Why a Less-Is-More Routine Is the Secret To Healthier Skin

Less Is More

There are so many different skincare products advertised to us, especially when dealing with acne. We’re told we need an acne cleanser, acne toner, acne serums, acne masks, acne prescriptions…the list could go on. Many times, we need to unlearn what we’ve been told about how to best care for our skin. Less is more when it comes to skincare. The two main components of success will be consistency (using Phyla daily for at least two months) and patience.

Your Skin Protects Itself

Your stratum corneum, the outermost layer of the skin, is your skin barrier. It's the first line of defense between you and the outside environment, preventing irritants from entering the body. It also helps to keep moisture sealed in, which keeps your skin hydrated.⁠ There is a misconception that our outer layer of skin - the stratum corneum - is merely a buildup of “dead cells”. In fact, our stratum corneum is highly biologically active. Over-exfoliation and use of too many actives or harsh ingredients can further exacerbate skin problems (specifically acne), as it breaks down your stratum corneum. When our outermost layer becomes damaged, this can show up as atopic dermatitis, psoriasis, and acne vulgaris. 

How do I know when I'm using too many active ingredients?

Experiencing dry skin patches, acne breakouts, flaking, redness, or other irritation, means there’s a good chance you’re using too many products. Pairing certain acids together or simply using them too often can cause irritation.

How can I heal my skin after it’s been compromised?

Your skin has an innate ability to protect itself from the sun, pollution, and pathogens, but many skincare products and daily habits can keep your skin barrier from functioning properly.⁠ Reversing skin barrier damage can take time. To accelerate your skin repair, avoid practices that harm your barrier and keep your skincare routine simple.

It’s easy to overdo it on the products when we feel like we need to “fix” our skin. By keeping our skin care routine simple and going back to basics, we’re able to heal our skin barrier and ultimately have healthier and clearer skin. When treating a specific skin concern (like acne or hyperpigmentation), incorporating a gentle cleanser, a treatment serum, and a moisturizer with humectants or ceramides will give your skin the best chance to heal itself. This will also help you understand what products work best for you and what doesn’t.

Keep it simple and step away from most skincare products. Toners, acids, and exfoliants will exacerbate the situation. Your skin’s permeability has increased, which means irritants can enter your skin easier. It can take up to an entire month or more for your skin barrier to repair itself. You’ll know your skin is healed when you no longer have inflammation and sensitivity. And remember, progress > perfection.