Murphy’s law decrees that whatever can go wrong will. And nowhere does this happen more often than with one’s skin. In fact, it’s so common to be dealing with multiple skin problems at once, that if you only have one skin issue you are dealing with at present, count yourself lucky. For the rest of us gals, we’ve got some work to be done…

The tricky thing with dealing with various skin woes is that one type of product could be exacerbating another condition. For example, if you are using abrasive, foaming scrubs to deal with your acne, then you could be making your dry skin condition worse. Or if you have sensitive skin plus an acne flare up, then you might feel like there’s nothing that you can do to treat your acne while also not aggravating your skin. Ditto aging skin and acne due to hormonal fluctuations. The combination of issues is endless. 

On to the good news! There is an order of events that can help calm and guide your skin toward recovery. Ready? 

Step 1: Deal with sensitive skin first.

If your skin is inflamed due to a product or ingredient you are using, stop using it. Don’t make your rosacea worse. If you are not sure which product is causing your skin to throw a fit, take out products one by one to see if you can’t pinpoint the cause. Or, if your budget allows, buy yourself a moisturizer that is known to be sensitive skin-safe with the reviews to back it up.

Also, your diet will absolutely affect how your skin looks in this matter. Alcohol, sugars, fatty foods, and too much salt all cause puffiness, bloat, and inflammation that you don’t need. 

Step 2: Check if dehydration is causing your other skin issues.

Dehydrated skin could be at the root of some of your skin problems, such as oiliness and even acne. (And for a very simple summation of the difference between dry and dehydrated skin: Dry skin is determined by genetics and internal factors. Dehydrated skin is due to external factors, such as how much water you are drinking, the weather, etc.)

Dehydrated skin slows down skin cell renewal and can cause your skin to look aged, complete with fine lines, wrinkles, and loss of elasticity. So you take care of dehydrated skin first before you go on to diagnose yourself with other possible issues—cuz it could simply be dehydration that is causing your skin to throw a fit. Hyaluronic acid is a saviour in this area and is safe to use for pretty much any skin type.

Additionally, a litre water bottle is a must-have at your desk. But ignoring it or giving it side-eye will do no good for you. So drink up! Also, consider a humidifier in the winter. 

Step 3: Use targeted ingredients for aging skin.

Once you have determined that your aging skin is, in fact, aging skin and not related to dehydration, you can begin treatment for that. Look for targeted serums versus all-in-one creams. When your skin has multiple trigger points that could cause various issues, you want to minimize the number of ingredients you put on your skin so that you have less to worry about.

A topical collagen could bring immediate relief for aging skin issues. But for something longer term, you will want to begin looking into retinoid options. Keep in mind there is an adjustment period when beginning retinoids where your skin might get inflamed, dry, and itchy. And if you are dealing with a lot of different issues at present, you might want to hold off until you feel ready to deal with the adjustment period of retinoid treatments.

Step 4: Avoid these products for oily skin and acne.

Foaming cleansers and exfoliators that strip the skin of its oils could actually be causing your skin to produce more oil to make up for what it perceives as highway robbery via foam! So if you’ve been having no luck with your current cleansers, you might want to try a gentler approach. And even consider oil cleansers and cream-based moisturizers to see if your skin might react better with that. Experiment a little. Consider, too, if other external or hormonal factors could be causing your acne issues.

Lastly, it can be hard to be patient as you try out new routines and you explore your options, but don’t give up. “How long should you try? Until…” Jim Rohn said that—likely about something other than skincare. But hey, it applies! Good luck!

—Emma Jean


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