Voluntary excess: are you using too much product on your skin?
Reading Yuval Noah Harari’s best- selling history of humankind,Sapiens, I was greatly reassured to discover gorging on high-calorie food may be hard-wired into our brains, a legacy from the days when food was scarce. It’s a great get-out-of-jail card when paired with festive excess, but it can’t explain beauty exuberance.
Overdoing the eau de toilette or maxing out on moisturiser has nothing to do with survival, and is actually bad for both the environment and your wallet. Worse, it may even be counter-productive to your body, with some dermatologists, including LA- based Zein Obagi, believing excessive use of moisturiser can make skin look older by dampening its natural hydration mechanisms.
LITTLE AND OFTEN
Using multiple exfoliants (for example, face scrubs alongside Alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) washes) can leave skin irritated. Overuse of harsh oil control products can actually stimulate skin to produce more oil to maintain its natural protective barrier, while dousing yourself with too much fragrance is almost always a rather pungent turn-off.
Both men and women tend to fall prey to the “If I use more, I’ll get better results” approach to skin and haircare but in reality, the opposite is often true. Take eye creams, which are potent products. The skin around that area is exceptionally thin and sensitive and using too much product can overload it, causing irritation, redness and puffiness – the very things they’re meant to tackle. Stick to a blob no bigger than the size of a grain of rice for each eye to be on the safe side, and it will yield better results.
Face masks, meanwhile, don’t need to be applied like icing – only a thin layer is required for them to effectively draw out impurities, and you don’t need to apply moisturiser like you’re preparing for a cross Channel swim, either. If you’re a compulsive over-user, try exercising portion control by ditching creams in pots and opt for pump dispensers, which are designed to deliver just the right amount of product. In general, an almond-sized blob of moisturiser is ample.
Even over-showering might be ruining your looks, with hot water disrupting the skin’s protective lip barrier and sucking out moisture, so avoid spending too much time under the nozzle. And once you’re out, for fragrance, I recommend no more than two sprays or a couple of slicks of fragrance oil.
My beauty message for the festive season is similar to a dietician’s: don’t overdo it, make moderation your mantra and remember: sometimes less really is more.