Sunday, July 1, 2012

Skin Care: Morning, Noon and Night II

About a year ago in early August I wrote a post about the way I care for my skin. My what a difference a year makes. I look back at that post and chuckle at how simplistic my skin care was: they say hindsight is 20/20, but it seems so clear now why certain things weren’t working.

There are a few things to explain for you to understand why my routine has changed so drastically. I’ve suffered from sensitive skin and eczema since I was a very small child. After visiting the dermatologist for much of my life I’d developed a routine that worked well, but not good enough. I was using prescription salves, Cetaphil and a few basic things to remove my makeup. A few ill fated experiences trying new things as a teenager turned me off to exploring new skin care, and though I knew my routine wasn’t stellar I was too nervous to experiment.

Cue my time living in France a few years ago and you’ll begin to notice a steady change. I discovered the French pharmacie then, and have grown gradually more fascinated with skincare upon every return trip. This past summer (when I wrote my original skincare post) marked a real threshold in the way I view my skin and the products I treat it with. During my trip to Paris this past autumn I really allowed myself to indulge in massive quantities of skincare, and began reading extensively about these products and why they do what they do. In the process I’ve learned quite a bit … not only about skincare in general, but also about my own skin type. What do I know now thanks to forays in the pharmacie française?

1. My skin isn’t dry, it’s dehydrated.
2. My skin isn’t sensitive to all products, but the skin on my face does not respond well to heavily fragranced skin care.
3. Prescription eczema creams have been doing me more harm than good.

Now that I understand these things skincare seems that much more clear. I present to you my slightly more high maintenance, but so much more effective skin care routine.

6:00 AM through early morning …

When I first wake up I run a cotton round covered in Bioderma all over my face to remove any residual lotion or sebum that may be left on my face from the previous evening. Some things never change, and much like I described in my previous post I always make time to moisturize prior to applying makeup. Lip balm is a must, followed by a facial moisturizer or cream. During the winter I tend to apply a day cream or lotion, but at this time of year I either apply Laura Mercier’s moisturizing primers or La Roche Posay Cicaplast which gives my skin a bit of a recovery boost if I find I have too many dry patches. Both make magnificent makeup bases.

12:00 PM and throughout the day …

I find reapplication of lip balm and hand lotion to be a constant must throughout the year. If I’m wearing a lipstick I favor NUXE Rêve de Miel balm as it provides a matte texture without compromising moisture and I otherwise use By Terry’s Baume de Rose or anything else that may be floating around in my purse at the moment. Hand creams change constantly, but Soap and Glory’s Hand Food has been a current favorite. If I have some free time I may also apply a cuticle cream.

10:30 PM ...

In the evenings I cleanse my face thoroughly and bring out the big guns skincare-wise. I tend to remove eye makeup either with Klorane’s makeup remover of Bioderma. I still use Cetaphil to remove the rest of my makeup and to cleanse, but I now pair it with a Clarisonic Mia. I find that the Clarisonic not only helps take off all of my makeup, but also to eliminate dry patches. I’ve been using the Clarisonic for a few months and I find that it’s contributed to my skin feeling a bit more plump and moisturized on a day-to-day basis. At the moment I’m testing various eye creams and serums, but I apply these once my makeup has been removed. I also generously apply body cream: Cetaphil still provides me with the most intense moisture, but I also enjoy L’Occitane’s Amande Firming lotion and The Body Shop’s Body Butters (Brazil Nut is a favorite).

It’s almost funny to read what I previously wrote, in the same way that reading a diary from your own past is mildly embarrassing but also provides personal insight. When I think that I didn’t deviate from this routine out of the fear of using too much it seems logical now that I wasn’t approaching my skin from a personalized perspective, but rather from the prospective that I needed these things because other people were using them with success. Though buzz about a skincare product certainly draws my attention, it certainly doesn’t mean that it will work for me.

Of course the above items are supplemented with others when I find that it’s necessary (I've amassed a vast collection of products to choose from), but on a day-to-day basis this is how I keep my skin moisturized and under control. Believe it or not I’ve had fewer break outs of eczema since I stopped using prescription creams. I certainly don’t mean to say that this will work for all who suffer from eczema, but it’s nice to see that I don’t need to be as dependant on increasingly higher medicated products.

Has your skincare routine ever undergone a drastic and successful change?