We are faced daily with beautifully re-touched, airbrushed images of flawless skin. When our skin looks beautiful, we hardly think about it, but when it doesn’t, the quest for perfect skin can consume our lives.
The concept of a healthy skin is a marketing term that has been used for years. We are bombarded daily with claims and promises of the next big thing in skincare. Thanks to the rise of the medical aesthetic industry, there is a solution for almost every skin concern. Botox for wrinkles, facelifts or thread lifts for sagging skin, peels for hyperpigmentation and laser treatments for everything else. If we have access to so many procedures today, why do so many of us still not have the skin we desire? The answer is not quite as simple as a 30-minute lunchtime peel.
The majority of people are born with a healthy, optimally functioning skin. Use a young child or baby as the perfect example of what a healthy skin looks like. Well hydrated, smooth, comfortable, free of hyperpigmentation, wrinkles and acne. During our teenage years, the body starts producing hormones which affect our skin. As young adults, many of us don’t prioritize good skincare habits as we should. This leads to damage which will only become visible much later in life. This then leads us to spend a small fortune on rejuvenating procedures and products. Moderate to severe acne as a young adult, can lead to scarring and hyperpigmentation disorders later in life. The most damage we do during the ages of 10 to 30 years that alters the health of our skin, is unprotected sun exposure. This leads to a loss of elasticity, lack of firmness, rough skin texture, hyperpigmentation and melasma. Not even mentioning DNA damage and increased risk of skin cancer.
With the wide variety of skincare products, miracle serums and prescription based solutions, it’s hard to believe that many of us still struggle to achieve a healthy skin. Too many choices often lead to confusion. Modern day technology in the industry often suggests a more aggressive approach to treat skin but this may lead to more damage than desired results. Performing such procedures on a damaged or unhealthy skin, can potentially worsen a specific skin condition. We should rather focus on conservatively addressing the cause before treating the symptom. Just as we expect doctors to provide us with lifestyle advice to treat a chronic health concern, we should approach treating skin in the same way.
Our skin functions optimally when it has the perfect balance of oil and water. Anything that disturbs this balance will alter the health of the skin. Cleansers that strip the skin of natural lipids, toners that contain alcohol, home peels and aggressive scrubs are just a few of the examples of how we can exacerbate the very skin conditions we are trying to treat. Starting with suitable basic homecare products can give great results. What we use on our skin daily is very important.
- A mild but effective cleansing routine that respects the skin’s natural lipid layer. This is also relevant to oily skin, as stripping the skin of our natural moisturising factors will increase oil production.
- Avoid too much exfoliation. 2-3 Times a week is enough to assist your skin in this natural process
- Hydrating moisturisers that not only protect against moisture loss but eliminate underlying inflammation is a great plus!
- Antioxidants will protect your skin against the formation of wrinkles, hyperpigmentation and other signs of ageing.
- SPF should not only be applied on a daily basis but should be re applied every 3 hours.
Our skin is the most important organ that protect our bodies from external aggressors like allergens, bacteria and microorganisms. We should respect it enough to prioritize the health of our skin before treating the symptoms of years of neglect.