As mentioned in my previous post, I’m very grateful to have figured out some skin sensitivities (aloe and beeswax) and have moved forward with eradicating any offending products and adhering to a pretty simple skincare routine, which so far has worked well at keeping my skin looking good!
In the past, I have definitely been guilty of switching from product to product or trying new things that I thought would help… sometimes multiple things at once. I think that if you have sensitive skin or eczema, this actually works against you, as it makes it very difficult to figure out anything topical that could be causing or aggravating the problem. For example, I was cycling between two moisturizers with sunscreen – one had aloe, and one did not. The aloe seemed to have a delayed reaction (I wouldn’t break out right away when I applied it) so for a while, I honestly thought the OTHER moisturizer was the problem and stopped using it. In hindsight, this was a bad idea since my skin did not like the aloe!
Here is my current routine, using only a few products:
Remove any makeup with Grapeseed Oil (I really don’t wear much makeup currently, only mascara and a tiny bit of eyeliner smudged on the lower lashes just to darken them up, so this goes fast).
1. Wash face with Paula’s Choice Resist Hydrating Cleanser.
(Ingredients: Water, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride (emollient thickener), Decyl Glucoside (cleansing agent), Glycerin (skin-identical ingredient), PEG-20 Methyl Glucose Sesquistearate (cleansing agent/emulsifier), PPG-20 Methyl Glucose Ether, Methyl Gluceth-20 (skin-conditioning agents),Glyceryl Stearate, Stearyl Alcohol (thickeners), Polyacrylamide (binding agent), Camellia Oleifera (Green Tea) Leaf Extract (antioxidant), Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract (soothing agent), Sapindus Mukurossi (Soapberry) Peel Extract (foaming agent), Methyl Glucose Sesquistearate (cleansing agent), C13-14 Isoparaffin (thickener), Laureth-7 (emulsifier), Xanthan Gum (thickener), Disodium EDTA (chelating agent), Citric Acid (pH adjuster), Caprylyl Glycol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Hexylene Glycol, Phenoxyethanol (preservatives).
COMMENTS: Okay, I know this seems like a lot of ingredients. But, I do like how Paula (of Paula’s Choice) always breaks down exactly what the ingredients are for, and this works well at making my skin feel nice and clean without feeling OVERLY scrubbed or too tight and dry. I thought, at one point, about switching to Cetaphil, but here is an article that made me think differently. Plus I try to avoid SLS and parabens in my skincare whenever possible anyway.
2. Oatmeal scrub. I have a plastic container of ground oats (kind of a powder) in the bathroom. You can make oat ‘powder’ too by putting oats in a food processor. You CAN use quick oats just by themselves, but that makes more of a mess and tends to clog the bathroom drain!
I measure out about 1/8 cup of oat powder, mix this with about 1/4 cup of warm water, let it sit for a bit, and then gently rub the oat powder over my face, then rinse. I can’t say enough about using oatmeal for sensitive skin – it is one of the cheapest and BEST remedies I’ve found. This very gently exfoliates while leaving my skin feeling very soft and moisturized. You can also use the oat powder in the bathtub to help with body eczema or sensitive skin.
3. After rinsing off the oatmeal, I gently pat my face dry with a soft towel, but not COMPLETELY dry – leaving the skin still damp so that my next step, Grapeseed Oil, will help ‘seal’ in some of that moisture. I use Aura Cacia brand of Grapeseed Oil as it’s very pure and minimally processed. This is what it notes on the bottle:
Light, absorbent grapeseed oil is extracted from the seeds of wine grapes and contains an excellent balance of skin-supporting compounds, including oleic, linoleic, palmitic and stearic fatty acids. Grapeseed oil restores balance and firmness to combination and oily skin.
I’ve tried other kinds of oils from olive oil to sweet almond, to jojoba and coconut, but this one is my favorite. Grapeseed oil has no smell and a nice, light texture. I consider myself to have somewhat of combination skin, and it does NOT make me break out. If anything, it helps with breakouts, as putting the grapeseed oil on a few acne bumps made them completely clear up in a few days.
4. Because it is fall/winter in the Midwest, my skin needs more hydration than just grapeseed oil and needs one more step to ‘seal’ in moisture. Vanicream is a very basic moisturizer that was first recommended to me by a dermatologist about a year ago, and was recommended again at my last visit last week.
Ingredients: Water (Purified), White Petrolatum, Cetearyl Alcohol, Ceteareth 20, Sorbitol Solution, Propylene Glycol, Simethicone, Glyceryl Monostearate, Polyethylene Glycol Monostearate, Sorbic Acid (A Preservative), BHT
Even though Petrolatum is one of the first ingredients, this does a great job of moisturizing without clogging my pores (It promises to be non-comedogenic on the package). They do make a Vanicream Light (same ingredients, just a different mix of them so that it is not as heavy of a cream) and might be something I’ll switch to in the summer when my skin is less dry.
There are just two other things in my night time routine. One, if my lips are feeling dry, I put a light coat of Vaseline on them before going to bed. I used to use Aquaphor, but then figured why not use Vaseline as it has just one ingredient (whereas Aquaphor has a few ingredients, namely lanolin, which people can be sensitive to). Two, in the colder months, I sleep with a humidifier right by my bed. I think that this helps to keep my skin moist among all the dry winter air and then the dry heat inside.
My day routine upon waking up is pretty similar to my nighttime routine. I only use the oatmeal scrub to refresh my face in the morning – no need to actually wash my face again, since I went to bed with a clean face. I hold credence to the idea that people with sensitive skin shouldn’t over-wash, as this strips the natural oils out of the skin.
Then I do the pat dry and Grapeseed Oil again, and my daytime moisturizer is also from Vanicream, but contains different ingredients and sunscreen. You can’t find this in stores (at least I can’t), so I get this from drugstore.com. I would definitely recommend checking out the other products from this company (Psico.com) if you have sensitive skin. They have other things like shave cream, hairspray, bath oil, etc. that are pretty much as safe as possible for sensitive skin.
Active Ingredients: Zinc Oxide (8%), Octinoxate (7.5%)
Inactive Ingredients: Water (Purified), Cyclomethicone, Glycerin, Tridecyl Neopentanoate, Cyclopentasiloxane, Cetyl/PEG/PPG 10/1 Dimethicone, Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Polyethylene, Cyclomethicone, Dimethicone, PEG 30 Dipolyhydroxystearate, Vitamin E, Magnesium Chloride Hexahydrate, Triethoxycaprylylsilane
COMMENTS: I do think that SPF 35 is a bit overkill for a daily moisturizer, especially as I’m inside most of the day in these months. However, the company does not make a sunscreen, with, say SPF 15, which is what I would prefer (I’ve written to them to suggest this). Regardless, I find this to go on very smoothly, have zero odor, work great at holding in the moisture from the Grapeseed oil, and keep my face feeling moisturized all day. I WILL say that the oil plus this makes my face really shiny and ‘greasy’ looking at first, but I just put this on with adequate time to let it sink in a little before I leave the house.
I’m planning to strictly adhere to this routine for a few weeks or more before I even think of introducing any new products. And if I DO try anything new, I will try it one at a time!
What are some of your favorite or tried-and-true products in your skincare routine??