As my skin became gradually more troublesome and my acne began flaring up more regularly over the years, I started feeling increasingly more lost when it came to my skincare routine. As a beauty editor who knows the ins and outs of every skincare product and ingredient out there, even I couldn’t get my routine right. So how the hell was anybody else supposed to? When I reached out to skincare experts, their solution was always the same: reduce the number of products I was using. But how can I? I thought. Surely my skin needs all of these vital ingredients?
And the truth, I have learned, is that yes, my skin does benefit from all of the ingredients, just not in separate formulas. You see, I’m going to let you in on a very big secret: Layering your skincare products isn’t nearly as good for your skin as brands would have you believe; it just makes them a lot of money. Why sell one product, specially formulated with an array of ingredients designed to work in tandem, when they could split up that ingredient list into five different serums and sell them all individually?
“A common mistake is people using too many products without the supervision of a skincare expert. Each product alone can be effective, but when layered with one or more of the other ingredients, it can cause irritation and dryness to the skin,” says Ridah Syed, senior medical aesthetician at Skinfluencer. And this is where the issue arises. The fact of the matter is the average beauty consumer is not a cosmetic formulator. We simply cannot retain the amount of information required to know exactly what products should be used when, how and where. So we slap them all on, hope for the best and, as was my case, ruin the state of our skin while we’re at it.