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How to Balance a Complicated Skincare Routine

While your daily skincare routine can be as thorough or minimalist as your heart desires, there’s a good chance it contains active ingredients — meaning they do much of the heavy lifting in delivering results, be it a more even skin tone or a clear complexion.

To that point, using actives like retinol, vitamin C, and exfoliating acids can benefit your complexion in a host of different ways — which is why just about every derm in the book highly recommends them, especially as we get older and start to lose more collagen.

After all, retinol and vitamin C both promote collagen production, which helps to keep skin plump, smooth and even-toned, while exfoliating acids like PHAs and BHAs aid in eliminating unwanted texture and discoloration, thanks to their ability to speed up cell turnover and gently remove excess dead skin. As incredible as actives are, though, they come with one caveat: You can have too much of a good thing.

The signs of unbalanced skin

As NYC board-certified dermatologist Marisa Garshick, M.D., points out, it’s definitely possible to overdo it on active ingredients like retinoids and exfoliating acids. Just think: If you’re using a face wash with an alpha hydroxy acid like glycolic acid, following that up with an acid-based toner, layering on vitamin C (yet another acid) in the morning or retinol in the evening, and only then rounding things out with a moisturizer, that means you’re layering on a whole lot of active ingredients. This can cause injury to the skin barrier, says Garshick, leading to excess dryness, redness, and sensitivity.

Skin inflammation isn’t always bad. Here’s how to handle it like a pro.

How to keep skin calm

If you’re overdoing it, these easy tweaks can help.

Alternate your actives

If you don’t want to give up an active ingredient (and its benefits for skin), no sweat. Just try alternating then; for instance, try using retinol and BHAs on alternating nights, for instance, or switch your vitamin C serum to every other day. Think of it as playing defense for your skin.

Stick with a single brand

In some cases, brands offer formulas designed to work together without overworking skin. At Glow Recipe, for instance, we strongly believe that actives should be balanced with soothing ingredients, whether it be ceramides, allantoin, another skin-calming agent — for daily use, morning and night — without causing irritation. We specifically formulate our products to work in the same routine without irritating skin or harming your skin barrier. (In fact, all of our products work to support a healthy skin barrier.) It’s easier than having to keep track of every single active ingredient in every skincare product in your Skincare Wardrobe.

Add a ceramide serum

Time for your offense: Incorporate ceramides, which you can find in our new Avocado Ceramide Recovery Serum, which packs five different types that are identical to those naturally found in the skin barrier. “Using a product that helps to restore ceramide levels can help to prevent loss of hydration and further dryness of the skin,” says Garshick.

A quick refresher, if you’re not yet familiar: “Ceramides refer to fatty molecules that are thought of as the ‘glue’ that holds skin cells together and helps keep the skin barrier intact,” says Garshick. “Through this, ceramides help to keep moisture in and keep external irritants out.”

On top of that, most people could probably use a restock of ceramides, anyway: Garshick notes that ceramide levels can drop as we age, resulting in a weakening of the natural skin barrier, and in turn, moisture loss and dryness.

Okay, so it’s pretty opposite — ceramides are great. But why are they particularly beneficial if you use a lot of active ingredients? “When using active ingredients that can disrupt or weaken the skin barrier, ceramides help minimize sensitivity and reduce irritation,” explains Garshick. If your active ingredients are a bunch of partygoers, then ceramides are the designated driver who drinks water all night long and makes sure no vases get broken. They’re necessary to make sure everyone has a good time.

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That’s why anyone and everyone ultimately benefits from adding our Avocado Ceramide Recovery Serum into the mix, as it’s packed with an avalanche of  reparative ingredients, including those five skin-identical ceramides, nourishing avocado butter, allantoin, and rice milk, which Koreans have long splashed onto skin to get its soothing properties. It’s clinically proven to reduce redness, as well as other signs of inflammation like itchiness and flaking.

To seal it all in, our Banana Soufflé Moisture Cream goes the extra mile with irritation-quelling ingredients like cica, turmeric, and magnesium. Apply it on top of your ceramide serum to lock in hydration and soothe the skin even further.

With a little preemptive TLC, it’s possible to use actives regularly without upsetting your skin. That way, you can get the best of both worlds.

Keep reading about how to get calm, healthy skin:


Glow Recipe

Avocado Ceramide Recovery Serum


Glow Recipe

Banana Soufflé Moisture Cream


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