The only scary thing about Halloween this year should be the costumes, not your skincare. Team Sturm sat down to debunk common ‘Skin Scares’ and myths, from popping pimples to using face oils and wipes – we have you covered this spooky season.
Facial Wipes Will Do More Harm Than Good
Facial wipes and makeup removal wipes may seem like the easiest option when it comes to cleansing your skin - especially after wearing heavy makeup - but they are doing much more harm than good.
“Wipes often fail to remove dirt and residue but rather move it around on our skin creating more irritation,” explains Dr. Barbara Sturm. Because your skin isn’t cleansed efficiently, it can lead to clogged pores which can then cause breakouts. Cleansing wipes can also contain harsh ingredients such as alcohol and fragrance as well as a high percentage of preservatives, which are needed to keep an open packet of wipes hygienic. The physical act of ‘wiping’ is a problem too because you are pressing dirt and makeup into your skin while the fibers of the wipe can be abrasive and potentially cause microtears on the skin’s surface. Not to mention they are not environmentally friendly!
THE SOLUTION? Team Sturm recommends using a gentle cleanser to break down the makeup followed by a toner or second cleanse to remove the excess. Rinsing with water prevents you from transferring bacteria around your face.
Hydrate and Moisturize Your Oily or Acne-Prone Skin
Drying out acne-prone skin or oily skin is a common long-standing myth but it can actually lead to more inflammation and in turn, more breakouts. If you are skipping moisturizer, or using drying products containing alcohol, your skin will actually begin producing more sebum to compensate for the dehydration. When excess sebum is produced your pores become increasingly clogged and your skin becomes more prone to inflammation and acne.
Team Sturm suggests that if you have acne-prone or oily skin you use a lighter moisturizer, like our FACE CREAM LIGHT and a clarifying Hyaluronic Acid like our CLARIFYING SERUM as well as a gentle toner. Bottom line - don’t ever skip out on moisture, it will strengthen your skin barrier and in the long run, keep breakouts at bay!
Effective Products Should Make your Skin ‘Feel the Burn’
A rule of thumb at Dr. Sturm is to stay away from anything that feels like it is harming your skin. Acids such as Hyaluronic Acid, that are naturally occurring in the body, are safe and will not burn or tingle, but harsh acidic peels for example have the potential to cause irritation and inflammation. Although many may enjoy a seemingly ‘instant’ result from an acid peel, the long term damage is a weakened skin barrier function, the stripping down of healthy skin cells (depending on the acid and its dosage) and inflammation that will actually lead to more premature aging and skin issues in the future.
Acids to avoid are AHAs which are usually used to strip down outer skin layers and are likely to be irritating and harmful for the remaining skin cells, increasing their sensitivity and making them more vulnerable. Fruit acid peels attack skin cells while in their maturing process and only have a visually beneficial, short-term effect. The long-term effects are not healthy and can cause your skin to look ‘waxy.’ Dr. Sturm suggests you proceed with caution with products that have the intention to chemically peel and watch out for key words like AHA or fruit acids on the packaging. Most products using these acids state the concentration of active ingredients.
You don’t need to shy away from the word acid as a whole in an ingredient list as it does not always mean the product is ‘bad’ or too harsh. For example, acids like Hyaluronic or fatty acids like Alpha Linolenic Acid are safe. Fatty acids are lipids which are an important component of our skin barrier. For ingredients like Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid), Lactic Acid, Salicylic Acid and Citric Acid just be aware of the concentration.
Pore Strips Are a Safe and Effective Way to Extract Impurities
While pore strips seem like an accessible and inexpensive quick fix for annoying blackheads, their long-term effects are not as positive as you think.
Enlarged pores and overactive sweat glands are generally genetically predisposed and often the cause of blackheads. While using a pore strip to empty these pores may provide a short-term solution, in the long run they will refill with sebum and dirt and blackheads will quickly begin to re-appear. Secondly, the simple act of attaching a sticky coating to your skin, immediately followed by ripping it off, can be damaging to your skin barrier, leaving the skin irritated, inflamed and flaky. Tearing at your skin can also lead to broken capillaries causing a more permanent redness in the affected area. The strips can also worsen pre-existing skin conditions such as rosacea and eczema and often contain skin irritants such as alcohol.
Our overall take on pore strips is that the bad outweighs the good. Instead, consult a professional dermatologist or aesthetician for the removal of blackheads and pimples.
You Only Need SPF for Proper Skin Protection
SPF should be an important, non-negotiable part of your skincare routine but as important as it is to protect your skin from UVA and UVB rays, it is also essential that you protect your skin from the HEV or ‘blue light’ that’s emitted from digital screens. Blue light can cause irreversible skin damage as well as dry out the skin, potentially causing fine lines and wrinkles to prematurely develop. As our screen time has risen and we’re conducting more Zoom meetings than ever before, it’s so important that we protect our skin. Dr. Barbara Sturm’s ANTI-POLLUTION DROPS are formulated to protect your complexion from particulate pollution and HEV light. Blue light is not a myth, it’s a major skin scare!
Makeup Can Cause Skin Irritation
Dr. Sturm really believes in taking care of your skin to the point where makeup only needs to be minimal, and you can just wear your skin! However, for makeup lovers there are a few important rules to follow to make sure that you are still giving your skin the love it deserves.
Start with choosing makeup that is skin-friendly. Using products like Dr. Sturm’s ANTI-AGING PRIMER and GLOW DROPS as a protective base is also a good place to begin. Secondly the proper removal of makeup – especially before sleep and after a long day of wear – is vital to skin health. Leaving makeup on overnight can clog pores, dry skin and create unnecessary inflammation. Using gentle cleansers like our foam CLEANSER and ENZYME CLEANSER followed by the BALANCING TONER is a safe and skin-friendly way to end a day in makeup. Something we often forget is the dirt and buildup that happens on our makeup brushes! Make sure you’re cleaning your brushes and makeup sponges regularly.
Face Oils Are A Suitable Alternative To Moisturizer
Face oils seem to be rising in popularity, especially when it comes to achieving glowing and healthy-looking skin. However, face oils are in fact only hydrating and beneficial for the skin when applied in combination with moisturizing, water-based formulas, in the form of a serum or cream for instance. First, you should apply a serum/cream followed by the oil to seal in hydration. Additionally, you should make sure that the oil you use is of a high quality and made up of skin-friendly lipids such as a good, plant-based oil.
The plant oil that is best for you also depends on your skin type; oily, dry or combination. Different oils contains different percentages of unsaturated fatty acids. Those with a higher percentage such as Wild Rose Oil are more suitable for oily skin, for example. Oils such as avocado oil, with a lower percentage of unsaturated fatty acids, are very rich and intense and also take longer to sink into the skin and are more suitable for drier skin.
Face Scrubs Should Be Used Every Day
Some form of gentle exfoliation should generally be a part of your skincare routine in order to remove dead skin cells and enable beneficial active ingredients to penetrate the skin. Face scrubs are one of several exfoliation methods and one that we recommend, as long as you keep certain prerequisites in mind.
When choosing a scrub, make sure that it is the right one for your skin type and watch out for the size of the particles. They should be small and regular - large and irregular fragments in a scrub can lead to microtears of the skin which then lead to irritation, redness and dryness. Make sure it does not contain any harsh ingredients such as fragrances, alcohol and mineral oils. The scrub should be gentle and kind to the skin while also getting the job done and should not be used more than 2-3 times a week. Over exfoliation can result in your skin being stripped of its natural and essential oils and irritation of the skin barrier. Afterwards, make sure to apply a potent hydrating serum containing Hyaluronic Acid and follow with a good moisturizer.
Dr. Sturm’s FACIAL SCRUB is suitable for normal or dry skin types; it activates circulation in the skin, gently exfoliates and simultaneously hydrates with Jojoba Oil, Shea Butter and Almond Oil. For acne-prone or oily skin, we recommend using the ENZYME CLEANSER as your weekly exfoliation instead.
If you have protein bridges or desmosomes i.e. a somewhat flakey skin surface use the ENZYME CLEANSER in combination with the Scrub to break up these conjunctions and gently remove the loosened, dead skin.
It's Okay to Pop Pimples at Home
Popping a pimple can be so satisfying, especially when it’s really visible and in the middle of your face. Sometimes it may even seem like a good idea because the pimple feels ‘ready.’ However, most of the time, the aftermath of popping your own pimple is not worth the instant gratification.
When pimples, blackheads, whiteheads, blemishes, etc. are not extracted properly it can lead to scarring, hyperpigmentation and even infection of the affected skin area. To break it down; any blemish on the skin that looks like it has come to the surface of the skin with white coloring is considered a pustule. This means there are white blood cells grouped together, otherwise known as ‘pus,’ there to fight bacteria and infections in the skin. When you are trying to pop or extract a blemish it can lead to spreading bacteria even further. To avoid this, treating blemishes is best left to the experts - an aesthetician, nurse or dermatologist. They can ensure the blemish is properly cleansed, ready to be extracted and treated post removal.