People usually associate an oily face with acne, and oils that clog pores are certainly capable of contributing to this condition, but what about dry skin and how is it contributing to unfavorable skin conditions? Dry skin is an indication of unbalanced, damaged skin that can also turn into irritated, acne-prone skin. So let's examine why and what we can do to help our skin achieve a healthy balance. Putting a medication on top of the skin to help solve your problem is often needed, but remember, it's like a bandaid. You have to go to the source of the cause if you actually want to fix the problem. Plus, as we age, most of us tend to become drier and lose our elasticity making a good skin care routine essential.
Here are some things that can contribute to dry skin:
- Using products with drying agents
- Benzoyl peroxide, retinoids and acne medications, such as accutane.
- Living in drier climates / aka the elements
The outer layer of your skin protects your skin so when it becomes dry and/or dehydrated (two separate issues we will address separately in our next post) the skin is compromised and exposed to free radicals and irritants making it more vulnerable to acne conditions. When it becomes dry / dehydrated over time the skin becomes sensitized and when this happens, you're opening yourself up to a world of irritation and skin damage. I always say that it's always easier to prevent than it is to correct, so why not be proactive?
What to do:
In order to keep your skin from becoming dry/ dehydrated and avoid it becoming sensitized, you need to choose a product that's WATER based, not oil based. Humectants will hydrate your thirsty skin, and occlusive agents, such as oils will work to seal in the moisture you create with your humectants. So what are humectants and how do I do this? The answers is easier than you think.
Humectants are water loving agents that add moisture to your skin. Some of my favorite humectants are Hyaluronic acid, which your body normally creates and loses over time, and aloe for its healing and anti-inflammatory benefits. A cheap and very effective hydrating humectant agent is also glycerin, which can be purchased just about anywhere! The best time to apply this first step is when your skin is clean and moist from the shower. Instead of wiping your face squeaky clean with a towel, pat it dry and allow your humectant agent to feed off the moisture. A hydrating toner (in a spray bottle) can also be a lovey source of added hydration and additional benefits. Once your product is dry on your face, you may choose to use another moisturizer that contains other like-minded ingredients for added hydration. There are a myriad of wonderful face creams, but just know that thicker formulations doesn't mean it's hydrating/ working better (we will elaborate more on this in the next post, too).
So where do the oils come in? It is true, not all oils are created alike. If you choose an oil that is 0-1 on the comedogenic scale you will be less likely to have it clog pores and generate any sort of unwanted outcome. In fact, some oils have extra benefits, such as antioxidants and anti-aging properties that help protect the skin from harmful free radicals. In addition to feeling luxurious on, facial oils are occlusive agents which means they will help seal in the moisture, but if worn alone they are not moisturizers. If this seams confusing it's because it kind of is. We always see "moisturizer" advertised on oil labels, which is true, depending on how you're using the product. If your skin is perfectly balanced you can use an oil to keep the skin moist and subtle. But if your skin is dry, the oil alone will not moisturizer your skin.
If you have breakouts, you can apply a spot treatment after you apply your moisturizing agent, then apply your makeup on top. During the day, the most important thing to remember is to protect your skin. Make sure one of your finishing products contains broad spectrum SPF. At night, your skin / body's job is to heal itself, so this is when you apply products that "work" for you, such as a retinol.
Summary to help balance your dry skin: First, apply a humectant, then apply a non-comedogenic facial oil.
1) Choose a water loving humectant, such as hyaluronic acid serum and apply when first out of shower, follow with hydrating toner, if desired
2) Apply additional moisturizer for added benefits
3) Apply facial oil if desired to help lock in moisture and for added benefits
4) Apply spot treatment under makeup if AM
5) Apply night treatment, such as retinol in PM
6) BONUS TIP: You may mix hyaluronic acid in with your night cream if your skin becomes too dry, or apply your night treatment(s) every other night to avoid over-drying your skin
A good skin care routine helps skin rebalance and rejuvenate, and it doesn't have to be complicated. You don't need a ten step program or even to use the same line of products-- it's more important to know why you're using the products you're using to achieve the results you're after! Once you understand how simple steps with consistency can lead to balanced, happy skin, you'll never go back. After all, the skin is like us, strong and sensitive and should be respected as such.
Please drop me a note below if you have any questions!