A brutally cold New England winter can cause many seasonal problems for any skin type. I have very dry skin, which only gets more dry and extra sensitive this time of year. 2015's end of October/early November saw my breakouts worsen and multiply. I spent a lot of time researching, asking questions and adding knowledge to my basic skincare knowledge that I gathered from Cosmetology school to create a fool-proof routine for my skin.
Sensitive skin and breakouts
To treat my dry and sensitive skin, I've always needed a gentle exfoliating product that will slough off dry flakes without causing too much irritation. Until recently, that go-to product was my St. Ives Pink Lemon & Mandarin Orange scrub
. At one point, my skin became so loaded with breakouts that I went from using this scrub twice a week to full-time. This was the first time I'd ever really "struggled" with acne, just under my jawline being the problem area with painfully deep breakouts. There was seemingly no explanation for the start of this acne, so I continued using the high powered
St. Ives scrub, spot treated, stopped resting my head in my hands and constantly cleaned my cell phone's screen. None of my efforts helped, so I spent days racking my brain and researching to find a solution.
I thought, in order to understand my breakouts I need to understand the basics of acne and what can cause it. I read numerous articles and blog posts about people struggling with hormonal, stress-related and medication side effect-caused acne. Nothing ground-breaking here. It was then I researched salicylic acid, a very common anti-acne ingredient. Salicylic acid is also one of the key components of Aspirin. This explains why some people crush up the pills and apply it as a spot-treatment! In excess (we're talking high concentrations, people!), salicylic acid can cause chemical burns. This got me thinking. Back in June I tried to cut out
the amount of salicylic acid I used in my skincare routine because I had read somewhere it wasn't great for sensitive skin. If this chemical, in high amounts, can cause burn it very well could cause irritation, especially when used in multiple products several times a day, every day.
It's all in the layering
Around the same time I decided to completely eliminate salicylic acid from my routine, I read an interesting article about layering skincare products properly. In Cosmetology school I learned that the "proper" layering order was; cleanse, pat dry, tone, moisturize, oils, eye creams, serums and spot treatments. So, that is how I had been applying my products! After reading that article (followed by a little more research and reading) I changed that order. I learned that lighter oils should be applied before heavier moisturizers and if you're going to apply sunscreen, apply it just after toning your face! Another important step I added to my product layering method was washing my hands. Kiki and I were talking one day about our routines and she let me in on something she does. She washes her hands between almost every step! Dedication!! I thought I'd give it a try, maybe not after every product, but at least before touching my hands to my face. My new layering method is as follows; cleanse, step out of shower, pat dry. Apply toner and get dressed. WASH HANDS and dry with a fresh paper towel. Apply facial oils, heavy cream moisturizer, eye creams (if any..) and lastly, lip balm.
At the start of my new skincare routine I had several breakouts. I believe this was my skin's adjustment period. After week two, my face felt less stressed, the skin was not so tight anymore and the dry patches were limited to around my eyebrows and nose. My skin is much more under control than it was before having this routine-overhaul. Of course, I still have a few random breakouts here and there, but who doesn't!!? I think I'll keep salicylic acid out of my routine for now, it seems to be doing more harm for me than good!
Labels: beautyweek, makeup, skincare