You know how annoying it is when your favorite sweater starts pilling? Well, it's even more annoying when going through your 10 step skincare routine thinking it will give you glowing, radiant skin...only to be left with a finish that more closely resembles a pilling old sweater.
What exactly is skin pilling?
Sometimes, when you apply a product on your skin, you notice that little (but absolutely annoying) balls start to form. Sounds familiar? We thought so. This is something real and it is called skin pilling.
The term skin pilling is a bit misleading, as it’s not actually your skin that’s pilling - it’s the product you’re applying to it.
The product is not being absorbed correctly into your skin, which can happen for many reasons from the type of ingredient, the amount applied, the other products you've applied beforehand, or the layering of the products.
Pilling can also pop up when your skin hasn't been exfoliated in a while. When skin lacks exfoliation, dead skin cells build up on the surface of the skin. This makes it super difficult for products to soak in, resulting in those irritating pieces rolling back off the skin.
As skincare routines have more and more steps, pilling has become a very, very real problem.
How to prevent it?
The first step to prevent pilling from happening is exfoliating regularly- two to three times per week is ample. Keep in mind that the little balls that form are excess product, not dead skin. If you use a physical exfoliator like a scrub or face polish, be gentle but thorough. If you use a liquid exfoliator, look out for products that contain ingredients like AHAs (Alpha Hydroxy Acids). Derived from fruit sugars, these compounds are best-in-class when it comes to high quality chemical exfoliation. With the correct exfoliation, you get rid of this excess, preventing unabsorbed product accumulation. This, in turn, allows better absorption of the products you apply next.
Keep a check on poorly-absorbed ingredients like Silicone and Talc. Using them in a few products is fine, but you don't want these skin surface sinners in every product. That's just a license to pill.
You should also avoid overworking the ingredients. The more you touch your skin, the more products start pilling. It goes without saying that rubbing your face is a big NO. Instead spread the product on your face evenly and gently and then push the product into your skin using the palm of your hands.
Keep in mind that the order in which you apply the products is also important. Layering compatible products will allow you to apply your whole routine without pilling. Think: Thin to thick. Apply water-based products first and oil-based products last, Also, less is more, so go easy on the amount you're applying.
Give your skin a few moments to fully absorb each product before applying the next one. Yes, this'll add a few minutes to your routine, but who doesn't want to spend longer pampering their skin into ultra-soft sumptuousness? Alexa, play Feeling Myself by Beyoncé. Spritz your face with a toner before applying each product so that your skin is damp which will cause better absorption for the products.
So there you have it. All you ever needed to know about pilling and the best way to banish it from your beauty routine. And, if you ever end up in a skin pill panic, chill. Just stick to these expert tips and seamlessly restore your derma to its dreamiest state ever. Happy Layering!