Valentine’s Bae: When Falling in Love Can Be Murder on Your Skin
Deborah DePiano, aesthetician extraordinaire based in West Hollywood, California explains why your significant other’s skincare may be as important as your own. Photo by Michele Mattei.
Aesthetics maven Deborah DePiano offers a tale of caution to sweethearts everywhere this Valentine’s season. She had a lovely client – let’s call her Audrey – who had hypersensitive skin and quite bad cystic acne at the same time.
“It took us about four months of trial and error,” says Deborah, “Of trying different treatment and product combinations, to finally figure out how to solve this double whammy of a skin situation. Because so many acne treatments and products can make sensitive skin worse and so many skin sensitivity products can make acne worse, we have to tread very carefully in helping a client who suffers from both. The real turning point was when I put Audrey on emerginC Scientific Organics Kombucha Cleanser (emerginC.com) that she started to heal. Over time, we got her skin clear and she was very happy.”
Flash forward about 8 months. Audrey hadn’t seen Deborah because she was traveling and got too busy. When showed up for an appointment though, her skin was as bad as it was before.
“OMG,” Deborah cried, “What did you do?”
Audrey said, mortified, “I think I may allergic to my new boyfriend.”
Now, while it is possible to be allergic to another person, it is extremely rare. Any skincare provider worth her/his salt must be an astute detective and, of course, immediately Deborah was on the case. Let’s back up a minute to analyze though.
The collective term for a generalized rash is ‘contact dermatitis’ which is a diagnostic bucket into which experts put all types of irritation. Everyone gets it now and again but those with sensitive skin get it much more frequently.
‘Sensitive skin’ isn’t a technical term but essentially it means a complexion where its protective barrier function is compromised, allowing allergens and irritation to penetrate and injure the already fragile tissue. The result is redness, rash, dehydration and pain.
Those with sensitive skin also have to play detective. Contact dermatitis culprits can include anything from the wrong laundry soap, pet hair, fabrics that don’t breathe, perfumes or aftershaves, or metals like nickel. Deborah quickly ascertained that Audrey’s skin reaction wasn’t from one of those. But something was up with Audrey’s skin.
But wait a minute . . . why would a general rash irritation trigger acne? Because Audrey was already acne-prone, any injury from her weakened skin barrier function would exacerbate the breakouts.
It didn’t take long for Deborah to cut to the chase.
“Does your boyfriend have a beard?,” she asked Audrey. Affirmative.
“What cleanser does he use on his face and his beard?,” Deborah wanted to know.
Audrey answered, “Nothing special. Whatever’s in the shower. Deodorant soap I guess. Then nothing after that.”
And there was the answer. This is not to throw shade at Irish Spring, but deodorant soaps are usually heavily fragranced and by design are fortified with anti-perspirant chemicals and for all their anti-odor prowess, what they most definitely are not is sensitive-skin friendly. Audrey’s boyfriend’s beard held onto the soap residue which scratched, irritated, dehydrated and triggered an allergic reaction and acne outbreak on her face.
By putting Audrey’s boyfriend on his own compatible skincare (and by extension, beardcare) routine, Deborah was able to get Audrey’s skin back on the right track as well.
Hirsute gentlemen who find themselves in love with the sensitive skinned may wish to step up to save their inamorata (or inamorato) multiple complexion woes. Beard washing and grooming products have to perform the duties of skincare and haircare at the same time. At the very least, you’ll need a specialized cleanser and a conditioning beard softening oil. There are a lot of great companies out there including Baxter of California (baxterofcalifornia.com) and the Damn Handsome Grooming Company (damnhandsomegroomingco.com) doing just that.
Mineral Air in the picture
So what to do if you have sensitive skin or acne (or both)? The first thing Deborah DePiano advises (as we wrote about in a previous blog) is to get your hands off your face and DO NOT touch it. The other is to apply Mineral Air’s Four-in-One Foundation with the totally hygienic AirMist Device which will hide the red quietly and efficiently. Rich in hyaluronic acid, the formula soothingly hydrates while the minerals serve to calm irritation, all without your fingers ever touching skin.
“Because so many acne treatments and products can make sensitive skin worse and so many skin sensitivity products can make acne worse, we have to tread very carefully in helping a client who suffers from both.”