Are You Overdoing It? The Truth About Layering Skincare Products

Are You Overdoing It? The Truth About Layering Skincare Products

When it comes to using skincare products, it seems that if a little is good, then more is certainly better. And if you have multiple skin concerns (like adult acne plus fine lines and wrinkles, or hyperpigmentation plus redness and sensitivity), then you are probably using several different products already.

But instead of getting the results that you were expecting, you may find yourself left with sensitized and irritated skin from too much experimentation with different treatments. You are now left with the unfortunate conclusion that more is not better at all, but perhaps harmful. So what do you do next?

Give Your Skin a Break

We all have a skincare routine, or at least are trying to find the right one to keep our skin feeling healthy and beautiful. But, are we using too many products in our routines? Are we tipping the scale toward harm rather than healing?

Fix your red, sensitive skin

Chances are, if your skin is becoming oilier, drier, sensitive, red, flaky, or even painful, you might be overdoing it.

Chances are, if your skin is becoming oilier, drier, sensitive, red, flaky, or even painful, you might be overdoing it. The products you use may include extremely effective active ingredients, but mixing and matching them incorrectly can cause negative results like irritation and inflammation. Each of those different products may also contain filler ingredients like silicone, alcohol, glycerin, butylene glycol, or mineral oil, or toxic ingredients like phthalates, dyes, artificial fragrances and parabens.

So how can you reduce the number of products you use when each is supposed to help you with a different skin concern?

Find the Right Ingredients for Your Skin

Instead of using too many products and layering treatments on top of each other in an elaborate multi-step routine, we recommend this: get the most from your skincare by using fewer but better products formulated with the right active ingredients.

Activist is different from the vast majority of skincare companies because we firmly believe that less is more, and we want our clients to use fewer products and ingredients by identifying the ones your skin actually needs and leaving everything else out.

Our products are formulated to leave out everything that isn’t going to directly benefit your skin.

Yes, our serums are custom-formulated with active ingredients to address any combination of skin concerns, but that doesn’t mean that a large number of ingredients is needed to give you results. Our products are formulated to leave out everything that isn’t going to directly benefit your skin. We focus only on the active ingredients that will help your skin, no matter what state it is in — including irritation and inflammation from too much experimentation with previous products.

How to layer your skincare products

An Ideal Skincare Regimen

1. Cleanse. Cleansing is the step where you're most likely to disrupt your skin's natural balance by removing too many of its natural protective oils and upsetting your lipid barrier. So generally, foaming cleansers that get your skin squeaky clean are not a good idea, especially if you have sensitive skin or a problem with oiliness. The more oil you remove, the more your skin will over-produce oil to compensate for what you've lost. Instead, go with a gentle formulation like our cleansers which are all oil-based!

2. Tone. Toners help soothe your skin and restore its pH balance, which is naturally acidic (anywhere between 4 and 7, but most commonly around 5.5). Toners also help remove residue from your cleanser, or any impurities your cleanser left behind, if you feel that is needed. And, since they are water-based (don't use one with alcohol!), they add hydration.

Our Healing Water Toning Mist can be spritzed on for pH balancing and hydration, or wiped on with a cotton round if you want to do a gentle "second cleanse" that will remove some of the oils left on your skin after using one of our oil-based cleansers.

Our philosophy is one of "less is more," so we hope that you won't get too aggressive in either putting too much on your face that needs to be taken off at the end of the day (like pore-clogging foundation or waterproof eye makeup), or go overboard with cleansing.

3. Treat. Now your face is primed to receive the treatment that will make a difference for your complexion: your serum, for example Active Hydration. This step is where your skin will soak up the active ingredients and nutrition that it needs to address whatever concerns you're facing, like hyperpigmentation, anti-aging, acne, etc.

4. Moisturize. Here comes the icing on the cake: the final, outer layer that provides a nice, soft and hydrated feeling. This is where you help seal in the active ingredients you got with your serum, as well as add softness and hydration. Precious Oils Active Infusion is a face oil with benefits beyond moisturization because it's infused with antioxidants and active ingredients that help protect your skin from sun and environmental damage as well as moisture loss.

Follow up step 4 with sun protection if you're getting exposure. We advise you to stick to mineral sunscreens, which are better for the planet and more tolerable for sensitive skin. They form a physical barrier against the sun instead of involving a chemical reaction that degrades over time (and can even start hurting your skin after the protective nature of the chemical sunscreen wears off in 90 minutes or so).

+ Exfoliate 1-3x weekly. Exfoliation has been in the spotlight thanks to the rise of the beauty blog scene, but proceed with caution here. Your skin has its own built-in mechanisms for renewing itself (including shedding dead skin), and having some dead skin cells on the surface is actually protective — it's like armor to protect your new, fresh skin cells just below the surface from the elements, like UV rays (not that it fully replaces sunscreen) or dry air. Over-exfoliation causes sensitivity (just like over-cleansing). So go easy on the exfoliation by sticking to 1-3 times per week, letting your skin guide you: save it for times when your complexion is truly dull and hidden under a layer of dead cells. Vitamin C Superpowder is our exfoliator that will let you start slow and gentle by diluting it with plenty of water and leaving it on for only a couple of seconds, but it can also definitely give you enough oomph for anyone who's an exfoliation superstar.

How to Heal Your Sensitive Skin After Overdoing It

If you’ve found yourself with a skincare product hangover, the good news is this: we can help you! This complaint is so common among skincare enthusiasts who are constantly trying out new products on their faces, and we have treated clients with this exact issue!

The ideal first step is to discontinue as many of the products you're currently using as possible and start over with an extremely simple and mild skincare routine. The only three real essential steps are a gentle cleanser, hydrator and moisturizer. Use this minimalist routine for at least a week. You might end up loving your skin more than ever!

If you still have skin concerns you want to address, the ideal next step is to ask us to make a Custom Serum for you. We'll hone in on ingredients that calm irritation and inflammation, as well as target your particular skin concerns, whether that includes acne, aging, hyperpigmentation, or anything else.