Globally and individually, we all experienced significant changes in 2020. Perhaps the most poignant of these was a return to minimalism, and our skin was no exception. Shuttered salons, spas, and skincare clinics gave us no option but to turn to natural skin care.
The results are inspiring.
As social distancing replaced in-person gatherings and Zoom calls replaced office meetings, we all got up-close and personal with our newfound beauty tool: our natural skin. Natural, healthy skin replaced high-maintenance beauty regimes and caked-on makeup. Plant-based skincare products replaced harsh, chemical-infused toners, serums, and masques.
The result is a dewy, natural, and healthy glow (and a little extra room in our vanity cabinets).
This 2021 beauty trend has a name: skinimalism. Skinimalism, or the new bare-bones approach to our skincare routines, favors scaling back the number of synthetic products, makeup, and ingredients we apply to our skin.
New multi-tasking products let us do more with fewer bottles and jars, fewer ingredients, and fewer dollars. The trend of sustainable and transparent skincare has refocused the spotlight on to wellness beauty products. These wellness beauty products are popular because they include natural, plant-based skincare products with ingredients we can pronounce.
Nothing supports skinimalism the way that plant-based skincare products do. We’ve all heard the advice to incorporate more plants into our diet, right? This advice makes sense. Plants are nutrient-rich and full of vitamins and minerals; they work wonders in our bodies when we consume them. So it’s no surprise that science says plant-based skincare products go a long way when it comes to the health and beauty of our skin.
Knowledge about the transformative effects of plants in skincare products is nothing new; the Egyptians used them more than 5,000 years ago. Egyptians treated their skin with plants such as thyme, chamomile, lavender, lily, peppermint, rosemary, and aloe to target discolorations, changes in elasticity, and even medical conditions. Sound familiar? That’s because this knowledge of plant-based skin treatment was preserved and used for many centuries.
Plant-based skincare disappeared when modern-day scientists realized that chemical or biochemical industrial processes could make the same active molecules as plants but at a higher volume and scale.
At what cost, though? These lab-generated skincare treatment modalities can be incredibly harsh on our skin because of alcohol-based toners and other chemicals that do much more damage than just make our skin red and dry.
The re-emergence of gentler wellness beauty products is finally here, and it’s one of the most beneficial beauty trends of 2021. And it came just in time to help us with two current skincare challenges: maskne and inflammaging.
Maskne, or breakouts in the areas covered by a face mask, is distinctively different from acne. The form of acne we typically think of when we think about skin breakouts is caused by a combination of clogged pores, hormones, and C. acnes bacteria. Maskne, however, results from friction.
The continuous friction of our masks against our skin leads to inflammation, which blocks the pores and creates breakouts. The moisture from breathing and normal sweat that get trapped on the skin while we’re wearing masks exacerbates these break-outs.
Another culprit of Maskne is the uptick in anti-bacterial practices during the pandemic. Anti-bacterial soaps and other cleansers became a staple during the pandemic. This caused rapid alterations in our skin’s microbiome, directly affecting our skin’s health.
Your skin is your body’s first barrier to germs. However, the skin has millions of fungi, bacteria, and viruses, which all work together to form your skin’s healthy microbiome. These microorganisms, or skin flora, play a vital role in our immune system and skin appearance.
Your skin naturally releases salt, water, and oil (sebum) to keep itself cool and lubricated. This salt, water, and oil are what feeds your skin’s flora, thus enabling its protective abilities. Anything that disrupts this delicate balance can eliminate the good bacteria from this arsenal and affect your immune response capability and alter your skin’s appearance.
For example, harsh cleansers and beauty-product overload can both individually and together compromise your skin barrier. A compromised skin barrier makes your skin more susceptible to bacterial build-up, which leads to flare-ups, acne, and even psoriasis or rosacea in some cases. This chain reaction response is why microbiome skincare is so important.
Plant-based maskne skincare products are intelligent—they know how to distinguish between good bacteria and bad bacteria. They clean and treat your skin without altering the skin microbiome to keep your skin healthy and glowing.
These natural skin care products can also treat the effects of inflammaging.
Growing older brings many joys and benefits. Our skin, however, might not agree, especially when you consider the process of inflammaging. Inflammaging is the chronic low-level inflammation associated with aging that is thought to factor into many age-associated conditions, including arthritis and Type 2 diabetes.
Our skin is an organ—the largest in our body. So, it makes sense that the skin would also potentially undergo inflammaging as it ages. Research agrees, finding that inflammaging might indeed play a prominent role in the natural decline of skin structure and function as we age.
For example, the antioxidant benefits of Witch Hazel Hydrosol make it one of our customers’ favorite anti-aging products. It should be noted that this is not the kind of Witch Hazel sold in drugstores, which contains alcohol, one of the most drying and inflammatory products you can apply to your skin.
Circling back to maskne, the strong anti-inflammatory properties of Witch Hazel Hydrosol can also make it a useful maskne product because it soothes breakouts and even supports the healing of cracked or blistered skin.
Alcohol-free plant-based skincare products are naturally formulated to repair and protect irritated or distressed skin. Barrier repair creams that contain essential oils and organic hydrosol glycerin hydrate and soften the skin. These natural barrier creams serve as multi-tasking products that soothe the skin and create skin clarity and a balanced skin tone.
We’ve learned a lot, both collectively and individually, from the challenges of 2020. One lesson is that often less is more in life and with our skin. Skinimalism, transparent skincare, and other 2021 skincare trends have highlighted this fact.
2020 also highlighted another lesson: that our own body is the most effective champion of our health. Plant-based skincare products walk hand-in-hand with our body, giving our skin the essential vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that it craves and needs.
The Egyptians and the centuries of healers and physicians who came after them were on to something. We should heed their advice. Sometimes it’s good when history repeats itself.
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Yes. Yes, you do. But….. Caveat emptor.
When first asked to develop products for a local esthetician, I researched the history of cosmetic chemistry. I quickly learned that when it comes to beauty potions, it wasn’t always the chemistry of ingredients that sold products. It was lovely packaging, beautiful cosmetic counters, colorful smocks, and promises of clear and youthful complexions. Lots of promises.