Lately my skin has been throught the ringer. I've been sick and on 3 different antibiotics for around a month. So along with that, I've been trialing some stronger retinols or "new generation" retinols at the same time. Everything had been going relatively ok, up until a week ago which is when all hell broke loose. I noticed my skin had some major sensitivity to the point that it was nearly raw in one place. I had to quit using my clarisonic, my Lotion P50 AHA and strong Vitamin C suspensions. Then after that got a little better my skin went insane. I had had a fever for a week, was taking the last of my 3rd antibiotic round so I thought made that was it. My skin on my cheeks and around my jaw and chin (not my forehead or nose though oddly enough) felt like it hadn't been washed in ages, like I had slept in 5 layers of makeup (and I hadn't been wearing any), and like it was fixing to really peel or something. It never did any flaking but it felt horrible. You couldn't see it, I had no bumps, redness, or breakouts, but it was so rough to the touch. Then when I went to wash it with my normal cleanser as soon as I was done I had to have a face mist on hand because that made it so much worse, and the skin felt so tight and uncomfortable. Which only began happened at the very end which helped me figure out that my skin was severely dry and dehydrated and not having a reaction to medicine.
Around the same time that I was starting to figure out what was going on and by process of elimination figuring out what was helping and what wasn't, I contacted the lovely Nadine Baggot who is a veteran in the skincare industry and "The Beauty Know It All", I've been a subscriber and follower of hers for quite a while and genuinely love watching her videos. She was so nice and kind and messaged me back telling me what to take out of my routine and what to put in it's place, it was a very big help and I appreciated it so much. I definitely took her advice and I think I even told her I loved her. lol. Which I do. So the day that she messaged me back my skin was starting to make progress after I went in with some drastic and INTENSE hydration products that are geared for dehydrated skin mainly. It was getting better but it wasn't back to the smooth skin I had before. So those products coupled with Nadine's advice on what to take out and what to try helped me compile an arsenal of products that turned my skin around.
So here we are today, I'm going to tell you what I found very beneficial and what helped me the most. Not just product talk but going through the routines with you as well, what I didn't use, etc.
First I took everything that was a very potent "treatment" out of my routine for a few days or week or so. Meaning strong retinols first (which was also Nadine's advice as well. Take out the ones I was using and go back to Differin or some others that she recommended), I also took out strong acids mainly because it was too much for my skin it was doing more harm than good, and I took out strong Vitamin C and went back to a lower percentage but still effective Vitamin C. The strong Vitamin C products that I was using were also too much for my skin at that moment. I concentrated on products that didn't "sting" and that didn't leave my skin feeling dry. So I took out "oxygen" masks, facials, etc because at that time they felt horrible. Literally. I also wouldn't use any drying or detoxing face masks, especially clay masks. I focused more on products that were very gentle, hydrating, nourishing, and repairing for the skin. So basically I babied my skin and was trying my best to "feed" it all good things and help heal it without stripping it or using any harsh products on it.
The biggest thing that turned it around for me was Neostrata Bionic Face Serum. I have an entire review up on it. It's normally too moisturizing for my skin. My skin is usually very normal, sometimes it's combo. So while I love the antioxidant formula, it was geared for those with a dry skin type in my opinion. So I didn't need it ALL the time. However, it is the best thing to have on hand when you do need it. I was using it morning and night and within 2 days my skin was changing for the better. It wasn't the only thing I added in though. I keep a skincare journal that is very in depth so I sat down and changed up my entire routine to be as gentle but as hydrating as possible, focusing on one problem at a time. Which I think was a big key, just sitting down and really thinking it out and going over each product and what it does and if you need it. I did that because I didn't want to give up on treatments like Vitamin C which is why I brought in the Neostrata Bionic Face Serum because it is an antioxidant serum essentially, it has Vitamins A, C, D, and E in it. I didn't want to give up exfoliation but I knew that I didn't need anything super strong because it was too much for my skin, so that's where I got very good use of the Hey Honey I Peel Good. It is AHA free so it's very gentle. You rub it in circles until it feels thin like an oil on the skin. It doesn't ball up dead skin or anything but once you take it off it, the skin is most definitely smoother and it does exfoliate only very very gently and without feeling like a scrub. It's odd the way that it works but it does work and I was extremely glad that I had samples of it on stand by. I stayed away from Retinol completely and switched back to Differin which is Adapolene. It's technically a acne treatment but it works similarly to a retinol type product. This was also Nadine's advice, to go back to Differin because it was working before hand for me and it would help with the texture.
So once I got my treatments kinda lined out, I worked on formulas of what I wanted to use. What I mean is I was using stuff that wouldn't foam up for example, I went to using just a balm cleanser and a soft face cloth instead of my normal daily cleanser and Clarisonic. That was super beneficial for making sure that my skin didn't feel tight and uncomfortable directly after cleansing. I also didn't want to use a treatment that so quickly sunk in to my skin. So think of treatments that feel and look like water because they are so thin, that was what I stayed away from during this period. Which caused me to turn to more creams, oils, balms, and thicker serums instead. Which proved very efficient and helpful.
I basically had 2 routines. It was one that was more oil heavy, and one that was more serum or cream heavy. So what I mean is: after cleansing with a balm, and maybe using the I Peel Good, I would either go in pretty heavy with oils for my antioxidants and use oil concentrates or balms more so for the main hydration with little to no serums in the mix. I would use oils like Juno from Sunday Riley which is one oil everyone needs, 24 Carrot oil from The Granola Goat because it's so rich and hydrating and a bit thicker or I might would use a concentrate or balm like Blue Cocoon from May Lindstrom, The Mahalo Balm from Mahalo Skincare, or Bless Balm from Leah Lani Skincare. I would use an oil after my final cream as my last step because accordinig to research it hydrates the skin so much more when used after cream instead of before. I didn't do that with Juno because that's not the point of Juno for me but the other ones that I was using for a hydration benefit were used like that. When I did this routine that was very oil heavy I would use Nourish moisturizer from Kate Somerville as my moisturizer to lock all the treatments and good things in so that they can do their work. It's a great daily moisturizer. I really would recommend it to anyone except maybe oily skin. It held up fantastic with an oil heavy routine. After Nourish I would then use an oil as the last step for extra hydration.
I would rotate between the two routines. The other routine that was serum heavy or cream heavy was using products in those formulas to get my antioxidants, peptides, hydration, etc. So as I said Bionic Face Serum was used (but I used it in both routines and am/pm) also the First Light Serum from Ceramiracle which is a peptide serum was used as well. I also used the Dr. Roebucks Hydrating Serum a lot because it was a thicker consistency than all of them and it does what it's supposed to. The Bionic Face Serum as I said is an antioxidant serum but I wanted to make sure I was still getting Vitamin C so I was using Dr. Dennis Gross C+ Collagen cream right before my final moisturizer. It's not a heavy cream at all so it's very easy to layer with. I did use the Sunday Riley UFO Oil in this routine because it has Salicylic Acid in it and that was helpful for smoothing and decongesting the skin. I used it in this one routine instead of the other because I didn't want to overwhelm the skin with too much oil or exfoliation for that matter but I still appreciate an oil and serum in every routine I have. Other creams that I rotated in and out for this routine was: Dr. Jart Ceramidin Cream mainly for day time use but beneficial at any time I feel, Dr. Roebucks FACE moisturizer with it's anti aging benefits and light weight feel to it, I also liked using the Darphin 8 Flower Nectar Oil Cream which smells divine but it is the definition of an "oil cream". However, it may be heavier but it's also very soothing I find to the skin when the skin is not happy. My final cream for this routine no matter what was Kate Somerville Goat Milk. I had tried this before and like the Bionic Serum it was too much for my skin and I found that it wasn't what I needed when my skin was normal or combo. However, a blessing to have when the skin was super dry and dehydrated. Now just like in the routine before when I would add an oil after the cream as the last step, in this routine I would use a Hyaluronic Acid serum after my cream. That is the only way I use HA if it is in serum form. My preferred ones are the Jordan Samuel Hydrate and the Clinique Moisture Surge Concentrate.
I feel like I'm throwing a lot of information at you so I'm going to give you examples of both routines, product wise.
Oil Heavy Routine
I Peel Good (maybe if I needed some exfoliation)
Bionic Face Serum (because of the intense hydration)
Kate Somerville Nourish
24 Carrot Facial Oil
Cream Heavy Routine
Bionic Face Serum
First Light Serum
C+ Collagen Cream
Kate Somerville Goat Milk
Clinique Moisture Surge Concentrate (HA Serum)
Of course I have face mists and eye products that I was using in those as well. They stayed the same so thus I didn't go over them. The routines above are more so the nightly routine, which is where I do most of my steps treatment wise. In the morning things are a little more toned down I guess? So example of that would be:
Bionic Face Serum
Neostrata Sheer Hydration SPF (if I was leaving the house)
Sometimes I would use my Kate Somerville Exfolikate Glow Moisturizer in place of Ceramidin or maybe I would use the Fresh Vitamin Necatar Moisture Glow. Again an eye product and face mist is used as well. So as you can see my skin was getting the most products and vitamins, etc at night. Which is because our skin works overtime at night while we're sleeping to heal itself and replenish itself. So that's why I choose for most of my products to be at night and also why I choose to layer products at night.
If you aren't a fan of layering, and that's totally cool, I would say try the Bionic Face Serum, Goat Milk Moisturizer and Ceramidin Cream to either rotate between, use two together, or just to have on standby incase you run out of one. If I had to pick one for severe dry/dehydrated skin, I would pick the Neostrata Bionic Face Serum. If you have dry skin but it's not severe then I would say Goat Milk or Ceramidin would both do a good job. Keep in mind that Goat Milk is a little more heavy and a little more hydrating between the two, in my opinion.
I hope that this was helpful in some way for you. It was a new experience for me which was why I wanted to blog about it. I know it's very long and there are a lot of products mentioned please don't feel like you need every product that I talked about. I'm just giving you some options incase you have some of the products mentioned already. Of course if you're using something that you feel is really helping your dry skin then stick with it, and feel free to recommend it in the comments so that I can try it as well possibly or other readers can see it and maybe try it.
Also quickly, thanks again to Nadine Baggot for talking to me about my skin and for giving me some very helpful advice. And yes, I do love you. lol
I'm from Tennessee. I'm a makeup and skincare lover. I have always enjoyed creating looks but I love to help people with product knowledge and application even more. I've been able to do these things because God has seen fit to bless me with the opportunity.