My Go-to Products for Dry, Irritated, Winter Skin

Monday, November 18, 2013

Listen up, dry and sensitive skin types--this one's for you!

If you've read even two of my blog posts, you'll know that I normally have extremely oily acne-prone skin that wouldn't react to a product unless I threw battery acid onto my face. But about two months ago, my skin completely freaked out on me, and my skin type was thrown into the exact opposite of what I was accustomed to. I had incredibly dry, flaky and peeling patches of skin on my face, red, irritated rashes on my neck and around my nose--and on top of all that I still had all my acne. My skin is much better now, but every now and then it reverts to that miserable state.

Gorgeous, right? And don't be fooled by the sports bra--it was just laundry day =) 

All misery aside, I've always secretly wanted to have dry skin (grass is always greener), so I enjoyed my bout with flaky patches more than most people should. I had a lot of fun experimenting with dry skin products I normally can't go near, and came away with a few discoveries that I'm incorporating into my regular skin routine. 


1. Cetaphil Daily Facial Cleanser: I featured this in my October Favorites post, but this is my go-to cleanser whenever my skin is irritated and needs to be calmed down. You might be wondering why I'm not using a more creamy, hydrating cleanser (see the next product on this list), but this is my facial wash when my skin is more irritated than dry. Sometimes a good moisturizer is enough to hydrate my dry patches, in which case I want a cleanser like this that soothes but still cuts through oil and makes me feel clean. It's such an affordable and readily available product, and it goes a reasonable way towards soothing inflamed skin--I'll always have this baby in my bathroom cabinet. 


2. REN No 1 Purity Cleansing Balm: I've never really gotten along with cleansing balms, but when my skin is flaky and peeling, this type of product is essential for cleaning my face. Normally way too uncomfortably oily for me to use, this tub is perfect for when my skin is unreasonably dry. Just cleansing my face with this ultra-rich balm really restores my parched skin to a comfortable level of moisture. This one soothes my inflamed skin a bit as well, but its primary function is hydrating, which is why I sometimes use the Cetaphil instead. Plus, I find that when I use this regularly (morning and night), my skin can be a bit too oily and overwhelmed, so I typically use this one in the evening and the Cetaphil in the morning. These days, my skin is much better, but I've come to like the luxuriousness of this balm, so I'll use it a few times a week to remove my makeup (which it's amazing at) and make sure my skin has enough moisture. Or, if my skin is feeling a bit more dry, I'll use it nightly to remove my makeup and follow it with the Cetaphil to cut through the richness. Oily skin types, this is one you should stay away from!


3. Avene Soothing Moisture Mask: Like there could be a post on products for dry and irritated skin without featuring Avene or La Roche-Posay! Last time my skin had a similar freak out, I jumped to LRP Toleriane, and it's still a lovely product for soothing and hydrating. This time around, I thought I'd try Avene and picked up my first moisture mask--all the ease of slapping on a moisturizer, but with even deeper and richer hydration. The cool thing about this product is that it goes on white, so you can actually see your skin absorbing the mask. I tend to do a first application like a regular moisturizer, and then once that's sunk in, I do a second, thicker application on top like a mask--no rubbing it in, really, just letting it sit on the skin. By the time I'm ready to hit the sheets, it's mostly all absorbed, but my face is throughly, thoroughly hydrated without feeling heavy or overwhelmed on the surface. It's just such a comfortable finish and texture that I've become a bit addicted to this little tube, and plan on taking it with me on flights coming up as it's so deeply nourishing but easy to apply. My one quibble is that you go through quite a bit of product each time you use it (the instructions even say to "apply a thick" layer) but it's reasonably priced at $26, and I will definitely be repurchasing when I run out. 


4. Murad Ultra-Dynamic Ultimate Moisture: I probably didn't need another moisturizer given how much the Avene mask does, but I justified it by reminding myself that I didn't have a nighttime winter moisturizer yet, and the Avene is really a mask and not to be used every night. My excuses aside, this tub really does have its own place on my skincare shelf as it's even more hydrating than the Avene. This doesn't have the same ultra-comfortable finish, as you can feel the richness on your skin, but it really delivers serious hydration. The texture itself isn't too thick or dense, and though you only need a small dab to do the job, incredibly dry skin types can use a bit more--though I can't imagine it would be necessary. Honestly, I can't imagine skin so dry that this moisturizer wouldn't do the job for you. 


5. Nuxe Clarifying Cream Mask: I know, I know, a clay-based mask in a post on curing dry, irritated skin? Like I mentioned earlier, my skin still breaks out when my skin turns dry and angry, so I need something to reduce my acne that won't further irritate or dry out my skin--which is where this baby comes in. I've already devoted a whole post to this mask, but it's most notable for reducing the size of my massive spots without dehydrating my skin or further irritating it. When my skin is in the midst of a freakout, I never use this all over my face like I normally would. Instead, I use this as a spot treatment or on a specific congested area or cluster of acne. After rinsing it off, the area doesn't feel tight or exacerbated, but I'm always sure to follow with the Murad or the Avene to keep my skin thoroughly hydrated. 

My skin is mostly back to its oily self these days, but every now and then I have a flare-up of dryness and irritation. Luckily, I have these products to keep everything in check!

I still don't know why my skin is acting up, but I'll keep digging and keep you posted.

Happy Monday!

Have a fantastic week!

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