What is Plling on the Skin?

While our skin is unique to each individual’s conditions and needs and requires different treatments, there’s one thing that can connect all of us when it comes to skincare: skin piling. Those tiny white pieces of residue from skincare products appear once you have already applied your product to the intended area. This can be the last occurrence you want to experience, especially while performing a skincare routine after a long day. Thankfully, this is a common occurrence that many of us not only encounter but is easy to identify and resolve.

What is “Skin Piling”?

When a skincare product doesn’t work as intended, skin piling may occur. Unlike it sounds, this is when tiny particles build up on the surface of the skin, transferring back onto the fingers and resulting in a less-than-desirable appearance. This typically means that the product has not been well-formulated or properly neutralized when interacting with the skin. When product users hear about “skin piling” it can be misleading since the term doesn’t apply to the skin but the product itself.

This can happen to anyone when using skincare products, such as serums and moisturizers, especially those who are more prone to dry skin conditions. Since this is an experience that may happen to anyone during any regimen, what causes it, and what can be done to prevent it from happening on more than one occasion?

What causes pilling on the skin?

While common and easily identifiable, there are many ways that skin piling can occur. A major reason for this is if the skin hasn’t been exfoliated often enough. The build-up of dead skin cells on the surface can make it difficult for products to soak deep beneath the skin’s surface. This can especially be true when using rich, creamy products for those with oilier skin.

If a skincare product’s texture is too thick, it may potentially be unsuitable for a particular individual’s skin type. You should always apply your skincare products from thinnest to thickest texture, allowing your skin the time and endurance to soak in the products appropriately. Excessive usage of a certain product and the layering of too many products and ingredients, when interacting with other textures that may not be compatible with one another, can also be a contributing factors.

One of the most common ingredients that result in skin piling is silicone, dimethicone in particular. Dimethicone is a popular form of silicone that is utilized in numerous products to give the skin a silky, smooth feeling when applied. Aside from the feeling one experiences when using the product, users reap several benefits such as reducing oily skin, creating an extra barrier against skin irritants, and sealing in essential moisture to lessen the appearance of lines and wrinkles.

Highly recommended by dermatologists and medical professionals, especially for users who are prone to acne breakouts, caution should be used when using silicone-heavy products. Using too much of a product may not result in full absorption and effectiveness of the beneficial ingredients.

When researching ingredients, natural polymers found in the skin and in numerous products can result in skin piling. These are often ingredients that end in “-icone,” “-conol,” and “-xane.” These substances tend to be composed of larger molecules and work to form a film on the skin, creating a longer-lasting effect when using skincare products.

Aside from silicone-based skincare moisturizers and foundations and polymers, talc can also cause skin piling. Acting as an absorbent in skincare products, the thickness of this natural mineral should not be excessively applied and in some users, may also cause skin rashes and irritation. If any negative side effects occur when using any products, you should stop applying them to the skin immediately.

treatments for pilling skin?

As easy as skincare piling can be to witness, it is also a simple fix and doesn’t take much away from your routine. Less is always more and more of a product can always be applied if deemed necessary. When layering products from thinnest to thickest, it’s helpful to take a pause in between your products. This gives the skin essential time to fully absorb the ingredients before applying the next and or final product onto the skin in your routine.

Incorporating AHAs (alpha-hydroxy acids) into your routine may also be beneficial in preventing skin piling from occurring. Water-soluable acids derived from plants and fruits, AHAs act as chemical exfoliants (there comes that exfoliating again), increasing cell turnover and preventing the build-up of dead skin cells.

When searching for AHAs in skincare products, you’re going to want to look for glycolic acid, lactic acid, and mandelic acid to reap the full benefits AHAs have to offer. Mandelic and lactic acids are less effective than glycolic acid products but are often recommended for those with more sensitive skin.

Conclusion : what does pilling mean in skincare

When skin piling occurs, don’t fret. Skin piling doesn’t mean that you have to make a drastic change to your skincare routine. It often requires you to be more aware of the product textures and ingredients you are using on your skin, which is always something to be thinking about so you are getting the intended results. Patience is also necessary when it comes to skincare and you should never rush your routine. Allow your skin time to properly absorb the nourishing products you are gifting to it and you should never have to endure those tiny particles in the future.