Have you heard of the trend of skin fasting or the skin detox movement? What do you think of it?
I ask people to do this every day! Our skin is getting too much stimulation with active ingredients or occlusion from silicone containing makeup that it needs a break!
Would you recommend that someone eliminate ALL skin care products in their routine? If yes/no, why?
When someone comes in with irritated or inflamed skin, I ask them to stop using all skin care products except for a gentle, hypoallergenic cleanser and moisturizer. When your skin is irritated, the skin barrier is not intact and will lose more water, slowing the healing process. This is why I encourage the use of a moisturizer. My patients will use Doctor Rogers RESTORE Face Wash and RESTORE Healing Balm before bed. When using the healing balm, warm a small amount in your hands and pat all over your face then blot with a tissue. It works wonders. If you stop EVERYTHING when your skin is irritated, it will take away the cause of the irritation; however, adding in a gentle moisturizer will help accelerate the healing process.
Once their skin has returned to normal, we can slowly reintroduce products starting with the most important; whichever one they miss the most as long as I don’t think it’s the source of the problem. If things go well for a week, then we can introduce another product and continue until we find the problem. For those with sensitive skin, fewer products with fewer ingredients is the goal.
What are some of the things that would happen if someone got rid of all of their skin care products? Is it better to gradually eliminate them?
Stopping the use of ALL skin care products at once would only be harmful if you had a skin infection which could spread without treatment or if you get sunburned. Otherwise, even for patients with rosacea and psoriasis, a week or a month without their prescription medication is fine but their skin disease may flare!
Do you think that a trend like skin fasting can be harmful to some people who actually really do need certain products or medications for their skin?
It is perfectly fine to go “cold turkey” but don’t go back to EVERYTHING all at once. It can be too much for your skin and increase the risk of an unwanted reaction. It’s better to add back one product at a time. This way, you will be better able to see what agrees with your skin and what is unnecessary.
Are 10-step skincare routines simply a marketing ploy to make us spend more or are their benefits to using so many products in one go such as an oil cleanser, a foam or cream cleanser, a toner, an essence, an emulsion, a serum, a sheet mask, eye cream, moisturizer, and, finally, sunscreen?
As a dermatologist, my skin care recommendations are steeped in understanding the science of the skin, with over a decade of caring for tens of thousands of patients while staying abreast of the latest clinical research. There is no data to suggest that using 10 steps is better for the skin than using fewer. In fact, the skin’s job is to keep stuff OUT; when layering this many products, it often leads to wasted product at best and skin irritation or unwanted chemical accumulation at worst. For most people, a 10-step skin care routine is overwhelming and just the thought of it can prevent a person from doing the skin steps that are proven to make a difference for our skin.
Why do you think the skincare detox movement is gaining momentum now?
We are trying to simplify our over-complicated lives. The skincare detox goes hand in hand with the whole food movement and Marie Kondo’s de-cluttering movement. We are over stimulated, both mind and body; detoxing our skincare is one way to simplify and put our minds at ease. Fewer steps, fewer ingredients, fewer chemicals, less packaging, less waste is what people are searching for BUT without sacrificing results.
What are the tell-tale signs that someone is using too many products?
When someone’s skin becomes red, dry and irritated, this is a tell-tale sign that they need to cut back on their products.
What products or ingredients do you recommend for someone who wants to undertake a skincare detox?
When someone comes in with irritated or inflamed skin, I ask them to stop using all skin care products except for a gentle, hypoallergenic cleanser and moisturizer. When skin is irritated or inflamed, the skin barrier is not intact, losing more water and letting in more chemicals, slowing the healing process. My patients will use Doctor Rogers RESTORE Face Wash followed by a light layer of RESTORE Healing Balm to help the skin heal.
Once their skin has calmed down, we slowly reintroduce products once a week until we have a simplified skin care regimen that still includes key products. I recommend my patients work towards the following steps:
- Wash face or splash with water
- Antioxidant serum with at least 10% Vit C
- Moisturizer (if normal to dry skin)
- Zinc-based, broad spectrum sunscreen with at least 10% zinc and spf 30
- Wash face
- Treatment to promote cell turnover (tretinoin/retinol or AHA/BHA)
- Moisturizer (all skin types)
For some, the 10-step skin ritual feels like self-care and calms the soul. Less stress, less cortisol, less inflammation is good for your skin, your body and your mind. If you are part of the group who loves the process of caring for your skin then great – keep your routine but still be selective in the products and ingredients to limit your risk of irritation or allergy.
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Meet the author: Board-certified and practicing dermatologist, Dr. Heather D. Rogers, MD, is the founder of Doctor Rogers Skin Care and Modern Dermatology in Seattle, Washington. She studied at Stanford, University of Washington School of Medicine and Columbia University Medical Center. She lectures nationally, is well published, and an active member of the American Academy of Dermatology. Highly respected among the skin care community, Dr. Rogers has been annually named “Top 1% of Most Honored Doctors in the US” by Castle Connolly.