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Why Overdoing Skincare, Won't Work For You

WHY does skin become irritated?

The results of recent surveys have yielded the same data: Around half of the U.S. population says it has sensitive skin.

We think this number is likely to increase. Since the COVID-19 pandemic hit, dermatologists are seeing a rise in cases of sensitivity. People have had more time to devote to skincare routines with mostly detrimental results (due to an understandable lack of skin intelligence).

Social media has played a part. Most influencers have near perfect filters added to every post. As a casual observer, it’s easy to start thinking you’re not measuring up to societal beauty standards. You shouldn’t have anything but perfect skin, right?

Several factors add to sensitized-skin problems: Picking the wrong product for your skin type, overusing irritating products, and over-doing multi-step skincare routines. They all make our skin hurt and deplete our fragile skin barrier.

I am guilty myself. Since COVID hit, I have spent more and more time obsessing over spots on my face and wondering what could be causing them. It’s easy to see how people can start skincare-routine hopping to find an elusive miracle cure for all the spots …. or wrinkles … or dry patches …. or (fill in your own skin issue). Each time I get the urge to stray from my standard regimen, I have to remind myself to take a step back and remember why gentle and simple skincare is the best.

It’s simple, really. Irritating and over-blown regimens can deplete your skin’s barrier. We know why people fall into these “holy grail” skincare routines that involve an excess of aggressive products. It’s the norm to see other brands evangelize excessive exfoliation, daily serum use, and frequent masking as acceptable routes to the perfect glow and smoothest skin you’ve ever had.

That’s all way too much.

Most skin types do better with simple skincare that has fewer actives and exfoliants. Most people can get by with one cleanse a day (at night) — over-cleansing can unnecessarily strip the skin barrier. Also, once-a-week exfoliation and masking is preferable for people with normal-to-sensitive skin types. Harsh serums that include irritating actives should be tested before you use on a regular basis.

The danger of overdoing the wrong skincare routine? Disruption to your skin’s precious and protective structure, including its natural oils, microbiome and pH. As soon as you deplete any of these things, your skin goes into overdrive trying to compensate. And it’s usually a very bumpy road back from there.

The depletion caused by excessive or incorrect routines manifest as sensitized skin: Skin that is red, hurts, itches, has dry patches, shows increased inflammation, and is prone to breakouts. Even worse, sensitive skin may even appear to be aging prematurely — a goal of no one ever.

At Starling, happy skin is our mantra and goal.

We built this brand to work for people who have sensitized skin and want a sturdy bridge back to normal, healthy skin. We formulated our skincare products with all-natural, clean ingredients that are non-sensitizing and designed to lower inflammation. We don’t use harsh exfoliants, and all of our products are microbiome friendly and bring much-needed hydration and moisture to irritated skin.

The big question is how do you come back from a damaged skin barrier? The answer: Take some time to be patient with your skin. Use gentle, simple and effective products like ours to rebuild and maintain a healthy barrier. Some suggestions:

1. Use a gentle cleanser once a day in the evening. Start with Calm. It moisturizes and helps heal sensitized skin. Don’t cleanse in the morning – simply splash your face with water and towel dry.

2. If you need to exfoliate a bit, don't overdo it with aggressive actives such as glycolic acid. Instead, use our Nurture cleanser as a gentle exfoliating mask. Apply to clean, dry skin. Let sit for 5 minutes (or until you feel it tingle). Rinse and follow with your moisturizer.

3. Use an oil-based serum to help nourish, moisturize and rebuild your skin barrier while reducing redness and brightening. Revive will give you calm, happy and healthy skin. It will also help stave off the signs of aging without all the potential irritants found in commercial skincare products.

4. Restore your moisture barrier by patting in a few drops of Super Dew squalane oil. Squalane is one of sensitive skin’s best friends, helping to seal in moisture (by mimicking your own skin’s natural oil) while further repairing sensitized skin. It also helps neutralize UV damage.