The Ins and Outs of Dry Skin
As someone living with dry skin for most of my life, I’ve done a lot of research on how to get it to be healthy. Through trial and error, I've found what works and what doesn't and built a solid routine. I am not an expert by any means though and this information is just based on my personal experience. So feel free to leave it or try it out and see if it works for you! Here are some issues I’ve had with dry skin and solutions to them that I’ve found.
The biggest issue with dry skin is the rough, scaly feeling your skin can take on when it’s not properly moisturized. I had this for years and thought that exfoliating beads and washcloths were needed to slough off the gross feeling of my skin. My skin would feel amazing afterward, but using the washcloth to scrub would exacerbate the dryness of my skin in the long run. It would be a constant cycle of fresh feeling skin and then intense dry, flaky skin.The solution: Turns out, my skin didn’t need physical exfoliation (physical exfoliation is simply using small particles to scrub away dead skin), it needed to be moisturized. Once I realized that my skin was dehydrated, not dirty, I began to read up on moisturizing. I saw that due to physical exfoliation and lack of moisturizing, the moisture barrier of my facial skin had been depleted over the years. So by trial and error, I found daytime and nighttime moisturizers that rebuilt the moisture barrier. This post gives a great overview of what the moisture barrier is and how to fix it.My go-tos: Olay Complete Lotion All Day Moisturizer with SPF 15 for Normal Skin for a.m. and Cerave Skin Renewing Night Cream for p.m. I put Vaseline over my nighttime moisturizer for two weeks as an occlusive agent (barrier to prevent moisture escaping). I still do this when my skin has a dry day.
By not moisturizing and scrubbing away the moisture barrier, my skin became very damaged and dull looking. Once you rebuild the moisture barrier on your face, your skin may still be looking lackluster. That's because you have a layer of dead skin cells that you haven't been getting rid of through exfoliation. It's a good thing that you left your skin alone for a bit, but now it's ok to remove the dead skin.The solution: Chemical exfoliation. Physical exfoliation is the most widely known exfoliation method, but I believe it’s too harsh for dry skin. Again, remember that this is just my personal experience. Chemical exfoliation or acids help to penetrate the bonds dead skin cells have with healthy, living skin cells and break them through chemical reactions. This is a much gentler way to scrub off dead skin and will leave you glowing.My go-tos: Alpha Skin Care Refreshing Face Wash with AHA. It's affordable and it works really well. Don't start this until after rebuilding your moisture barrier for a couple weeks. When you do start it, begin using it once a week and then you can increase slowly to every other day. I like to use it at night after my face wash.
I found that once I began putting Vaseline on my skin at night, acne became an issue. Dry skin can often be finicky about the balance of moisture it wants; too little and it flakes, but too much and you have a breakout.The solution: When you are rebuilding your moisture barrier for two weeks, you may have to suffer through some acne. I believe if you can wait this period out, it will give you healthy skin in the long run. To reduce the amount of acne, I would make sure to wash my face with cleanser in the morning and wipe it down with micellar water.My go-tos: Cerave Hydrating Facial Cleanser morning and night and Garnier SkinActive Micellar Cleansing Water in the morning.