3 Surprising Things Could Damage the Skin Barrier

Just because a treatment is good doesn’t mean it can’t make your skin worse. When done properly, these things can be good. But when done wrong, these can actually make your skin worse.


Dermaplanning aka female face shaving can be fantastic, but if done wrong, it can mess up your skin. Dermaplanning is done with a small blade called a dermaplanner, You can use it to shave off vellus hairs or any wiry hairs that pop up. Dermaplanning is normally done over oil or water because this gives the razor some glide or slip.

Dermaplanning does help exfoliate the skin and get rid of dead skin cells, but its main purpose is to remove hair. Likewise, it makes your makeup go on smoother, and it brightens your face. However, if done wrong, it can be really damaging. There are multiple ways things that could go wrong like dirty blades, unsharpened blades, and pressing too hard. It can also be detrimental to shave over moles, scars, or pimples that have been picked. 

So, if you’re acne-prone, derma planning might be more difficult. Some have said that dermaplanning causes breakouts, and this could be because the razor wasn’t clean or because the bacteria spread. But, it was most likely because the oil in their skin had no way to escape. The tiny peach fuzz and vellus hairs have a purpose for being there. 

Vellus hairs are not only for sensory purposes, they help our bodies lubricate the skin. Our skin creates oil to protect us, but the oil in our sebaceous glands actually needs vellus hairs to reach the surface of our skin.

So, even though vellus hair can be super frustrating, dermaplanning prevents oil from escaping the skin. When oil gets stuck in the skin, the acne bacteria will eat the sebum and create waste products. This can lead to breakouts. So even though Cassandra loves dermaplanning, she also makes sure to stay on top of her exfoliation and treatment routine around the time she does it.

Another thing to be cognizant of is how you’re holding the dermaplanner. If you press too hard, use the wrong angle, or go over acne, this can damage the skin barrier. You also want to make sure the blade does not have any mildew, yeast, or bacteria on it. 


If you use a retinoid improperly, it can truly detriment your skin. People are prone to thinking retinoids are too abrasive for most skin types. But in reality, retinoids work well for acne, scarring, pigmentation, fine lines, and wrinkles. It’s just that people use too much of it. More does not mean better.

If it’s a prescription, you’re only supposed to put on a pea-sized amount. Even if it’s an OTC product, you should start out with a pea-sized amount and work your way up. But instead, many people use way too much. 

On top of that, they’re sealing it in with petrolatum and Vaseline or Solimo jelly. Retinoids are great, and when done properly, sandwiching your retinoid is a great technique. However, Cassandra has literally seen people put a thick layer over their wet face, and then, seal it in with Solimo jelly. Wet skin makes retinoids penetrate more, and this can cause redness, irritation, flaking, and itching. 

This reaction can be even more intense if you are sensitive, new to retinoids, and have dehydrated skin. So, in the words of Dr. Alexis, start slow and go low. It’s better to titrate or work your way up. To start, you can even put the retinoid over Solimo jelly to ensure a low release. 

Lymphatic drainage


What is lymphatic fluid?

Lymph nodes filter substances that travel through the lymphatic fluid, and they contain lymphocytes (white blood cells) that help the body fight infection and disease (NIH). 

However, lymphatic fluid can get stuck between our capillaries. And when you’re sick or inflammation occurs, there might be an excess of it. Many want to drain this fluid because it can cause puffiness. However, lymphatic drainage does not require us to dig into our skin. You can drain lymph nodes by simply doing delicate touches. 

When you scrape your skin, this can cause inflammation, redness, and damage to the skin barrier. Scraping motions are only helpful when doing something called gua sha. However, it has to be done properly, and it is most effective when done by a Chinese Medicine practitioner, Gua sha is an ancient Chinese medicine practice that releases heat and stagnation in the body through a scraping motion, and it is a much more complex technique than lymphatic drainage.