3 Simple Things that Drastically Improved My Skin (and one is FREE!)

I stopped washing my face in the morning. 

And here’s a tip: You probably don’t need to wash your face then, either.

Lots of skin problems, some research shows, can be caused or exacerbated by compromised skin. What does compromised mean? Skin that’s been stripped of its natural protective properties by over-cleansing or over-treating.

I found the best routine for me is a thorough cleansing at night with a gentle, non-stripping cleanser (this is my favorite), followed by a great toner, moisturizer, and then a spritz of my new favorite spray to restore good bacteria on my skin. (Read more on the potential benefits of good bacteria here.)

So in the morning, all I do is apply a moisturizer to restore my skin’s moisture levels. (I find it sleeping on cotton pillowcases sometimes makes my skin feel a touch dry) then I follow up with a great SPF, makeup (if I’m wearing any that day), and a few sprays of Mother Dirt’s AO+ Mist again.

Since I stopped the morning wash, my skin has been less irritated and more moisturized.

If you feel the need to do something in the morning to wake up your face or freshen up, a few splashes of water and a gentle, alcohol-free toner can also take the place of a wash.

I stopped using products with fragrant oils–or any fragrance–in them.

Does your moisturizer smell delicious? Like an orange grove maybe, or a walk through the baked-goods aisle? Flip it over and read the label; chances are it’s got fragrance in it.

And even the natural, essential-oil based fragrances caused redness on my skin. Then I did some research. Did you know that some research shows that orange peel oil, lemon oil and other great-smelling essential oils can be a major cause of irritation for your skin? On top of that, other fragrant oils are photo-reactive, meaning they can burn your skin when you’re in sunlight for too long while wearing them.

So even though they made some products smell delicious, I chose to ban them from my routine, and my skin feels less sensitive as a result.

As far as other synthetic fragrances, they’re just plain not good for you. If there is a fragrance-free option for your favorite skin care product, try that one instead.

I switched over to physical-only sun blocks.

That means the active ingredients in any SPF product I use are zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide, and that’s it.

So, the basic deal on sun protection is, there are two types of ways to protect your skin from the sun—physical or chemical blockers. Here’s a great article explaining the differences.

Basically, chemical sunscreens have to absorb into your skin to work; for me, that caused major irritation. Physical blockers sit on top of the skin and reflect the sun’s rays.

Living in Florida where sun protection is vital year round, I have tried dozens of sunblocks and sunscreens, and no matter which brand I used containing chemical blockers, my skin was red and irritated. Switching to physical-only sunblocks was an absolute game changer for me.

The big knock on physical blockers is that they can leave a white cast on your skin. But I’ve found some great products that don’t do that! Here are some great options:

Soileil Toujours 100% Mineral Sunscreen SPF 30

Drunk Elephant Umbra Sheer Physical Daily Defense SPF 30

Ursa Major Force Field Daily Defense Lotion SPF 18

Photo retouching helps too DUH 😛

Hope these tips are helpful! Any special things you do to help keep your skin happy? I’d love to hear all about them in Comments below!

P.S. More on why dirt is GOOD, some simple clean beauty swaps and some of my other skin care MVPs.

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