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SPECIAL PROMOTION: FREE CALMING MIST & USA SHIPPING WITH $50 ORDER

SPECIAL PROMOTION: FREE CALMING MIST & USA SHIPPING WITH $50 ORDER

SPECIAL PROMOTION: FREE CALMING MIST & USA SHIPPING WITH $50 ORDER

REFERENCE TOPICS

Cleansers

By far this is the single biggest source of problems in skincare. It wasn’t so back in 1960, but now, with all of our ‘advances’ things are seriously out of whack.

Why are things out of whack? Marketing and the REPAIR MODEL have combined to create a perfect storm on the skin. There’s a lot to unpack here, so let’s take this in steps.

Try these on first:

The notion that you must have squeaky clean skin is an emotional one. It always ends up badly, especially for oily skin types.

The notion that huge billowing, creamy rich foam is a good thing is a selling point the skincare industry has spent zillions of dollars to instill. It is accepted almost as natural law. It is wrong. As is the notion that your skin will look much better with just a tiny, teensy bit of exfoliation every day. This is an invitation to rosacea and worse.

Oily/Combination Skin types are usually in the biggest trouble. They wash and wash and scrub and scrub and things get worse and worse. Then they try something else and get a few days relief and then the cycle repeats, as in Rinse and Repeat.

Cleansers are agents that make water wetter and attach themselves to dirt, oils, grease, squames, wine stains, powdered sugar, egg whites, flour, cookie dough, gossip, bad jokes, unsightly objects and so on. These surface active agents, or surfactants, may be created from natural oils or sugars or the middle distillate tower at the petroleum refinery or a combination of all of these. Chemists are clever and resourceful.

These surfactants can easily remove the lipids (and CERAMIDES) at the surface of the skin cells and this unfortunate ability ‘defats’ the skin. When you defat the skin with a strong surfactant the skin goes bananas and immediately sets about to source more oils from the blood and the extracellular matrix and route these through the sebaceous glands. It is a process that takes maybe a day or two to restore and then you will be more oily than you were before because the skin is trying to protect you.

As you keep defatting the skin with your squeaky clean surfactant that foams and smells wonderful the skin finally calls the cops and now the immune system runs the show and all hell breaks loose. You are oily and inflamed and the minute you stop using the cleanser your skin gets worse. How weird is that.

Skincare product addiction is not as much fun as they said it would be.

So you try another squeaky clean foamer and everything is great for a day or even three and then you are getting oily and inflamed again! You fooled the immune system. For a while. Now you are in trouble.

Cleansers have an electrical charge that can be weak or strong. If your cleanser has cocomidopropyl betaine, or almost any betaine, the anionic charge is only part of the problem that causes your skin to get irritated. The betaines are big foam builders and they will cause irritation, sooner or later. It is not that foam is inherently an irritant, but the exceptions are very few. Check the labels as you go through the catalogs. Betaines are everywhere in cleansers. Like potato starch in processed foods. Avoid products with them.

But wait, we’re not done. You look through the ingredients with all that isopropyl chickenwire and busy yourself to read about it at the Environmental Working Group and find a few paragraphs that refer to studies that show most rodents are not fond of washing.

The EWG tries to protect you from becoming a chemical stew pot. All good. And yet even though you are using only the least harmful things, trying as well as you can, you look like a flogged prisoner. Why is that?

Betaines and acids. Not. Skin. Friendly.

But, first a word about amides. The State of California had a cow about amides and declared them carcinogens. They are not. No proof worth discussing. The real problem with amides is that they are drying, defatting, and just all around unfriendly to skin. They couple up with betaines and a third component, the anionic detergents like lauryl sulfates to create this big creamy rich foamy behemoth that goes through your hair or on your skin and feels just insanely self-indulgent.

Or just insane?

It is. Get away fast. No betaines, no amides, and no big boffo anionics like the old gray headed villain everyone points to: sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS). There are plenty more anionics just as bad and worse than SLS, btw.

Now let’s talk about acids. They are everywhere in cleansers, mostly it is salicylic acid for acne, usually about 2% concentration. This acid, which is actually not an acid, but a phenol, attacks non-viable cells and the stuff between the cells. It ‘exfoliates’ this stuff, leaves you with a shiny new you on the surface. It seems like a nice friendly skin housekeeper.

It is, however, a home wrecker. Over time, and it depends on the person, it may be a few days or a month or even two or three months if you are lucky but inevitably, the continuous use of salicylic acid will result in inflammation. 95% of acne is inflammation. Get it? You need to restrict usage of any cleanser that contains salicylic acid.

The Skin Dork discussed skin metabolism, how it takes about 30 days for epidermal cells to arise and go up to the surface and fall off and get all over your car seats, your clothes, your keyboard, even the face of your watch! (See INTRODUCTION)

When you accelerate that metabolism by exfoliating with salicylic acid, you ring alarm bells deep in the skin. Keep it up and very soon you have a nasty little case of persistent rosacea, next stop, dermatitis.

Particularly susceptible are people in their early teens to mid-twenties. This has to do with skin density.

The following image works well enough. Imagine your skin is a room filled with ping pong balls (cells) and exfoliation generates more ping pong balls in the same amount of space. Things get crowded, especially with natural cell poop excreting everywhere in this space. Blackheads and comedones (zits) form. Exfoliation only makes things more crowded below while smoothing the surface. You can’t do this for long and not expect problems.

It is difficult to categorize by ethnicity, but biologically younger Asian, Black and Hispanic skin will often have greater difficulties with products containing salicylic acid. Any acid for that matter often causes bad reactions. See ETHNIC SKIN AND EXFOLIATION.

It is useful to know salicylic acid is really a small problem compared to the alpha dogs: glycolic and lactic acids. These acids attack living tissue. What more do you need to know? Want rosacea, or a smacking bad case of dermatitis? Use these acids too often and you will eventually meet these devils in the mirror.

Now there are other acids out there trying to pose as just good sports, not up to anything as wicked as glycolic and lactic acids, but the Skin Dork has to say, that’s just whistling past the graveyard,

Exfoliating acids will prematurely age your skin. Exfoliation products have created a strange looking society of biologically senile, if chronologically youthful/middle aged people who patronize skin spas where raw, shiny, grotesquely unnatural looking skin is manufactured for reasons unknown to anyone but sadists and masochists. The systemic consequences of this are not trivial.

Exfoliating cleansers in home and studio care constitute the first line treatment approach by the vast majority of medical and non-medical skin estheticians and physicians and over the counter treatments for acne since 1990 and to the Skin Dork’s experience the practice is the leading cause of the pervasive rosacea and other visible inflammation. Scarring often occurs as a byproduct.

Another misconception is pH or pH balance as a goal in your skincare, especially a cleanser. The skin does not go into a tailspin or shout hallelujah because of pH. It does not matter to the skin if the pH is very low or very high. It only matters the degree of ionic charge to the ingredient.

In other words, if I have a weakly ionic substance whose pH is 3 or 10 it will not be in any way alarming to the skin as compared to a powerfully ionic ingredient with a pH of 5.5 (approximately the pH of the skin). Most of the harshest defatting cleansers on the shelf, even those declaring themselves organic and natural, have a very neutral pH.

Pay no attention to pH; it is not useful information. Anyone selling you on that concept is parroting a tune first played by Bristol Meyers in 1974 who coined the marketing term “pH balance” as a buying hook, not a discovery in biology. It worked apparently.

Of course, being “ionically correct” doesn’t quite have the same ring to it does it. The Skin Dork will not try to come up with nifty slogans. On the other hand, Bristol Meyers tried to get “poly-ionic” gain traction a few years later, and that failed, because it is confusing nonsense, so the Skin Dork is not alone in bad slogan attempts.

Cleansers with not a lot of bubbles are good. Cleansers without betaines, without acids, without amides, without big anionics are good – and very hard to find. Check out, though, the cleansers at 302 Skincare.

What about soap bars? Ivory soap was (is) 99 and 44/100% pure. That 0.56% impurity is the ionic charge of free alkali. It is drying and defatting because of that small amount of strong ionic charge. Soap is the oldest thing going and the free alkali is a problem. All the detergents/surfactants created since then have sought to overcome that strong ionic soap problem.

Some soap bars are not true soap (where fats/oils are stirred in a vat with caustic soda (potassium or sodium hydroxide – very strong ionic charge and a high pH). The glycerine falls out of the oil and is taken away to make explosives (hurray for fireworks!) or to be used as a skin humectant or in many other fiendishly clever ways – look them up, you will be amazed. All that from little seeds that came out of the dirt that you are trying to wash off, or something.

Hmmm, now where was I?

Oh yes, the oil has to absorb (react with) the caustic to neutralize it and Proctor & Gamble did its best at 99 and 44/100% pure and fully reacted. Close but no cigar P&G. Great for 1925, not so much now, but not so bad either compared to the skin effects of a constant salicylic acid cleanser use.

Now modern soap bars are usually syndet bars (as in synthetic detergent), where a mild surfactant ingredient is mixed with various humectants or oils and mixed together in a crutcher, melted together, and then poured into molds and dried with tantalizing fragrances (that often set off a histamine response with sensitive skin, alas). These are solid bars and can be expensive and very mild if superior surfactants are used. But quality ingredients are hard to find now and expensive.

The best cleansing bar the Skin Dork has used is 302 Skincare’s FACE & BODY BAR. Excellent for limiting breakouts, for baby skin and sunburn. Limited supply and not inexpensive but just the best there is in that genre.

Clear, see-through bars, so called “glycerine” bars are invariably very drying and defatting. They look great and usually smell great but not a good choice for acne or sensitive skin. Give to houseguests who won’t leave.

The Skin Dork’s personal cleansers are 302 Skincare’s FACE & BODY BAR and REVIVE. It goes on like a lotion to dry skin, rub in, rinse with water. If you work in a coal mine, or are Mike Rowe, do it again. Otherwise, reapply and leave it on, like a moisturizer.

This is the best ever for those whose skin is like an apricot and cannot tolerate strong ionic cleansers, or acid exfoliation. Asian, Hispanic, Black skin is often sensitive and oily, too – meet 302’s FACE & BODY BAR and REVIVE and you will be happy happy.

One last thought. The Skin Dork has friends who work hard in restaurants and in all that oily air full of protein and carbohydrate fragments, ketones, aldehydes and what not polyphenols and fatty acids sizzling away on the stove and in the fryer, and then going airborne finds their skin can be a garden of instability. Using either of those products is the way to look great. Looking good is feeling good.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

REFERENCE TOPICS

Cleansers

By far this is the single biggest source of problems in skincare. It wasn’t so back in 1960, but now, with all of our ‘advances’ things are seriously out of whack.

Why are things out of whack? Marketing and the REPAIR MODEL have combined to create a perfect storm on the skin. There’s a lot to unpack here, so let’s take this in steps.

Try these on first:

The notion that you must have squeaky clean skin is an emotional one. It always ends up badly, especially for oily skin types.

The notion that huge billowing, creamy rich foam is a good thing is a selling point the skincare industry has spent zillions of dollars to instill. It is accepted almost as natural law. It is wrong. As is the notion that your skin will look much better with just a tiny, teensy bit of exfoliation every day. This is an invitation to rosacea and worse.

Oily/Combination Skin types are usually in the biggest trouble. They wash and wash and scrub and scrub and things get worse and worse. Then they try something else and get a few days relief and then the cycle repeats, as in Rinse and Repeat.

Cleansers are agents that make water wetter and attach themselves to dirt, oils, grease, squames, wine stains, powdered sugar, egg whites, flour, cookie dough, gossip, bad jokes, unsightly objects and so on. These surface active agents, or surfactants, may be created from natural oils or sugars or the middle distillate tower at the petroleum refinery or a combination of all of these. Chemists are clever and resourceful.

These surfactants can easily remove the lipids (and CERAMIDES) at the surface of the skin cells and this unfortunate ability ‘defats’ the skin. When you defat the skin with a strong surfactant the skin goes bananas and immediately sets about to source more oils from the blood and the extracellular matrix and route these through the sebaceous glands. It is a process that takes maybe a day or two to restore and then you will be more oily than you were before because the skin is trying to protect you.

As you keep defatting the skin with your squeaky clean surfactant that foams and smells wonderful the skin finally calls the cops and now the immune system runs the show and all hell breaks loose. You are oily and inflamed and the minute you stop using the cleanser your skin gets worse. How weird is that.

Skincare product addiction is not as much fun as they said it would be.

So you try another squeaky clean foamer and everything is great for a day or even three and then you are getting oily and inflamed again! You fooled the immune system. For a while. Now you are in trouble.

Cleansers have an electrical charge that can be weak or strong. If your cleanser has cocomidopropyl betaine, or almost any betaine, the anionic charge is only part of the problem that causes your skin to get irritated. The betaines are big foam builders and they will cause irritation, sooner or later. It is not that foam is inherently an irritant, but the exceptions are very few. Check the labels as you go through the catalogs. Betaines are everywhere in cleansers. Like potato starch in processed foods. Avoid products with them.

But wait, we’re not done. You look through the ingredients with all that isopropyl chickenwire and busy yourself to read about it at the Environmental Working Group and find a few paragraphs that refer to studies that show most rodents are not fond of washing.

The EWG tries to protect you from becoming a chemical stew pot. All good. And yet even though you are using only the least harmful things, trying as well as you can, you look like a flogged prisoner. Why is that?

Betaines and acids. Not. Skin. Friendly.

But, first a word about amides. The State of California had a cow about amides and declared them carcinogens. They are not. No proof worth discussing. The real problem with amides is that they are drying, defatting, and just all around unfriendly to skin. They couple up with betaines and a third component, the anionic detergents like lauryl sulfates to create this big creamy rich foamy behemoth that goes through your hair or on your skin and feels just insanely self-indulgent.

Or just insane?

It is. Get away fast. No betaines, no amides, and no big boffo anionics like the old gray headed villain everyone points to: sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS). There are plenty more anionics just as bad and worse than SLS, btw.

Now let’s talk about acids. They are everywhere in cleansers, mostly it is salicylic acid for acne, usually about 2% concentration. This acid, which is actually not an acid, but a phenol, attacks non-viable cells and the stuff between the cells. It ‘exfoliates’ this stuff, leaves you with a shiny new you on the surface. It seems like a nice friendly skin housekeeper.

It is, however, a home wrecker. Over time, and it depends on the person, it may be a few days or a month or even two or three months if you are lucky but inevitably, the continuous use of salicylic acid will result in inflammation. 95% of acne is inflammation. Get it? You need to restrict usage of any cleanser that contains salicylic acid.

The Skin Dork discussed skin metabolism, how it takes about 30 days for epidermal cells to arise and go up to the surface and fall off and get all over your car seats, your clothes, your keyboard, even the face of your watch! (See INTRODUCTION)

When you accelerate that metabolism by exfoliating with salicylic acid, you ring alarm bells deep in the skin. Keep it up and very soon you have a nasty little case of persistent rosacea, next stop, dermatitis.

Particularly susceptible are people in their early teens to mid-twenties. This has to do with skin density.

The following image works well enough. Imagine your skin is a room filled with ping pong balls (cells) and exfoliation generates more ping pong balls in the same amount of space. Things get crowded, especially with natural cell poop excreting everywhere in this space. Blackheads and comedones (zits) form. Exfoliation only makes things more crowded below while smoothing the surface. You can’t do this for long and not expect problems.

It is difficult to categorize by ethnicity, but biologically younger Asian, Black and Hispanic skin will often have greater difficulties with products containing salicylic acid. Any acid for that matter often causes bad reactions. See ETHNIC SKIN AND EXFOLIATION.

It is useful to know salicylic acid is really a small problem compared to the alpha dogs: glycolic and lactic acids. These acids attack living tissue. What more do you need to know? Want rosacea, or a smacking bad case of dermatitis? Use these acids too often and you will eventually meet these devils in the mirror.

Now there are other acids out there trying to pose as just good sports, not up to anything as wicked as glycolic and lactic acids, but the Skin Dork has to say, that’s just whistling past the graveyard,

Exfoliating acids will prematurely age your skin. Exfoliation products have created a strange looking society of biologically senile, if chronologically youthful/middle aged people who patronize skin spas where raw, shiny, grotesquely unnatural looking skin is manufactured for reasons unknown to anyone but sadists and masochists. The systemic consequences of this are not trivial.

Exfoliating cleansers in home and studio care constitute the first line treatment approach by the vast majority of medical and non-medical skin estheticians and physicians and over the counter treatments for acne since 1990 and to the Skin Dork’s experience the practice is the leading cause of the pervasive rosacea and other visible inflammation. Scarring often occurs as a byproduct.

Another misconception is pH or pH balance as a goal in your skincare, especially a cleanser. The skin does not go into a tailspin or shout hallelujah because of pH. It does not matter to the skin if the pH is very low or very high. It only matters the degree of ionic charge to the ingredient.

In other words, if I have a weakly ionic substance whose pH is 3 or 10 it will not be in any way alarming to the skin as compared to a powerfully ionic ingredient with a pH of 5.5 (approximately the pH of the skin). Most of the harshest defatting cleansers on the shelf, even those declaring themselves organic and natural, have a very neutral pH.

Pay no attention to pH; it is not useful information. Anyone selling you on that concept is parroting a tune first played by Bristol Meyers in 1974 who coined the marketing term “pH balance” as a buying hook, not a discovery in biology. It worked apparently.

Of course, being “ionically correct” doesn’t quite have the same ring to it does it. The Skin Dork will not try to come up with nifty slogans. On the other hand, Bristol Meyers tried to get “poly-ionic” gain traction a few years later, and that failed, because it is confusing nonsense, so the Skin Dork is not alone in bad slogan attempts.

Cleansers with not a lot of bubbles are good. Cleansers without betaines, without acids, without amides, without big anionics are good – and very hard to find. Check out, though, the cleansers at 302 Skincare.

What about soap bars? Ivory soap was (is) 99 and 44/100% pure. That 0.56% impurity is the ionic charge of free alkali. It is drying and defatting because of that small amount of strong ionic charge. Soap is the oldest thing going and the free alkali is a problem. All the detergents/surfactants created since then have sought to overcome that strong ionic soap problem.

Some soap bars are not true soap (where fats/oils are stirred in a vat with caustic soda (potassium or sodium hydroxide – very strong ionic charge and a high pH). The glycerine falls out of the oil and is taken away to make explosives (hurray for fireworks!) or to be used as a skin humectant or in many other fiendishly clever ways – look them up, you will be amazed. All that from little seeds that came out of the dirt that you are trying to wash off, or something.

Hmmm, now where was I?

Oh yes, the oil has to absorb (react with) the caustic to neutralize it and Proctor & Gamble did its best at 99 and 44/100% pure and fully reacted. Close but no cigar P&G. Great for 1925, not so much now, but not so bad either compared to the skin effects of a constant salicylic acid cleanser use.

Now modern soap bars are usually syndet bars (as in synthetic detergent), where a mild surfactant ingredient is mixed with various humectants or oils and mixed together in a crutcher, melted together, and then poured into molds and dried with tantalizing fragrances (that often set off a histamine response with sensitive skin, alas). These are solid bars and can be expensive and very mild if superior surfactants are used. But quality ingredients are hard to find now and expensive.

The best cleansing bar the Skin Dork has used is 302 Skincare’s FACE & BODY BAR. Excellent for limiting breakouts, for baby skin and sunburn. Limited supply and not inexpensive but just the best there is in that genre.

Clear, see-through bars, so called “glycerine” bars are invariably very drying and defatting. They look great and usually smell great but not a good choice for acne or sensitive skin. Give to houseguests who won’t leave.

The Skin Dork’s personal cleansers are 302 Skincare’s FACE & BODY BAR and REVIVE. It goes on like a lotion to dry skin, rub in, rinse with water. If you work in a coal mine, or are Mike Rowe, do it again. Otherwise, reapply and leave it on, like a moisturizer.

This is the best ever for those whose skin is like an apricot and cannot tolerate strong ionic cleansers, or acid exfoliation. Asian, Hispanic, Black skin is often sensitive and oily, too – meet 302’s FACE & BODY BAR and REVIVE and you will be happy happy.

One last thought. The Skin Dork has friends who work hard in restaurants and in all that oily air full of protein and carbohydrate fragments, ketones, aldehydes and what not polyphenols and fatty acids sizzling away on the stove and in the fryer, and then going airborne finds their skin can be a garden of instability. Using either of those products is the way to look great. Looking good is feeling good.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

REFERENCE TOPICS

Cleansers

By far this is the single biggest source of problems in skincare. It wasn’t so back in 1960, but now, with all of our ‘advances’ things are seriously out of whack.

Why are things out of whack? Marketing and the REPAIR MODEL have combined to create a perfect storm on the skin. There’s a lot to unpack here, so let’s take this in steps.

Try these on first:

The notion that you must have squeaky clean skin is an emotional one. It always ends up badly, especially for oily skin types.

The notion that huge billowing, creamy rich foam is a good thing is a selling point the skincare industry has spent zillions of dollars to instill. It is accepted almost as natural law. It is wrong. As is the notion that your skin will look much better with just a tiny, teensy bit of exfoliation every day. This is an invitation to rosacea and worse.

Oily/Combination Skin types are usually in the biggest trouble. They wash and wash and scrub and scrub and things get worse and worse. Then they try something else and get a few days relief and then the cycle repeats, as in Rinse and Repeat.

Cleansers are agents that make water wetter and attach themselves to dirt, oils, grease, squames, wine stains, powdered sugar, egg whites, flour, cookie dough, gossip, bad jokes, unsightly objects and so on. These surface active agents, or surfactants, may be created from natural oils or sugars or the middle distillate tower at the petroleum refinery or a combination of all of these. Chemists are clever and resourceful.

These surfactants can easily remove the lipids (and CERAMIDES) at the surface of the skin cells and this unfortunate ability ‘defats’ the skin. When you defat the skin with a strong surfactant the skin goes bananas and immediately sets about to source more oils from the blood and the extracellular matrix and route these through the sebaceous glands. It is a process that takes maybe a day or two to restore and then you will be more oily than you were before because the skin is trying to protect you.

As you keep defatting the skin with your squeaky clean surfactant that foams and smells wonderful the skin finally calls the cops and now the immune system runs the show and all hell breaks loose. You are oily and inflamed and the minute you stop using the cleanser your skin gets worse. How weird is that.

Skincare product addiction is not as much fun as they said it would be.

So you try another squeaky clean foamer and everything is great for a day or even three and then you are getting oily and inflamed again! You fooled the immune system. For a while. Now you are in trouble.

Cleansers have an electrical charge that can be weak or strong. If your cleanser has cocomidopropyl betaine, or almost any betaine, the anionic charge is only part of the problem that causes your skin to get irritated. The betaines are big foam builders and they will cause irritation, sooner or later. It is not that foam is inherently an irritant, but the exceptions are very few. Check the labels as you go through the catalogs. Betaines are everywhere in cleansers. Like potato starch in processed foods. Avoid products with them.

But wait, we’re not done. You look through the ingredients with all that isopropyl chickenwire and busy yourself to read about it at the Environmental Working Group and find a few paragraphs that refer to studies that show most rodents are not fond of washing.

The EWG tries to protect you from becoming a chemical stew pot. All good. And yet even though you are using only the least harmful things, trying as well as you can, you look like a flogged prisoner. Why is that?

Betaines and acids. Not. Skin. Friendly.

But, first a word about amides. The State of California had a cow about amides and declared them carcinogens. They are not. No proof worth discussing. The real problem with amides is that they are drying, defatting, and just all around unfriendly to skin. They couple up with betaines and a third component, the anionic detergents like lauryl sulfates to create this big creamy rich foamy behemoth that goes through your hair or on your skin and feels just insanely self-indulgent.

Or just insane?

It is. Get away fast. No betaines, no amides, and no big boffo anionics like the old gray headed villain everyone points to: sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS). There are plenty more anionics just as bad and worse than SLS, btw.

Now let’s talk about acids. They are everywhere in cleansers, mostly it is salicylic acid for acne, usually about 2% concentration. This acid, which is actually not an acid, but a phenol, attacks non-viable cells and the stuff between the cells. It ‘exfoliates’ this stuff, leaves you with a shiny new you on the surface. It seems like a nice friendly skin housekeeper.

It is, however, a home wrecker. Over time, and it depends on the person, it may be a few days or a month or even two or three months if you are lucky but inevitably, the continuous use of salicylic acid will result in inflammation. 95% of acne is inflammation. Get it? You need to restrict usage of any cleanser that contains salicylic acid.

The Skin Dork discussed skin metabolism, how it takes about 30 days for epidermal cells to arise and go up to the surface and fall off and get all over your car seats, your clothes, your keyboard, even the face of your watch! (See INTRODUCTION)

When you accelerate that metabolism by exfoliating with salicylic acid, you ring alarm bells deep in the skin. Keep it up and very soon you have a nasty little case of persistent rosacea, next stop, dermatitis.

Particularly susceptible are people in their early teens to mid-twenties. This has to do with skin density.

The following image works well enough. Imagine your skin is a room filled with ping pong balls (cells) and exfoliation generates more ping pong balls in the same amount of space. Things get crowded, especially with natural cell poop excreting everywhere in this space. Blackheads and comedones (zits) form. Exfoliation only makes things more crowded below while smoothing the surface. You can’t do this for long and not expect problems.

It is difficult to categorize by ethnicity, but biologically younger Asian, Black and Hispanic skin will often have greater difficulties with products containing salicylic acid. Any acid for that matter often causes bad reactions. See ETHNIC SKIN AND EXFOLIATION.

It is useful to know salicylic acid is really a small problem compared to the alpha dogs: glycolic and lactic acids. These acids attack living tissue. What more do you need to know? Want rosacea, or a smacking bad case of dermatitis? Use these acids too often and you will eventually meet these devils in the mirror.

Now there are other acids out there trying to pose as just good sports, not up to anything as wicked as glycolic and lactic acids, but the Skin Dork has to say, that’s just whistling past the graveyard,

Exfoliating acids will prematurely age your skin. Exfoliation products have created a strange looking society of biologically senile, if chronologically youthful/middle aged people who patronize skin spas where raw, shiny, grotesquely unnatural looking skin is manufactured for reasons unknown to anyone but sadists and masochists. The systemic consequences of this are not trivial.

Exfoliating cleansers in home and studio care constitute the first line treatment approach by the vast majority of medical and non-medical skin estheticians and physicians and over the counter treatments for acne since 1990 and to the Skin Dork’s experience the practice is the leading cause of the pervasive rosacea and other visible inflammation. Scarring often occurs as a byproduct.

Another misconception is pH or pH balance as a goal in your skincare, especially a cleanser. The skin does not go into a tailspin or shout hallelujah because of pH. It does not matter to the skin if the pH is very low or very high. It only matters the degree of ionic charge to the ingredient.

In other words, if I have a weakly ionic substance whose pH is 3 or 10 it will not be in any way alarming to the skin as compared to a powerfully ionic ingredient with a pH of 5.5 (approximately the pH of the skin). Most of the harshest defatting cleansers on the shelf, even those declaring themselves organic and natural, have a very neutral pH.

Pay no attention to pH; it is not useful information. Anyone selling you on that concept is parroting a tune first played by Bristol Meyers in 1974 who coined the marketing term “pH balance” as a buying hook, not a discovery in biology. It worked apparently.

Of course, being “ionically correct” doesn’t quite have the same ring to it does it. The Skin Dork will not try to come up with nifty slogans. On the other hand, Bristol Meyers tried to get “poly-ionic” gain traction a few years later, and that failed, because it is confusing nonsense, so the Skin Dork is not alone in bad slogan attempts.

Cleansers with not a lot of bubbles are good. Cleansers without betaines, without acids, without amides, without big anionics are good – and very hard to find. Check out, though, the cleansers at 302 Skincare.

What about soap bars? Ivory soap was (is) 99 and 44/100% pure. That 0.56% impurity is the ionic charge of free alkali. It is drying and defatting because of that small amount of strong ionic charge. Soap is the oldest thing going and the free alkali is a problem. All the detergents/surfactants created since then have sought to overcome that strong ionic soap problem.

Some soap bars are not true soap (where fats/oils are stirred in a vat with caustic soda (potassium or sodium hydroxide – very strong ionic charge and a high pH). The glycerine falls out of the oil and is taken away to make explosives (hurray for fireworks!) or to be used as a skin humectant or in many other fiendishly clever ways – look them up, you will be amazed. All that from little seeds that came out of the dirt that you are trying to wash off, or something.

Hmmm, now where was I?

Oh yes, the oil has to absorb (react with) the caustic to neutralize it and Proctor & Gamble did its best at 99 and 44/100% pure and fully reacted. Close but no cigar P&G. Great for 1925, not so much now, but not so bad either compared to the skin effects of a constant salicylic acid cleanser use.

Now modern soap bars are usually syndet bars (as in synthetic detergent), where a mild surfactant ingredient is mixed with various humectants or oils and mixed together in a crutcher, melted together, and then poured into molds and dried with tantalizing fragrances (that often set off a histamine response with sensitive skin, alas). These are solid bars and can be expensive and very mild if superior surfactants are used. But quality ingredients are hard to find now and expensive.

The best cleansing bar the Skin Dork has used is 302 Skincare’s FACE & BODY BAR. Excellent for limiting breakouts, for baby skin and sunburn. Limited supply and not inexpensive but just the best there is in that genre.

Clear, see-through bars, so called “glycerine” bars are invariably very drying and defatting. They look great and usually smell great but not a good choice for acne or sensitive skin. Give to houseguests who won’t leave.

The Skin Dork’s personal cleansers are 302 Skincare’s FACE & BODY BAR and REVIVE. It goes on like a lotion to dry skin, rub in, rinse with water. If you work in a coal mine, or are Mike Rowe, do it again. Otherwise, reapply and leave it on, like a moisturizer.

This is the best ever for those whose skin is like an apricot and cannot tolerate strong ionic cleansers, or acid exfoliation. Asian, Hispanic, Black skin is often sensitive and oily, too – meet 302’s FACE & BODY BAR and REVIVE and you will be happy happy.

One last thought. The Skin Dork has friends who work hard in restaurants and in all that oily air full of protein and carbohydrate fragments, ketones, aldehydes and what not polyphenols and fatty acids sizzling away on the stove and in the fryer, and then going airborne finds their skin can be a garden of instability. Using either of those products is the way to look great. Looking good is feeling good.

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