April 18, 2012

Skin S.O.S routine

So right after I told you about my skincare routine and how it was working for me, everything just fell apart. Suddenly, my whole face looked and felt like the desert: it was dry, dehydrated with lines that weren't there before, and any makeup I would put on it just looked flat matte and so so dry.

I'm not too sure if I have identified all the culprits, but there are two that I can definitely point out: hard tap water and products containing alcohol (yes, I'm looking at you, Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua).
I didn't know what to do and asked for advice to my good friend Une Fille Lambda who is the resident skincare specialist in our friends group, and I followed all of her recommendations, which were:

- ban all tap water from my face cleansing routine, and use only Bioderma Micellar Water morning and night, followed by Avene Spring Thermal Water. If you don't know why Avene Water is so much more than water in a spray bottle, you can go and read the guest post I wrote on that topic over at Modesty Brown. This is really a must have in all difficult skin situations.

- stop using any active ingredients (retinol, glycolic acid etc...) and use only basic, bland moisturizer. The one I used was actually a gift from Lambda that I hadn't tried yet, it's Ünt Derma Oasis, which is a clear, frangrance-free gel meant to restore the skin barrier on very dehydrated skin.
- rule out any makeup product containing alcohol, and replace foundation by a tinted moisturizer. I started with Clinique Moisture Surge then switched to Nars Radiant Tinted Moisturizer when things started improving.

I followed this religiously for about 10 days, and it did help a lot. However, on some areas of my cheeks, particularly the right one, I just couldn't restore the skin barrier completely. I felt like there was some kind of dead layer I needed to get rid of to find good skin underneath, but of course, there was no easy or safe way to do that. On top of that, those same areas were red and sensitive, very irritated and prone to little red zits.
I did exfoliate slightly just once (you never want to over exfoliate sensitive skin) and started using my LRP Cicaplast Balm B5 on those areas - yes, the one that had saved my hands from dermatitis not so long ago. I applied it morning and night and after only 5 days, it had completely restored my skin.

The result, after 3 weeks:

my naked mug
Ok, I know, I look awfully tired, wich I am, but it's a completely different story. If you don't look at my dark circles and my usual redness/discoloration around my nose and mouth, my skin is clear and looking good.
I actually have kept on wearing tinted moisturizer, as I feel it's all I need right now - I wore Nars Sheer Glow last week-end and in comparison, it made me feel like I had a ton of makeup on!

I still feel a little bit of a tendency for my cheeks to get dry, so I'll need to keep on exfoliating gently once a week. I am probably going to start using a glycolic toner because I have a tendency to get clogged pores in the areas that I moisturize heavily - it ain't easy being dry/dehydrated AND prone to whiteheads and clogged pores. This should be gently exfoliating and keeping the pores clean.
Other than that, I am not sure yet how I'm going to re-introduce active ingredients in my routine, but I'll probably add them one at a time for a couple of weeks before adding another active. 
The Ünt Derma Oasis is probably going to stay as a staple in my routine: it's just perfect under makeup and can be used as a mask at night time if you apply a thicker layer.

Do you have special Skin SOS tricks?


  1. Weleda Skinfood works miracles when my skin reacts strange. Also good for dry patches, the lips or a sore nose. I use Bioderma too.

    Good luck with your skin!

    1. How funny, I just CP'd that a couple of weeks ago for a friend abroad, but have never tried it myself!

  2. Great post!! Interesting when the skin just freaks out after being so happy with a current routine.

    For me the culprit seems to be Retin-A with too much wind exposure. The remedies that seem to soothe that red angry dried up skin seems to be Bioderma water, no more Retin-A (hello, zits!), and a nightly application of Nuxe Frais Hydrant Masque. I leave it on overnight in a thick layer and it feels cooling and very soothing.

    1. I think the daily use of retinol serum probably didn't help either :(

  3. Oh no! I hate it when that happens. I had a little bought of nastiness last week--bad combo of dry skin and pimples brought on my hormones and the fact that the weather in LA has been alternating between freezing and scalding. This is a really helpful post-- I'm going to stick to my BB cream for face and moisturizer...

    1. Interestingly, moisturizing the hell out of your skin is often the answer :)

  4. I go barefaced for quite a while. It sucks and it's soooo not pretty, but my skin clears up. I'm starting a new skin routine now and it's been good and bad. I'm still breaking out, but I think that's my face freeing all the zits it's been holding in because of the benzoyl peroxide product I was using previously. That's finally starting to clear up and my moisturizer seems to be helping, too. Hopefully the products I'm using now will be better in the long term! Fingers crossed!

    1. That might be what we call "purging", so indeed it's all the dirt clogging your pores that is released because of a new effective routine. It shouldn't last more than 7-10 days, though, and only appear in places that were already congested.
      Fingers crossed you've find your HG routine!!


I love getting comments, thanks for sharing your thoughts!