How long did it take you to figure out the perfect skin care routine for your face? A year? A few years? Decades? You might not have even found it yet. Putting together the perfect concoction of soaps, moisturisers, toners, oils, medications and exfoliants can seem like an impossible task. It doesn’t help that every single product on the market is simultaneously yelling at us that they are the best and will also cure cancer and bring peace to the Middle East. Where are you supposed to even start?
Dermatologist Dr. Sandy Skotnicki wants to simplify the process. In her new book, Beyond Soap, she advocates for actually understanding how the skin (and all the products you put on it) works instead of listening to what advertisers want you to hear. No matter how many times Dove tells you they want you to feel great in your skin, they want your money more.
So what does Skotnicki want us to understand about our skin? Most importantly: squeaky clean is not how you want it to feel.
“I try to make the science as easy as possible,” she explained on Your Morning, “Our skin is like a brick wall and the mortar of our wall is fats or lipids. And soap and water, even just water, remove the mortar.
“So when we’re in the shower and we’re washing ourselves, we’re conditioned [to remove everything from our skin] because ‘It’s for health.’ You’re actually damaging your skin with soap and water. It’s removing that mortar of the brick wall.”
According to Skotnicki’s research, on average, women will put 16 different products on their skin before they even leave the house – something that is making over 40 per cent of the population believe they have sensitive skin. In fact, it’s less likely that your skin is sensitive and more likely all the products on your face are reacting to make your skin dry or more prone to acne.
Skotnicki isn’t just talking about the moisturizers and cleansers you intentionally put on your face. Those 16 products include the shampoo and conditioner that wash over your face in the shower and then everything else – including masks, pore strips and treatments – that you put on your face intentionally. And of course, makeup. When you think about it, all that “skin care” seems like skin torture.
So what does a dermatologist do to take care of her skin? It’s actually pretty simple.
“I wear sunscreen every day. I use a bit of retinol. I try to eat well, drink a lot of water, exercise, get eight hours of sleep,” Skotnick explains.
“I use a micellar cleanser so I actually don’t use water,” she said of her face cleansing routine, “Micellar is a category of cleanser where the detergent is kind of sprinkled in the water. And that’s it. It’s very simple.”
Skotnick also says that you don’t need to wash your entire body, just your “bits.” That’s under your arms, the groin area and other places that are actually dirty. She says that while we think it’s “healthy” to scrub every surface of our bodies, it’s actually damaging our skin and giving us symptoms that seem like allergies to certain products or sensitive skin.
What?! Only wash your bits?
Take it or leave it, that’s the word of a real dermatologist and published author. So if you can get past going against everything you’ve ever learned about washing yourself, your skin might actually thank you for it.