From our teen years on, we are trained to think that moisturizing our skin is a fundamental part of our skincare routine. Cleanse your skin and then moisturize – no questions asked!
However, we want to present an idea that may shock you.
You don’t need moisturizer.
Yes, that’s right. You don’t actually need those expensive “anti-aging, transformative creams made with a mix of extracts and smoothing supplements.”
Let us explain.
The Moisturizing Myth
The natural oil-producing glands in your skin make a substance, called sebum, which lubricates your skin and prevents it from losing water. If your skin produces too much sebum, you have oily skin. If you produce too little sebum, your skin gets dehydrated and damaged, making it dry and sensitive. But when you produce the right amount of sebum, your skin is healthy and well hydrated.
When you use a moisturizer twice a day, every day, it interferes with the production of sebum. The more effective your moisturizer, the less natural sebum your skin makes. This allows your skin cells to lose water and get dehydrated. Using moisturizer daily can actually cause your skin to become dependent on the extra moisture causing your skin to become dull and lifeless.
Of course, there are always exceptions when it comes to making blanket statements like, “no one needs to moisturize.” While a majority of people don’t actually need to use moisturizer, there is a percentage of people that have true dry skin problems, like those with eczema, who benefit from using a moisturizer at the direction of a dermatologist.
What does your skin actually need?
So, if don’t need moisturizer in your skincare routine, what do you need?
Drs. Cohen and Swartz suggest a simple three step approach to skin care.
Protecting your skin against damaging UVA and UVB rays is the most important thing you can do for the overall look and health of your skin. We probably don’t need to tell you, but sun exposure causes painful burning, skin cancer and wrinkles!
We recommend adding a physical sunblock to your daily skincare routine – not just in the summer!
Physical sunblocks contain active mineral ingredients, like zinc or titanium, which sit on top of your skin to deflect and scatter damaging UV rays away from your skin.
In contrast, chemical sunscreens absorb UV rays, creating a chemical reaction that changes UV rays into heat. However, chemical sunscreens have some disadvantages. They allow free radicals to form which can damage your skin. In addition, the chemicals are absorbed in your body and some have been shown to disrupt your hormones. We have also learned that they are responsible for damaging precious coral reefs, and we strongly recommend that you don’t use chemical sunscreens when swimming in the ocean.
Always look at the ingredients before you buy sun protection products. If there is zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide, you have a physical sunblock. Long, hard to pronounce chemical names are found in chemical sunscreens. We tend to be more careful to avoid using chemicals on our children, and it is often easier to find physical sunblocks in the children’s section.
You should look for a sunscreen that has an SPF between 15 and 30. Using a sunscreen with an SPF less than 15 doesn’t provide enough protection. You can use a sunscreen with an SPF higher than 30. But there is no scientific evidence that increasing your sunscreen from an SPF of 30 to SPF 50 makes a true clinical difference for your skin.
No matter what level SPF you choose, wear it every day rain or shine! We recommend applying it every morning as part of your routine. Our Swan Sunblock, a light, aloe-based sunblock with SPF 30, delivers high UV protection with wrinkle-fighting peptides and antioxidants including Green Tea and Lipoic Acid, leaving skin clear and fresh.
Sunblock is the best way to protect your skin from harmful sun rays, but unfortunately, not even the best sunblock prevents all free radicals, also known as oxidants, from forming. So, what’s the solution? Antioxidants!
Salmon and berries are very rich in antioxidants and eating these types of food help your body fight free radicals. But studies have shown that the best way to neutralize free radicals in your skin is by applying Vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant, directly to your skin. When looking for a Vitamin C serum, make sure it comes in a dark or opaque bottle – this prevents sunlight and air from penetrating the formula and oxidizing it. We recommend applying Vitamin C in the morning before your sunblock.
We worked diligently to create our very own Vitamin C serum in our Swan Skin Care line. Our Swan Vitamin C 10% will protect your skin from damage from the sun. It also has strong anti-inflammatory properties, so it’s an excellent method to soothe irritated, dry or flaky skin. For anyone who has had a melanoma or whose family members have had a melanoma, we recommend a combination of Vitamin C and E, which has been shown to further reduce the development of melanomas.
Applying sunblock and Vitamin C everyday are important steps in your skincare routine to prevent damage, fine lines and wrinkles. But what about the damage already done?
The last step in our moisturizer-free skincare routine is tretinoin, a form of Vitamin A. The most well known brand of tretinoin is called Retin-A, which is why you will hear these terms used interchangeably.
Tretinoin stimulates the production of new, healthy cells and the shedding of old cells. It also stimulates the production of collagen fibers, preventing wrinkles, and elastic fibers, improving your skin’s elasticity, making it tighter and less saggy. It normalizes the production of sebum and increases the blood flow to your skin, therefore increasing the nutrients and moisture in your skin.
It is important to note that if used aggressively, tretinoin can cause dry, red or flaky skin. It is best to get guidance from your doctor about how to best use tretinoin in your skincare routine to avoid this.
To sum it all up, what your skin really needs are the three steps listed above: sunblock, vitamin C and tretinoin. If you are changing your routine from using a moisturizer every day to cutting it out of your routine, your skin may need an adjustment period. But if you follow this skincare routine, using quality products and guidance from a professional, you can throw out that expensive moisturizer, and have naturally glowing, beautiful skin.
Want to learn more about our custom skincare line, Swan Skin Care? Click here. Have other questions about your skincare routine? We’d love to answer any questions that you have, or even see you for a consultation!