What Is Skin Stripping (And How Do You Avoid It?)

Just like every other organ in the body, our skin is complex. It requires an intricate mix of natural acidity (pH), hydration, and oil in order to stay protected, supple, and clear. 

Problems arise when we mess with that natural balance. If you’ve ever put anything on your face, chances are high that you are messing with this natural balance.

What can this do?

If you scrub your skin, use alcohol-based cleansers, or allow it to dry out, you’re stripping your skin of necessary oils. Have you ever had your skin feel dry and tight? This is called skin stripping and it can cause wrinkles, acne breakouts, or inflammation. 

Where does this natural oil come from?

Save for the palms of your hands and feet, the skin all over your body contains specialized glands called sebaceous glands. These produce sebum, a natural oil made from cholesterol, fatty acids, triglycerides, and a mix of other substances.

In some circumstances, people’s sebaceous glands can be overactive, resulting in a shiny look. It’s not that you can’t wash some of this oil away or find ways to manage it, but it’s important to not wash all of these oils away.

Why does our skin need oil?

These natural oils aren’t there just to make you shiny. No, they serve a very important purpose! Natural oils on our skin act as a barrier against the outside world. Particles floating around out there can infiltrate your body through the skin and give your immune system grief. 

Skin needs a mixture of both oil and water moisture to keep acne, dryness, and signs of aging away. When sebum mixes with the secretion of your sweat glands, it creates what’s called the “hydrolipidic barrier”. This is a protective, film-like barrier that keeps your skin healthy and protected from unwanted invaders. 

If your skin didn’t need this oil, it wouldn’t make it…

When the skin is constantly stripped of its oils, not only can this cause acne, irritation, and wrinkles, but the skin works overtime to create more oil. 

Overwashing, using harmful cleansers and products, and not hydrating properly can all impact your skin’s natural oils.

How to avoid skin stripping

If you’re looking to not strip your skin, that’s a good idea! The most important part of this is to plan a skincare routine and stick to it. Make sure your skincare routine includes the following…

First, you want to wash your face. Though you don’t want to get rid of all the oils, you want to get rid of excess dirt and grime. If you need to use a stronger cleanser to get out any deep dirt or grime after high activity, that’s fine, but be sure to use a gentle, hydrating, alcohol-free cleanser as often as possible. 

Second, use a toner. This helps do one more deep clean of the pores – getting into the nooks and crannies – but it also hydrates and helps restore pH levels that may have been put off balance while washing.

Third, be sure to moisturize! This step is critical. Once your skin is nice and clean, restore the lost oils and hydration with a high-quality moisturizer. 

Your skincare routine doesn’t need to end here, but to maintain healthy skin and prevent aging, it’s best to include these three steps. 

Help your skin from the inside out…

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