There's a reason your skin is always freaking out.

If you're someone who loves skincare, at one point or another you've probably tried to switch up your routine or try a fancy new serum, only to find your skin just doesn't... love it. 

You know the deal. You try a new retinol or AHAs and notice that things suddenly get a bit hairy and everything starts to look a little irritated. Red. A little bit dry.

All of a sudden there's breakouts, dark spots flaring up, flakiness around your nose (??) and you're experiencing a full-blown skin tantrum.

And look, I get it. Goodness — as someone who tries and tests products for a living — I can absolutely relate. In a world where fancy new skincare products are popping up on your TikTok every other day, with approximately everyone saying it's the best thing ever, you'd be forgiven for getting too excited. 

Because there are so many different products to try! So many different strengths! So many silly TikTok hacks! 

The truth is, however, you've also only got so many... layers of skin.

Watch: 7 ways to improve your skin while sleeping. Post continues below.

Video via Mamamia.

In fact, in a recent episode of You Beauty, we talked all about it. 

You see, GP and beauty expert Dr Prasanthi Purusothaman (who goes by Dr Prasanthi) came on the show and said people annihilating their skin with too many different serums is something she sees in her clinic all the time. (Hi, hello, this is me).

And there's one specific skincare rule she wishes people knew when it comes to using serums with active ingredients (aka your retinol, vitamin C, AHAs, BHAs, etc.).

Want to listen to the whole show? Get in your ears here. Post continues below. 

As Dr Prasanthi shared, "I deal with a lot of hyperpigmentation. But I've also grown up with a lot of sensitive skin, allergies and eczema, and from time to time, if I push myself a little too far with the skincare, that side of my skin will come out."

Instead, Dr Prasanthi said the one rule she sticks by is the 'low and slow' approach with active skincare ingredients, opting for lower percentages over higher percentages and combining any powerful ingredients with gentle ingredients to add a 'cushion' to any spiciness.

"I've just learned that I really need to respect my skin barrier. First and foremost, rather than overloading it all the time, if you approach things slow and steady, you tend to reap better results with the skin."


Meaning? Consistency is better than potency.

"Sometimes good skincare is a little bit boring. It's not complicated. It really is about basic principles and that can be surprising for some people. I have this ethos around having a 'slow and steady' approach with the skin. Rather than trying to run a sprint, it really is a marathon."

"If you approach things with this mentality, you tend to reap better results with the skin. "I think we live in obviously a very consumerist culture. We're constantly bombarded on social media with products," she shared. 

Her advice? "Stick to the basic principles, and don't get caught up in all the new stuff all the time."

If you're looking for products that pack a serious punch without upsetting your all-important skin barrier, Dr Prasanthi shared some of the MVPs of her own skincare routine — including some affordable goodies that you can snag at the chemist. We love to see it!

"I will use a retinoid, generally I can tolerate prescription retinoids," she shared. "I'm also using an ingredient called azelaic acid. It's not super sexy. You can get it at the chemist — Finacea or Azclear — and it comes in percentages of 15 to 20 per cent and that's essentially the best thing that you can use next to this prescription." 


"One to two nights a week I exfoliate. I love chemical exfoliants, so I like to mix it up. One of the products I use is Fresh Beauty Lotus Youth Preserve Dream Serum, $98. The thing I like about this one is that it's got glycolic and citric acid, but it's also balanced with botanicals and hydrating ingredients. You wake up and your skin feels glowy which is one of the satisfying things about using an exfoliant. My other favourite is The Ordinary Lactic Acid, $13.50."

When it comes to the all-important question of when and how often you should exfoliate in your routine, Dr Prasanthi reminded us that you don't need to overdo it — work it into your routine once or twice a week, max. 

"I love that there is a lot of evidence around exfoliation which means that we know that it's benefiting the skin in terms of wrinkles and hyperpigmentation and acne and can be used on so many different skin types," she said. 

"Some of these ingredients help to boost the skin barrier function like ceramide production and natural moisturising factors. I think it's doing something that's going to visibly improve the appearance of the skin, but also giving back to the skin with prolonged use."

Now, let's say it together: 'Slow and steady'.

Are you a fan of acids? Share your thoughts with us in the comment section below.

Feature image: Canva

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