Be careful with exfoliating products on your body
I want to start off by saying that I don’t think these products are bad (nor do I think retinol face serums are a problem). In fact, these ingredients can do wonders for your skin’s appearance: BHAs can help improve acne breakouts, retinols can boost collagen production, and AHAs can help brighten skin tone and fade dark spots. All I can leave.
However, I get tired when these powerful actives aren’t paired with the right recovery products — or when people aren’t paying attention to how they’re using them. Just as I would never encourage someone to use a BHA cleanser and then a retinol serum and switch to an AHA cream all in one go – people need to cut back on their body care routines before they cause damage.
My TikTok feed is full of people’s “prepping for summer” routines that involve several steps of exfoliation. These are treatments that are ripe for irritation and barrier disruption, resulting in skin damage and sensitivity.
You see, acting as a barrier is your skin’s most important function. “It protects us from mechanical damage, low humidity, cold, heat, sun, wind, chemical exposure, bacteria, viruses, fungi and other pathogens,” explains board-certified dermatologist Hadley King, MD, stating that “a healthy bar’ It is crucial for the normal functioning of the skin.”
When we interfere with this function, our skin is unable to retain water, protect us from free radicals and can even lead to chronic skin conditions such as eczema.
It’s not just mechanical and physiological issues to worry about: long-term chronic inflammation caused by a weakened skin barrier can eventually lead to signs of premature aging. It’s a concept called inflammation, and it affects your body just as much as it affects your face. Inflammation on the body can look like dark spots, loss of elasticity, fine lines and wrinkles – yes, in the hope of solving a skin problem, you can make it worse by overdoing it.