I’m part of the first generation of women whose skincare routine has heavily relied on 3 key ingredients – Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C), Tretinoin (Vitamin A) and AHA’s (Glycolic etc.). Along with using SPF50 everyday like my life depended on it I think these ‘actives’ had helped keep my skin relatively line and pigment free for my age.
It was all going so well until about a year ago when my skin started to flush red on occasion and show signs of sensitivity. I hoped this was just a blip that would pass and I didn’t make any changes to my routine. Taking care of my skin is something I’ve done since my late teens and I’ve spent a large amount of time and effort researching the best ways to help skin age well and stay healthy. I put a lot of stock in the 3 ingredients mentioned above not least because they’re so highly recommended by many cosmetic doctors.
At the end of last year I was invited to an Epionce event with Dr Patterson the Medical Director at Woodford Medical. By this time my cheeks was frequently flushing red and felt like they were burning. I knew Epionce was a clinical skincare brand that had a less aggressive approach to skin health compared to other clinical brands so I thought I’d take the opportunity to mention my situation to see Dr Patterson could shed any light on what was going on.
Dr Patterson has been working in aesthetics for over twenty years and has a great reputation in the business. As well as the more obvious treatments such as botox and fillers he’s very knowledgeable about skin health. When I explained my situation to him a look of recognition spread across his face. He told me he was seeing more and more women in their mid to late forties who were experiencing the same issues as me.
Dr Patterson’s view was that years of using strong products and over exfoliation had compromised my skin barrier function. This showed itself as inflamed, sensitive and reactive skin. There’s probably a hormonal element at play as well. When I started sharing my situation with friends quite a few said they had the same issues but, like me, had kept using the same key products.
I knew I had to change the way I looked after my skin but it wasn’t easy giving up the big ‘anti-ageing’ ingredients even when it was clear they were no longer right for me. However, Dr Patterson put me on a routine of some lovely Epionce products that still have anti-ageing benefits but are less harsh. In my next post I’ll go into more details about them.
Of course I can’t say for certain that the products I had been using were the cause of the problems though I suspect they’ve been a contributing factor at the very least. I can’t help but think that the C E Ferulic serum I’d used for my years had been particularly detrimental as I really didn’t hold back from splashing it on. It just didn’t occur to me that it could be irritating my skin. I also think I made a big mistake not responding to the changes in my skin and adapting my skincare routine straight away.
The trend in skincare for using strong active ingredients seems to be growing and the age at which people are starting to use them is getting younger. It worries me that many years of this type of aggressive routine is storing up issues for the future – particularly for those who have an undetectable predisposition to sensitivity or rosacea. If I could turn back the clock I would still use the Ascorbic Acid, Tretinoin and AHA’s but in much smaller quantities and with less frequency. I’d regularly cycle them with gentler products which I think would have better preserved my skin barrier function and left me with better skin than I now have.
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