Your Oil Free Moisturizer is Congesting Your Skin

Yep, you read that right. Pore congestion is the result of dehydrated skin.

Period. End of story.

But you don’t believe me yet, so keep reading.

Remember learning in science class that our skin is our biggest organ of detoxification? Well, now that fun fact is relevant to your adult self!

When skin is healthy and functioning properly, it naturally releases tiny pockets of puss (AKA whiteheads)–—eww, sounds gross, I know! But it happens naturally and uneventfully to anyone with healthy skin, as a daily part of our body’s elimination processes.

Not only that, bAcid mantleut our skin naturally produces oil as a way to maintain our delicate acid mantle barrier.

The acid wha?? From good ol’ Wikipedia:

“The acid mantle is a very fine, slightly acidic film on the surface of human skin acting as a barrier to bacteria, viruses and other potential contaminants that might penetrate the skin. It is secreted by sebaceous glands.”

When skin is hydrated and soft, our pores release natural sebaceous oil without any problem or issue—maintaining our acid mantle and nourishing our skin with its very own, very precious oil—perfectly created just for you.

Raisin pores = unhappy pores.

But when we over scrub and over cleanse, use astringents, pore tightening masks, oil-free moisturizer, and all the “pore minimizing” products out there…skin gets dehydrated.

When our skin becomes dehydrated, the pore canals dry out like raisins. The sebaceous oil gets stuck, starts to harden, and eventually turns into blackheads.

And when oil gets trapped in the skin, white blood cells go there and create a tiny puss pocket. When these can’t be simply released, they will continue to stay there and harden over time…for years…turning into milia.

Over time, these 2 most common types of skin congestion:

  1. blackheads, and
  2. milia

will each grow independently in size, or make combinations of each other over time:

  • Black heads that can lead to milia pockets underneath or
  • Milia pockets that develop blackheads on top.

Gross. Keep reading for how to fix this.

Dehydrated skin is clogged skin. Clogged skin is dehydrated skin. 

When skin is dehydrated and its precious acid mantle barrier is disrupted, the sebaceous gland goes into overdrive in an attempt to rehydrate our skin. The sole purpose of this oil is to move out through the pores and remain liquid to spread across our skin and prevent water from evaporating.

Scrubs, astringents, pore tighteners….are actually making everything worse. Your skin produces more oil, but the oil can’t get out because the skin is dehydrated and becoming more clogged, meaning skin gets even more dehydrated, initiating more sebaceous gland production…lather, rinse, repeat.

Oil & Water, like PB&J.

The only way to prevent water from evaporating from your skin is to trap it underneath an oil-rich moisturizer. Yes, oil is THE KEY to plump, moist, hydrated, clear skin. What creates moist skin is the right balance between water AND oil.  Both are absolutely crucial to balanced, healthy skin. Oil and water work together like peanut butter and jelly, like the Moon and the Sun, like the bubbles to the hot bath, like the gravy to the mashed potatoes, like a smile to my face, like the wind to the kite…you get the idea!

Oil Skin's Best Friend
Oil is your skin’s best friend!

Oil is not the enemy–—oil is your friend. Yes, even, and especially, if you get breakouts. Part of the reason why you get breakouts is because your skin is actually dehydrated and in sebaceous oil production overdrive.

Repeat after me: “Oil is my friend. Oil is my friend. Oil is my friend.” I’m repeating this because I really want you to get it!

My advice? Go to your bathroom RIGHT NOW and throw out your oil-free moisturizer. Stick to oil-RICH moisturizers, or even (pro-tip here) go into your kitchen and use a fresh (not rancid!) organic oil—coconut oil works GREAT.

Spray some rosewater on freshly, gently cleansed skin and slather a bit of coconut oil or oil-rich moisturizer on. Let it soak in for a few minutes before massaging in thoroughly.

And stay tuned for my future post which goes into detail on the precise, simple skincare steps for healthy, hydrated skin.

(Now, protecting your skin from sun becomes another conversation…I don’t want you running outside in the sun with coconut oil and no SPF!)

Injections are Temporary

skin_harmonics_volumeThere are 4 major aspects to evaluating and improving skin:

1. Volume: Elastin & Collagen. No product can replace it drastically enough to recapture youth. Injections are temporary and leave the tissue stretched and damaged.  Daily use of sunscreen is the most effective way to protect your skin’s volume.  The best, holistic way, to positively affect volume is Microcurrent treatments.  It’s like Pilates for the face that lifts and tones facial muscles to increase volume.

2. Deep Stress Wrinkles: You can Botox these stress wrinkles away, but again, this weakens the skin over time.  Unlearn bad habits of gripping your facial muscles. Chances are you are doing this other places in the body. Nothing ages us faster than stress!

3. Texture: Dermal remodeling retextures skin and plumps fine lines without sacrificing long term skin vitality.

4. Color: Skin color is determined by how well your skin is circulating blood and also how much congestion (pustules,compacted black heads, milia) your skin is managing. Dermal nutrients improve this capacity. Dermal Remodeled skin glows!

Botoxed and volume-injected skin can create short term illusions in regards to superficial appearances BUT the skin structure can become weak, dull, crusty, discolored and rough. There is not nearly enough to long-term benefit to justify the means.

Pore – phobia

skin_harmonics_healthy_poresI get asked constantly “How can I shrink my pores?” The conventional beauty industry exploits this fear and spends trillions of dollars every year to keep the shrink-my-pore myth thriving.  Myth? YES. Myth. Don’t sell your pores to the devil… not even one.

Here is the beautiful truth about your pores:

1. Pore size is genetic.

2. The larger the pores the larger the capacity to produce oil. Which is a very good thing! Healthy, hydrated skin is the key to anti-aging and clear skin. When skin is hydrated, dermally nourished, and hormones and intestinal flora are balanced, beautiful, youthful skin is a result.

3. Conversely, hardened oil plugs that get stuck in pores can temporarily (or even permanently) over stretch pore openings. Hardened pores are a direct result of topical dehydration, sun exposure, and lack of new skin cells emanating from the dermis.

4. By now we all are aware that the beauty industry literally Photoshops away the pores from their ads. Which feeds the pore hysteria.

Here is the sad pattern that worsens pore size: Over scrubbing, using astringents (toners), over scraping pores and constant removal of skins natural oils dehydrate the skin. This tells the sebaceous gland to make more and more oil, throwing your skin into over production. This, ironically, creates a vicious cycle of more congestion and enlarges pores to accommodate these hardened plugs.

What is a pore lover to do?

Dermal Remodeling returns the skin’s oil production to its natural genetic setting, clear pore functionality, huge healing and anti-aging benefits of skins natural oils, while creating soft permeable plump skin that ages slowly.

Essential oils and facial skin

skin_harmonics_essential_oilsI absolutely love essential oils! It was my entry into skincare when I was 20.  Yet I have come to the conclusion that most essential oils are too astringent to use on the face. They tend to disrupt disperse the skins natural oils.

There are a few exceptions like rose and carrot seed, blue chamomile, graciously. Myrrh, frankincense, rosewood, sandalwood, vetiver, helichrysum in tiny amounts. These essential oils are hydrophilic – magnetizing water while not interfering with skins natural oils.

Most others including lavender, all citrus, jasmine, ylang ylang, tea tree, geranium, clary sage, fall into the category of disturbing the skins natural oils which invariably starts the the sequence of events of dehydration( crusty skin) and over production of oil.  Reserve these for body, personal scented oils and household cleaning.

Bacteria, acne connection and a BIG misplaced obsession

skin_harmonics_benzoyl_peroxideThe dreaded bacteria phobia and obsession… don’t get me wrong I am a certified germaphobe but when it comes to skin and the acne bacteria there is a different conversation. Benzoyl peroxide ironically creates bacteria problems.

Here, let me explain:

Bacteria is a symptom of acne but it alone does not cause acne. Genetics, hormones,intestinal flora do cause acne.  Another major contributor to acne is barrier disruption. Barrier disruption is when the skin’s natural acid mantle and barrier are chronically dismantled. This is achieved by the use of Glycolic, lactic, or Salysilic acids, or benzoyl peroxide. In addition, over scrubbing combined with depriving the skin of an oil rich moisturizer block pores and further congest your skin. You may very well trigger a bigger acne problem instead of improving it. Not good.

True, benzoyl peroxide kills bacteria and behaves somewhat to an antibiotic. Like an antibiotic, it also sets up an environment that produces more bacteria. Daily benzoyl peroxide must be used every day because the skin becomes unable to host anything else.

A more stable and long term solution is Dermal Remodeling. If balance is restored to the skin then bad bacteria just doesn’t grow.  Dermal Remodeling creates skin that is deeply hydrated, nourished, and protected from harshness. Furthermore the sebaceous glands adjust to find the genetic setting perfect for each individual under this protocol without overproducing oil.

Bottom line: Balanced oil production minimizes bacteria.

same damage ~ different method

lavendar_microdermabrasionI just read a post on a Skin Professionals discussion board that I found very misleading. They wrote about a microdermabrasion machine using crushed lavender instead of tiny hard crystals. The idea was that by using crushed lavender it was somehow a gentler process. Putting this on a spa menu makes it sound so sweet and harmless! Remember that the aim of microdermabrasion is to literally damage the protective layer of skin thereby causing a so called “healing effect”.

We no longer have to harm our skin to “help” our skin! Lavender flower microdermabrasion is the perfect expression of how misunderstood the industry is about how our skin builds healthy collagen. It has been scientifically proven that microdermabrasion, even with crushed lavender, ages our skin faster in the long term because it actually thins our dermis! The exact opposite of what healthy, vibrant skin needs. Don’t fall for it. Just don’t.


Related Posts:

Fear Not Scary Halloween Skin

skin_harmonics_makeupThe week after Halloween is always especially fun for me because I get to see how piles of cheap make-up effect my client’s skin! Happily, my regular clients are able to use almost anything on their skin and hardly miss a beat. Their skin continues to be unaffected by the thickest of cheap makeup because of the Dermal Remodeling protocol they follow. They emerge from Halloween like skin angels…

In contrast, many first time clients are in complete duress the week after. Their skin is especially irritated, and completely out of harmony, exaggerating the imbalances that were there before the cheap make-up.

Dermal Remodeling creates healthy, vibrant, confident skin that is protected from the skin anxiety that everyday living (or every holiday) dishes out.

I Mist Therefore I Am… NOT hydrated

skin_harmonics_hydrationMisting your skin with water throughout the day will actually de-hydrate your skin. Fact. Here is why:

Hydrated skin is the result of keeping water in our skin. We do this by first generously misting our skin with water and then locking it in by applying a good moisturizer on top. That is the only way to trap the water in and keep our skin moist and fresh. AND you only need to do this in the morning and then repeat the process in the evening.

So misting randomly throughout the day is actually sabotaging your hydration efforts by deleting the protective moisturizing layer! Stop it. Now.

Make friends with your PH

no_cottonAnd WHY do we need to readjust correct the PH of our skin with a toner or astringent? Glycolic, lactic, or salysilic peels destroy the healthy acid mantle of our skin by removing the slight “film” of healthy, natural oils on our skin. Then we try to “fix” this by correcting the PH which is crucial to healthy skin.

First, this is what we need to understand about skin care products:
1. The lower the PH the more acidic it is
2. And more acidic means it can penetrate further into the skin.
3. So the lower the PH on chemical peels, toners or astringents (as well as glycolic, lactic, Salysilic acids) the more damage they can do.
4. This USED TO BE the only way we could get new cell turnover.
5. We don’t need to do this anymore.

Benzoyl peroxide is the same as an antibiotic for your intestines. Sure it will kill bacteria but it sets you up for chronic bacteria problems moving forward. Toners and astringents will dehydrate your skin and give you black heads. Period.

Instead, allow your skin to naturally, beautifully find the perfect PH. It will do this naturally when we aren’t stripping or confusing it. You can help your skin have a healthy acid mantle with perfect PH by:
1. Hydrating
2. Feeding
3. Protecting

There, now isn’t that more friendly?

Let’s open our pores…then close them?

skin_harmonics_poresThe truth is I’ve never seen them open or close after 20 years. Not one single pore. Nope. Never. It just doesn’t happen.

I’ve seen pores soften and harden. Yes. I have seen that.

I’ve seen pores that are dehydrated, impacted and enlarged. Yes. Many of them.

Everyone has a genetic pore size. The larger the pores the more oil that is naturally made. This is a very, very wonderful thing! A built in moisturizer to trap water in the skin. Yes, please! Balanced, healthy skin that is hydrated, dermally nourished and protected doesn’t have problematic bacteria or oil problems, or clogged pores.

Love your pores! Free your pores! Stop trying to scrub/scrape them into shape. Stop stripping their protective film and causing chaos for them!

Instead, feed them, water them, protect them with a moisturizer (and NOT an oil-free one. Read this post to learn more). And remove the compacted plugs and blackheads without hurting them.

Love your pores and they will love you back.