It was only recently that I realized that I was truly insane. At least, when it came to how I take care of my clogged pores. Repeating the same mistakes endlessly and expecting a different result.
Let me fill you in. A couple of weeks before the year's end, renowned esthetician Shani Darden treated me for the first time. It wasn't a good first impression, what with my T-zone looking like a war zone. Blackheads sprouting throughout it, my face topped off with a rocky chin and a bright red milia highlighting my nose. Darden's bright light came to life as I cried out, "Why does my skin look like this?". Darden's answer was simple, incorrect cleansing of my combination skin.
My dirty blocked pores were my own doing. The moment my skin was clean was the same moment they re-clogged. As a side note, why do we do this? Are we that egotistical? Cleansing is a tricky business, at least for me. I always get it wrong, my vision clouded by a myriad of moisturizers, masks, and serums. This results in me paying the least amount of attention to it.
Hollywood's other facial expert Renee Rouleau explains, "Individuals with combination skin pay little importance to cleansers. In fact, they view it as an aside rather than a focus.". She continues, "Sadly, it is the cleanser that either makes a routine work or sets it up to fail. Starting off your routine with unhealthy skin should be a non-starter. Cleansing your face and the products you cleanse it with are the most vital parts of your routine.".
After speaking with Rouleau, Darden, and New York City dermatologist Rachel Nazarian, I have compiled their advice. All in an effort to help my combination skin comrades in their battle against clogged pores. Read on to learn how to fix the five most common cleansing mistakes you are probably making.
Mistake #1: Applying a Formula That is Too Harsh for Your Face
All experts agree that chemical-based and fragrance-loaded soaps and cleansers when attempting to scrub out breakouts is a massive combo skin mistake. Darden explains, "This drys out your skin excessively and leads to irritation.". I inquired as to why and she kindly explained, "Strong cleansers pull out excess water and this causes a build-up of dead skin cells.". At this point, Rouleau further elaborated, "Moisturizer must quickly be applied to remedy the situation.".
The key to avoiding this is using sulfate-free cleansers with the lowest lather possible. No more irritated skin post-cleansing. Afterward, you have 60 seconds to finish your routine. Rouleau explains why "Bare skin begins to dehydrate after one minute.".
Garnier SkinActive the Gentle Sulfate-Free Cleanser $11.00, Buy Here
Mistake #2: Forgetting to Cleanse Post Gym
This is an obvious mistake that I committed several times. Especially after having received a facial from Darden, forgetting to wash my face after the gym. "Not washing your face after a workout clogs your pores.", Darden stated.
Before you ask, no, facial wipes for cleansing are no good. Rouleau strongly believes that "Wipes are not a smart choice for combo skin types due to them smearing dirt, makeup, oil, and bacteria across your face.".
How about we all agree to just use an adequate face wash? CeraVe Travel Size Hydrating Cleanser ($5) is the right choice.
Mistake #3: Skipping the Morning Cleanse
Rouleau has experience with this, "Combo types are lazy and they believe that their skin is already clean from their nightly wash.". Clogged pores still occur and this is how.
"Your skin enters a mode of repair at night.", Rouleau explained. This impedes the job of your daytime products and new bacteria is introduced to your pores by touching your face or wearing a hair net. Ingredients such as retinol, BHAs, and AHAs must be removed from the skin the following day to prevent irritation or redness. Rouleau went on to say, "This is non-negotiable. Clean your face in the morning.".
Is Clinical Cleansing Complex $45.00, Buy Here
Mistake #4: Using Oil as a Cleanser
What to know the reason for my milia and disgusting blackheads? My cherished oils and balms were not right for me or my skin type. Our relationship had to end if I was to save my skin from the kingdom of looking terrible.
"Cleansing oils and their equivalent balms have fooled many people into falling in love with them and all because of their decadent feel when used. ", said Rouleau. I think attest to this with my own experience. The bane of any clog-happy pore is the residue left behind by these cleansing oils.
Remember that oils grew in weight and strength when used in conjunction with other products such as serums and toners. The result is a cell membrane that was not penetrated effectively. To summarize this load of information, multiple cleansing and balms may be popular at the moment, but combo types must stay away.
Renée Rouleau Luxe Mint Cleansing Gel $33.00, Buy Here
Mistake #5: Using Too Many Products At Once
Dermatologist Rachel Nazarian, who lives in New York City, states that the most common combo skin type mistake that she has witnessed is applying a plethora of products all at once. The reason is due to the prevalence of misdiagnosis of one's self and the attempts at fixing the non-existent issues.
She further explains, "When you mix and overuse multiple products at once, you are unable to figure out which product is damaging your skin and pores. The issues could range from flaring skin to acne breakouts.". Mixing all these chemicals could even trigger new and unforeseen reactions on your skin. Nazarian continues, "It is entirely possible that some chemicals may lessen the effect of other chemicals. What you are left with is an ineffective routine that weighs down your skin.".
What can be done to avoid this issue? Pick a basic routine and be consistent with it. Over time, slowly introduce products one at a time. This way, you can know what product is causing what reaction.