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Why You Shouldn't Fear Skincare
Skincare is for Everyone
Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, just a cartoon deer on the internet with a background in chemistry and a hyperfixation on skin. This is not medical advice.
I see bad skin takes on Twitter constantly. Y’all heard me rant about coconut oil misinformation last week, and another one that comes up frequently from holistic Twitter is that you shouldn’t be using topical treatments on your skin because your skin will adapt and not be able to function without it later on:
This idea isn’t driven by data but rather ignorance of biochemistry and the underlying mechanisms behind our natural biological processes including aging, cellular renewal, and sebum production.
In our prime, skin cells have a 28-day cycle. Skin aging is influenced by two sets of factors
Endogenous: genetics, cellular metabolism, hormones, etc.
Exogenous: light, pollution, heat, radiation, toxins, etc.
Both sets of factors will contribute to various degrees depending on bioindiviudality. Regardless, as we age, our cell cycle slows down. This has a number of consequences including decreased turnover rate, slower wound healing, decreased collagen and elastin production, etc. All of these consequences lead to signs of aging, including but not limited to: fine lines, wrinkles, discoloration, uneven texture, and sagging skin as gravity pulls the epidermis away from the dermis
A healthy skin barrier is incredibly important. It protects us from microorganisms, allergens, irritants, reactive oxygen species, and radiation. Of particular importance in the context of aging, it prevents transepidermal water loss which would otherwise lead to dehydration
But Fawn, all health starts in the gut, so if you have skin issues, you must not eat properly!
Y’all, this isn’t hard to understand. Even someone with a clean diet like myself can struggle with skin issues. Hell, I literally put myself in remission from an autoimmune disorder two years ago by overhauling my diet and lifestyle, and it still did not give me perfect skin. Instead, I was left wondering why I had texture, closed comedones on my forehead, and pimples on my cheeks. Even if clearing up my diet did help with my acne (it didn’t), I’d still be left with hyperpigmentation and scarring from my past.
Enter skincare. Chemistry is fascinating - it allows us to leverage what nature gave us to biohack our way into superhuman performance. The ability to slow down the degradation process of our bodies is nothing short of incredible. What I do to my body has been carefully curated to optimize both longevity and aesthetics to my preferences. I spent years dealing with acne, hyperpigmentation, and dry skin that cleaning up my diet alone did not fix.
I’m not saying you shouldn’t clean up your diet and lifestyle - you absolutely should, and these things will pay you dividends towards holistic health. I’m simply saying that I exhausted the internal options beforehand, and when that didn’t work, I’m glad I finally figured out how to clear up my skin externally.
To deny skin treatment when you need it would be as absurd as saying you’re not going to take an antibiotic when you need it because of the potential for antibiotic resistance. There’s no logic in either scenario.
One of the big reasons people have a negative view of skincare is anecdotal evidence: they personally aged well while doing nothing for their skin while people they knew that tried to take care of their skin aged poorly. This evidence is subjective at best, and further, it doesn’t account for the fact that these people likely didn’t know what they were doing in the first place and ended up causing adverse side effects.
Listen closely - none of the ingredients I use or recommend change my genetic predisposition to low sebum production, nor do they cause my skin cell turnover to slow down, decrease wound healing, or decrease collagen or elastin production. That’s just straight up not how skin works.
Further, this is a great case study for why I don’t make blanket statements on what products people should be buying. I do not know you, and I do not know your skin. Outside of a 1:1 consultation, the best thing I can do is teach you how to make decisions for yourself by explaining how specific ingredients work and what results they can potentially deliver for you.
I understand the mechanism of action of the active ingredients I apply on my skin, and I’m playing the long game here. I break down my structured thinking in threads on Twitter and in long-form in my Substack, but it’s up to you to decide if my conclusions are reasonable in the end.
My methods work towards optimizing my life to my preferences, but you are not beholden to them. As I always say, everything you choose to do comes down to your own individual risk management.
That’s all for now! Happy skincare!
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