Please, be gentle with your skin

I know it may sound silly, but among my pet causes (which include reducing carbon emissions, recycling, forgoing plastic, helping young people, educating people about depression and much more) is the seemingly superficial desire to educate people about the need for gentleness when it comes to the skin. More accurately, I often dream of starting social media campaigns to bring to light the dangers of using harsh products on the skin, especially retinoids.

Seriously. I'd call it Down with Retinoids or something because there's really no cute rhyme or way to phrase it that would make it cuter and more attractive. Simple is better, anyway, right?

Again, I know it may sound silly to many of you, and downright sacrilegious to others (certainly the pharmaceutical industry). But the truth is, I believe these chemicals are extremely dangerous for our skin.

No, I don't believe. I know. Because I've lived it. I used retinoids for nearly 20 years, at the urging of my doctors. And it messed up my skin as bad, or worse, than the acne did.

I can see the damage it did, the scarring, the sun spots. None of my friends who are my age have skin that looks like mine. They are still smooth, light, beautiful. My skin looks at least 10 years older than my actual age.

Those products didn't heal my acne. Not even a little bit. And the price I have paid for the hope that they would was not worth it.

I would hate it if even one more woman had to face this fate. There's no reason for it.

I'm not saying don't try these harsh products if you feel that your heart is leaning in that direction. But if they don't work after a few months, STOP and try something else. And for heaven's sake, do not use these products for long periods of time. Give your skin a break!

Please, all of you, especially those of you who still have the gift of youthful skin - don't throw it away by lathering your skin with acids and other harsh chemicals. You may think you're helping it, but fast-forward 20 years. Think about your skincare choices in the long term.

Because believe me, your skin will remember everything you do to it. And it will reflect everything you do to it.

Let it reflect patience. Let it reflect love. Let it reflect the beautiful, healthy soul that you are.