Beautiful, Healthy Glow by Dr. Sandy Skotnicki (a dermatologist with over 20 years of professional experience) and it has me adding a new tool to my clear, smooth and radiant skin toolbox.
Our skin’s appearance is due to a mix of genetics (about 60%) and lifestyle choices (40%). Lifestyle includes things like exercise, diet, sun exposure, and smoking. I’m doing OK on the first three (room for more consistency, but OK) and I’ve never smoked. Upon reading Beyond Soap I think I’ve found the missing piece of the puzzle for my problem skin — I have irritation from using too many skin care products as well as sensitivity to some ingredients in my skincare products (quite likely some of the amazing smelling botanicals). However, I won’t know for sure until I do a product reboot.
Before I get into that, here is a little book review.
This book is a throughly well-researched and accessible read. It addresses how allergies, irritation and sensitive skin are on the rise. It begins with a combination history, anthropology and science lesson on hygiene, cleanliness, and the truth behind ingredients. The marketing of body care products and the lack of their regulation is astounding and depressing.
In recent decades Dr. Skotnicki (and many others) say we have been over cleaning our skin, stripping away our healthy oils ,and breaking down our protective layers. When issues arise we pile on more cleansers, exfoliants, creams and serums (plus shampoos and conditioners). Instead of helping this makes things worse.
Beyond Soap provides excellent information and easy-to-follow suggestions so you can be empowered with good science (and not hearsay ) and take a step back from excessive cleaning, hidden ingredients, marketing fears, and bottomline – take better care of your skin.
The Product Elimination Diet
Have you ever heard of an elimination diet? You remove foods that are common allergens or cause disruptive digestion or other unpleasant symptoms and then one by one slowly re-introduce them to your diet. It’s a useful way of identifying triggers to your symptoms so you can avoid them in the future. The skin version works in much the same way. You stick to a very simple allergen and irritant free regime of products an then after 2 weeks you introduce products one by one, each week or every few days. You monitor your skin to see if and what causes a reaction.
Since Sunday I’ve stopped using all of my skincare products as well as hair styling products. I’ve stopped diffusing essential oils, got rid of fabric sheets that I used to keep my shoes from stinking up the closet. I carry a little bit of hand cleanser bar with me for public washroom use.
What I’m Using
Organic virgin coconut oil
No name petroleum jelly
Bioderma Sensibio H2O Micellar Cleansing Water and Makeup Remover Solution for Face and Eyes – 16.7 fl. oz. *
Vichy 24H Deodorant Sensitive Skin Aluminum-Free Stick
Eau Thermale Avène Tolérance Extrême Cream, 1.69 fl. oz. *
Aveeno Moisturizing Bar 3.5 Oz (Pack of 6) *
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