“Less is more.” We’ve all heard this phrase. Most of us know the importance of preserving natural resources, of avoiding waste wherever possible. But this idea also has widespread value in other areas--even in the realm of cosmetics and skin care, where excess often reigns.
In fact, many skin problems can simply be resolved by limiting the number of products we use and the amount of ingredients to be found within each product. This is why we sometimes hear people comment that their skin looks it’s best, ironically, after an unfortunate illness or stay in the hospital. Of course, this isn’t always the case, but there’s something to be said about a brief bout of fever, an enforced fast, an episode of extra bed rest, an unanticipated break from makeup and skincare routines--that holds the potential to clear our skin and make it glow.
In a similar manner, many of us have suffered through a major acne outbreak or an allergic reaction ignited by a new skin care product or cosmetic. The dermatologist tells us to ditch our exciting new foundation, our beloved lotions and potions, and to stick with plain old Cetaphil and water for a while. Then, voila: our skin recovers, renews itself, is restored to balance. It may even look better than it did before.
I’ve certainly noted this “less is more” phenomenon at play with my own skin. Not only that, I’ve experienced a dramatic reduction in Rosacea symptoms from giving up, among other things--certain products meant to control Rosacea.
Gentle skincare--a routine pared down to the most effective essentials--is not only healthy for the environment and the wallet; it also allows our skin to breathe. The more products we use, the more ingredients our skin is exposed to (many of them toxic to our health); the larger the likelihood of negative interactions between ingredients; the greater the potential for clogged pores…and so on.
A closer look at Alima’s cosmetics reveal this minimalistic philosophy in action: a few solidly researched and efficacious ingredients like Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide, with a healthy lack of dyes, fragrances, preservatives, binders and synthetics.
So, how does “less is more” really translate into proper skin care? The Mayo clinic defines the “top 5 habits for healthy skin” as:
1) Sun protection
2) Avoidance of smoking
3) Gently washing skin (i.e. using lukewarm rather than hot water, mild, gentle products rather than harsh and irritating ones, patting skin rather than rubbing it, limiting bath and sauna time)
4) Moisturizing regularly
5) Shaving carefully
Add to this, a few judiciously chosen products to treat personal conditions such as Acne, Eczema, Rosacea, sun damage, and aging. Yet, even with regard to this latter category (despite the propaganda of the “anti-aging” industry), a simple approach is generally safer and more effective. The requirements for delaying or reversing signs of aging are surprisingly few:
1) Daily sun protection of at least SPF 15
2) Retinoids (Renova, Retin-A, etc., or an over-the-counter retinoid,)
3) Antioxidants (vitamin c, grape seed oil, or green tea extract, etc.)
4) Exfoliants (AHAs, BHAs, or a washcloth for more sensitive, intolerant skin)
It can be quite gratifying to pare down one’s routine to the fewest effectual products possible. To get started creating or revising your own perfect, “less is more” skin care routine, check out The Mayo Clinic (search by "skincare), Skin Type Solutions, and The National Library of Medicine Skin Aging database.
We'd love to hear what works best for you!
All the best,