It sounds counterintuitive, but sometimes the very thing that we’re using to improve the condition of our skin is making it worse. Dr. Sandy Skotnicki is a Toronto-based dermatologist who specializes in the field of contact dermatitis, where inflammation is caused by an irritant or allergy that touches skin. After seeing patient after patient over the course of 20 years reacting to their skin-care products, Dr. Skotnicki decided to amplify her advice by writing a book.

Beyond Soap is an extension of Dr. Skotnicki’s product-elimination diet (where common reaction-causing ingredients are culled from a personal care routine) that examines how much our grooming habits have changed over the past 70 years or so. The book explains why conditions such as sensitive skin, a catch-all term for symptoms such as redness and itching, are on the rise, and what role skin care and our perception of hygiene plays in this. “We all want to be young and beautiful,” she says. “The problem is that beauty is not a section of medicine, it’s an industry that has got shareholders and it’s selling an idea and a product. It’s not about health, so there’s a disconnect there.”