Wednesday, September 16, 2015

My skincare routine for dry, sensitive skin

Today I wanted to share my skincare routine for my very dry, sensitive skin. The main focus of my blog is makeup, but quality skincare leads to your makeup looking its best. A little bit about my skin: I am in my mid 20's, have very dry, sensitive skin and I struggle with both intermittent eczema and acne. I avoid products that are heavily fragranced, contain lots of alcohols, and contain mint and similar herbs, all of which irritate my skin.  Through trial and error over years, I have figured out a routine that works for me - I hope this is helpful if you have similar skin to mine!

My personal skincare philosophy is very simple: (1) maximize moisture, (2) use gentle formulas, and (3) be consistent. Let's get started!

Morning routine
  1. Burt's Bees Radiance Facial Cleanser - this is a light lotion like cleanser that contains hydrating ingredients like safflower oil, jojoba butter, jojoba oil, and glycerin. It is lightly scented but smells fresh. I massage cleanser into my skin gently and remove with lukewarm water to make sure my skin isn't inflamed or red after cleansing. I have used this consistently since 2009 and it always leaves my skin feeling clean but not stripped. 
  2. Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion + - this thin lotion is hydrating but not so emollient that it disturbs makeup. DDML+ has ingredients that help with retaining moisture like mineral oil, glycerin, petroleum, and lanolin. I haven't found anything that works as well under foundation and I have used it for years.
  3. Paula's Choice Barely There Sheer Matte Tint SPF 30 - is a tinted broad spectrum sunscreen with a natural satin finish that works well with makeup. I am a big advocate of using SPF every day (even if my foundation has SPF) to make sure my skin is protected. I have purchased this twice. 
  4. Blistex Deep Renewal Lip Balm - I'm not tied to this particular lip balm, but I use a lip balm every morning as a lip conditioner and primer. I prefer the Fresh Sugar Advanced Lip Therapy, but the Blistex is way way cheaper.

Evening Routine
  1. Pond's Cold Cream Cleanser - I use this every night to remove my makeup. The mineral oil and beeswax formula sinks into the skin as it warms up and breaks down makeup perfectly. I also massage the cold cream into my lash line and on my eyelids to break down my eye makeup. It has a distinctive grandma scent and leaves a little bit of residue on the skin. I have repurchased about 15 times. 
  2. Thayer's Alcohol Free Rose Petal Witch Hazel Toner - Toner is an absolutely optional step, but I use this on cotton rounds to make sure the Pond's residue and any residual makeup is gone. It feels soothing and lightly moisturizing, plus the rose petal scent feels luxe. I have used this for about a year. 
  3.  Adapalene Cream 1% (generic Differin)- This is a prescription topical retinoid cream that exfoliates and helps with inflammation. I have used this for a little more than five years and it has helped my skin texture and evenness immensely. To my knowledge, this is not available in the US without a prescription, so ask your dermatologist or regular doctor if you are interested in topical retinoids. 
  4. CeraVe Moisturizing Cream (in the tub) - The CeraVe cream isn't a particularly elegant formulation, but it offers hydration in spades - glycerin, ceramides, and hyaluronic acid. This cream is rich and thick and usually takes a little bit of extra time to blend into the skin. I use multiple layers of this every night and have repurchased about six times. I have only found the 19oz tub (pictured) at Costco, but most retailers sell a 12 or 16 ounce version. 
  5. Jack Black Lip Balm - My essential nourishing night lip balm. I adore all of the flavors (except for the mint) and this always leaves my lips feeling soft and healthy. I have purchased at least 20 over the years. 
Masks & Treatments
I use a mask a few times a week to boost hydration and help my skin feel nourished.

I love Korean sheet masks (the Etude House A to Z ones are pictured, the H Hyaluronic Acid one is my favorite) and the First Aid Beauty Instant Oatmeal mask. I choose a sheet mask when I want my skin to feel plump, smooth, and hydrated, and I choose the oatmeal mask when I am dealing with redness or itchiness from eczema.

On days when my skin needs an extra hydration boost, I use the Clinique Moisture Surge Overnight Mask and/or Aquaphor as a sleeping pack / top coat. When my skin is at its driest, I will use the Clinique Moisture Surge mask patted over the CeraVe cream and then pat a thin layer of Aquaphor over everything to lock in moisture. Aquaphor is a multi purpose balm that contains petroleum jelly, glycerin, and lanolin that acts as an occlusive.

I also love lip scrubs and use them a few times a week - my favorite is the Fresh Sugar Lip Polish. If you don't want to shell out for a lip scrub, you can go DIY and mix raw honey with a little olive oil.

Body Routine
  1. Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream (20oz Costco size pictured) - This cream is rich, hydrating, and blends into the skin easily. I choose the CeraVe for my face because the Cetaphil leaves a more shiny, greasy finish, but I love it as a hand cream and body butter. I have used it for about 3 years.
  2. Shea Moisture Baby Eczema Therapy - This is my favorite body butter and has the texture of actual butter. The formula could use some refining (the raw shea butter can feel chunky until the product warms up on the skin), but the ingredient list rocks - shea butter, cocoa seed butter, mango seed butter, jojoba oil, coconut oil, and tons of other heavy hitting moisturizers. This is an absolute must for me in the winter when dealing with eczema and I have purchased about 30 of them. 
  3. Aquaphor - I am a die hard Aquaphor nut and use it all over my body on dry patches. I have used Aquaphor for more than a decade and love it so much that my backups have backups. 
Skincare is personal, but I hope that sharing my routine is helpful to you if you have similar skin. I have used most of these products for years and keep repurchasing because they work for me. Have you tried any of these products? Let me know what you think and if you have any recommendations for me!

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