I’ve ranted before about capitalists who steal all our money by selling us the solutions to the problems they have created. This time I’m on the skincare offensive!
Cleverly, shower gels, body washes, bath soaks, etc are displayed separately to creams, lotions and moisturisers. If items were arranged by brand, we would see every ‘softening’, ‘moisturising’ shower gel next to the matching softening, moisturising cream, made by the same people. This would make it too obvious to us that we are being sold products that don’t work. If I use a moisturising cleansing product, why do I need to use a cream as well? If I’m using this lovely softening gel everyday, why do I find myself needing ever more moisturiser?
Of course, there are external factors that affect how dry your skin gets, like air conditioning, pollution, diet, hydration (hint: drink loads of water, it pretty much heals everything). However, it’s no accident that cleansing products dry out your skin, so that you need… Moisturiser! And handily, our lovely toiletry companies sell moisturisers that will match the scent of your body wash/shampoo/perfume, so you can make every inch of your body smell like a strawberry/mango/lemon/chocolate bar/baby (delete as appropriate).
Now. Everyone has a different lifestyle. Some people are active and sweaty, others are sedentary, others get covered in blood/soil/shit. In my opinion, most people are showering too much.
Don’t get me wrong, I do love a warm shower after a long day. By all means, go for it. But you don’t need to use a cleanser every time. I get covered in soil and manure pretty often, but I find some hot water and a good scrub will get rid of pretty much everything. Sometimes, if I’m significantly more soiled than usual, I’ll get out my trusty bar of soap and lather up a bit. But most of the time, I don’t use it, nor do I need it. And guess what else I don’t need – moisturiser.
I’ve had problems with dry skin for a long time. I then started using coconut oil after a shower, and things got a bit better… However, since I stopped using body wash, my skin stays soft without ever using moisturiser. If I want to feel extra pampered, I’ll massage some coconut oil in, but I never feel that I need it. This is because I’m not stripping the natural oils from my skin, that keep it in good condition, by scrubbing cleanser all over myself.
Coconut oil can also be used as a cleanser. It’s great for wiping off make-up, and gentle enough to be used around the eyes. You can also try oil cleansing, which involves massaging the oil into your face and then placing a hot flannel or towel over it, until it cools. The hot flannel will open up the follicles (tiny holes in your face) and the oil will dissolve some of the sebum in the pores. You can then use the flannel to gently scrub your face, hopefully getting rid of some of the sebum that’s been lurking. If you are prone to more aggressive acne, then it’s advisable to steer clear of coconut oil, as it can be comedogenic (encourages comedones* to form). In general, washing your face too much with cleansers will cause the skin to secret more sebum, as cleansers get rid of it. The more sebum the skin produces, the more likely it is that it will mix with dead skin cells and form comedones*.
So – simplify! Go ahead and use up the rest of your products, or give them to someone who’ll appreciate them… I mean, you’ve bought them, so you don’t have to throw them away.
But then, revel in the simplicity of your shelves, no longer bulging with bright coloured bottles, claiming miracles. Watch your bank balance steady itself, caress your smooth, supple skin, and don’t forget to laugh in the face of skincare adverts!
*Comedo (pl. comedones) is a fancy term for a spot, or follicle blockage! ‘Blackheads’ and ‘Whiteheads’ are both types of comedo – blackheads occur when the follicle blockage is open to the surface of the skin, and the substance blocking the follicle is oxidised, turning it black. A whitehead occurs when the blockage is close to the skin’s surface, but not open. The blockage is made up of sebum and dead skin cells. Yummy! Sebum is the oily stuff that the skin secrets, to keep our skin and hair waterproof, and to act as a barrier to bacteria, fungal infections, etc. Thanks, sebum!