January 15, 2014

A Year-Round Routine For Dry Skin

In my previous post about how to identify sensitive skin, I mentioned that only 10% of the entire world's population truly has dry skin. The rest who experience dryness actually have dehydrated skin.

Truly dry skin lacks oil and has less natural ability to keep water within the skin. The skin uses oil to lubricate itself and to keep water from escaping. Because pores expand to accommodate a larger oil flow, the indicator of truly dry skin is very small pores. Dry skin is typically thin, delicate, and can sometimes become slightly congested due to a lack of momentum of oil. In this case, not enough oil is produced to push out of the pores, which can result in some oil becoming stuck and solidifying by mixing with dead skin cells. However, with truly dry skin this is actually not very common.

Dehydrated skin may produce enough oil for parts of or the whole face, but the skin can lose the water it needs due to a lack of humidity or proper exfoliation, the use of rubbing alcohol, cleansers that are harsh and irritating, or sun exposure, and consumption of cigarettes and alcohol. Since this can also happen just as easily to oily skin (especially from the use of harsh products) the skin can often have oiliness on top of tightness or flakiness. An indication of truly dry skin is that it doesn't experience oiliness.

If you do actually have skin that doesn't produce enough oil, this is the skincare routine for you:

Cleanser 
1. Wash your face with a lotion cleanser that is thorough, rinses well, and feels comfortable. You should not feel tight or dry after your rinse, but you also shouldn't feel like it takes forever to rinse completely. 
Toner 
2. Use an alcohol-free toner that sprays on. Leave it wet on the skin and do not blot.
Specialty Product 
3. Immediately apply an antioxidant lotion, firming serum, or moisture-boosting serum on top of the wet toner. These products will help to hydrate, sooth, and nourish the skin, and are great for anti-aging. If you'd like to use more than one product, one pump of each lotion or serum can be mixed in your hand before applying to your skin.  
4.  If your skin is especially dry, you can use a lipid replacement serum that will help restore the skin's natural moisture balance and help to repair the skin's integrity that has been compromised by dryness. Apply this serum after moisturizer every morning and night, as well as before makeup. For flaky or tight skin, this serum can also allow for a smoother makeup application (similar to a primer). 
Sunscreen & Moisturizer
5. In the morning: Apply a sunscreen that hydrates and replaces lipids within your skin. It's not necessary to use an SPF higher than 30, but make sure that you do not use any number below 15. In the evening: Apply a hydrating moisturizer that also replaces lipids and helps to add water back into the skin.