By Megan Kirkwood
Just when you thought the simple act of washing your face each morning was the most straightforward part of your skincare routine, things got complicated. Sonic facial brushes! Oil cleansers! Double cleansing! Say, what?
The truth is, the skin on your face is delicate and needs to be treated with the utmost care to maintain its optimal health. To get the complexion you crave (soft, even, glowing skin), it’s important that the ingredients and methods you use are gentle enough on your skin around the clock and not just labelled for the skin type you believe you have.
But don’t worry: There are some easy fixes. For instance, a quick solution to parched, red skin could be as simple as switching to a thermal water product. See how easy this is?
Read on for more solutions that will help you put your best face forward this winter and beyond.
“Regardless of which cleanser I use, I end up with red patches or burning.”
If you’re having issues with highly reactive skin, see a dermatologist, who will be able to properly diagnose symptoms of rosacea or atopic dermatitis (also known as eczema). Next, consider that you may be having an allergic reaction to your current cleanser.
“Allergic contact dermatitis means that you’ve developed an allergy to a product, and irritant contact dermatitis means that it could just be irritating to your skin,” says Toronto-based dermatologist Dr. Lisa Kellett. “It’s not an allergy, but it’s too strong.”
Formulas that are considered too strong for reactive and sensitive skin are ones that are designed to exfoliate (with ingredients such as natural fruit acids or glycolic or salicylic acids) or contain too many artificial ingredients (such as fragrances or preservatives) that you may not be able to tolerate over an extended period of time. Instead, look for a gel-based, non-foaming cleanser to avoid sulphates and emulsifiers that can be irritating to your skin.
Winter further complicates skin issues because it comes with a decrease in humidity, which can make your face even drier. “All skin types can suffer from dehydration,” says Pascale Mora, scientific communications director for Vichy International in Paris. If you’re feeling assailed by winter’s dry down, switch up your cleanser as another means to strengthen your skin.
“It’s important to avoid hard water and washing products and instead use thermal water, micellar lotions or milky formulas, depending on your skin’s condition,” says Mora. “Using a thermal water can help you not only avoid hard water but also fight dehydration.”
Additionally, because thermal water contains minerals such as potassium, magnesium and calcium, it can help create a buffer against environmental aggressors and prevent overall water loss and redness.
“My skin is changing so much as I get older, and I don’t know what to use anymore.”
As your skin ages, it naturally becomes thinner and more sensitive to products in general, especially as you increase your use of abrasive anti-aging ingredients, such as retinol, in your regular routine. “All biological functions decrease as we age, including the skin’s barrier function and lipid synthesis,” says Mora. “Sinc e all the aggressors remain the same, you need to make sure that you aren’t drying your skin out even more.” Look for formulas that will boost cellular regeneration with active ingredients while nourishing your skin with a rich texture. If you start developing symptoms of irritation after washing, such as tightness or redness, consider cleansing at night to remove your makeup and simply splashing with water in the morning to let your skin have a breather.
“My skin is oil-prone, and I feel greasy around the clock.”
“Skin typing is very deceiving because your skin isn’t static,” says Dr. Kellett. “It will be a bit flaky at certain times of the year and oily at other times.” For this reason, instead of thinking of yourself as being “dry” or “oily,” consider how your skin feels on a regular basis and treat it accordingly. Don’t always use the same formulas and expect to see positive results.
At times when you’re producing more sebum – like, say, when you’re hitting the gym more or during your menstrual cycle – your best bet is to use an exfoliating cleanser with ingredients such as lactic or salicylic acid to keep breakouts and other skin congestion at bay. If the oiliness and hand-in-hand breakouts never seem to let up, consult a dermatologist to see what other physiological factors could be at play.
“I never feel like I’m getting all my makeup off, and it’s leaving me with clogged pores.”
Going to sleep with an occlusive barrier on your skin, such as makeup residue, can certainly cause breakouts, says Dr. Kellett. One way to make sure that you get everything off before bed is to double cleanse: First, remove makeup with an oil cleanser to break down makeup and draw dirt and oil away from your pores. Then, cleanse skin with a gel or foam.
From Best Health Magazine