Like Marie Kondo, I love a mess, just not when it comes to skincare. While there’s no shortage of great products out there, I’ve found that a lot of my patients have been overdoing it, and who can blame them? With trends like double cleansing and 12 step skincare routines rising to prominence, it’s never been more popular to have a maximalist approach when it comes to products. While using skincare as selfcare and really taking your time to focus on your dermatologic health are great things, product overload can lead to a whole host of issues. Using too many occlusive moisturizers, serums and essences can lead to comedonal acne. Applying several active ingredients at once can cause them to interact with each other, rendering them ineffective. Even the chances of inducing a skin allergy like allergic contact dermatitis increase with every ingredient that comes into contact with the skin. If you’re experiencing any of these issues, or just feel like your skin isn’t reacting well to your regimen, you may need to hit the reset button. Here are my tips for making like Marie and simplifying your skincare routine.
What can I get rid of?
While they might spark joy, research and expert opinion have deemed the following inessential, so they should be the first to go:
- Eye cream – experts agree: there’s no need for a separate moisturizer for the eye area. Stick with a single facial moisturizer and save a buck (or fifty).
- Toner – while they’ve been widely touted as the step that “completes cleansing,” toners don’t really serve an important purpose when it comes to skincare. The harsher versions based on alcohol or witch hazel can even be irritating, drying and counterproductive.
- Scrubs – I too was brought up on the idea that daily apricot scrub was the natural fast track to beautiful skin. Instead I ended up naturally inflamed. What’s more: the versions with microbeads have been found to have a negative impact on the environment. Just like that ex who sends you 2 AM “You up?” texts, you should put physical exfoliants on mute.
What do I actually need?
These are the bare essentials. When doing a skincare reset, start here. Once your skin is under control, you can add back the extras you like one at a time.
- Gentle cleanser – choose one that’s nondrying and works with your skin type, and use it in the AM and PM.
- Daytime moisturizer with SPF – lock in moisture and protect yourself from the aging and carcinogenic effects of the sun – this also checks off 2 out of the 4 Commandments of Antiaging
- Nighttime moisturizer — You don’t need SPF while you sleep so this is a good opportunity to choose a richer moisturizer, or one with actives to help you achieve your skincare goals
- Unscented bar soap or body wash – whichever you choose, going unscented means less chances of causing sensitivity. And make sure you’re using it the right way.
- Fragrance-free body moisturizer – slather this bad boy on after you shower to lock in hydration.
- Lip balm – you can choose a thick petrolatum-based ointment, or a stick version for portability and ease of use, but you really only need one.
What do I do with the leftovers?
While I enjoy using the Konmari method when it comes to skincare, I don’t love the environmental implications of just throwing everything out. If you think you might want to add a product back in later on, save it. If you know you’ll never use it again, see if you can share it with a fellow skincare lover. If a product is expired, go ahead and dispose of it but PLEASE make sure you’re recycling as much packaging as possible! Each product we purchase contributes to our carbon footprint and has an environmental impact—try to remember that when revamping or restocking.
Now that you have a guide, go ahead and simplify! I would love to see a snapshot of everything you’re cutting out too – send them to me via DM on Instagram: @dermangelo.