The beauty mantra "cleanse, tone, moisturise" has been around since time immemorial. Even the ancient Egyptians had cleansing soaps, sea salt exfoliation and moisturising honey and milk masks. If it worked for Queen Cleopatra, it should definitely work for us. Or so we've thought.
3 Step Program
I'm sure we all remember as teenagers the marketing campaigns for products promising to banish acne. The drugstore's beauty aisle would have multiple brands offering a 3 step program of cleanser, toner and moisturiser, all promising that if you followed the regime dutifully, you were almost guaranteed to have perfect skin and the confidence that came with it. Despite these assurances, they did not always deliver, and my teen years and twenties were still pitted (pun-intended) with attempts to find the perfect product.
The Quest for Smooth Skin
Even if my face was clear, I was still bothered by tiny tiny little bumps around my temples and forehead. Over time I was able to achieve a smoother texture with microdermabrasion, and as the beauty scene evolved, chemical exfoliation. However this was an expensive habit, and probably overkill for someone with relatively young and fresh skin.
Too Much Product
It was in 2019 when I started to question the necessity for moisturiser. When I moved to Nigeria in 2017, I had to overhaul my skincare regime to accommodate the hot (consistently 32C/90F) and extremely humid climate. My oily/combination skin now required the lightest of water-based moisturizers but at times it still felt heavy in the tropical heat.
Ditching the Moisturiser
It was an atypical day when I decided to just go without moisturiser. I was probably headed somewhere without air conditioning and I didn't want my face to melt with product. It only took a few days to see a massive change! My skin had smoothed out and no longer had a rough appearance. My hormonal acne on my chin calmed down and was rarely seen again. I've never looked back. For hydration, I now supplement my skin routine with hyaluronic acid, polysaccharides, beauty waters and essences.
Stimulate Your Natural Glow
It's not the most mainstream stance, but there is a growing number of dermatologists warning against over-dependence on moisturisers. While they are very good at solving the immediate issue of dryness, they are not great providing long-term hydration. Moisturisers can also fool your skin into reducing its natural exfoliation and moisturising mechanisms. As a result, the build-up in dead skin cells makes your skin more susceptible to congestion. By limiting the use of moisturisers, you can actually stimulate cell turnover and wake up your skin's natural glow!
Shake Up Your Routine
The skincare industry has greatly evolved since the days of Cleopatra and the products of our youth. With so much new technology and research coming out these days, it shouldn't be surprising when certain foundations of skincare get challenged. If any of my experiences resonate with you, you might just want to shake up your routine... and ditch the cream!