While in the midst of my skin care routine yesterday, I was thinking about my dry skin and how cold and rainy it has been in Los Angeles. Also, I am in my 40’s and the texture definitely has changed over the years.
Then I started thinking about my client’s dry skin and the conversations we have about it. In my office we definitely discuss dietary changes like water intake and essential fatty acids but the one thing I always hear is how much moisturizer they are applying every day and still their skin is dry. If you haven’t been in a consult with me, then you are likely also unaware of this one common mistake you are making, thinking it is helping your dry skin but it isn’t.
Skin cells rise to the surface of the skin and slowly die while bound in an intercellular cement that keeps them intact. When we are young, the process of dissolving it and sloughing off the dead skin cells is fast and efficient but as we age, cell turnover slows down and a denser ‘glue’ with tougher layers of dead cells remain piled up on the surface creating a dry, rough skin. But then we do that ONE THING that makes everything worse. We add moisturizers and lotions day after day without a proper deep cleanse, hoping to remedy it but what we are doing is applying moisturizers and serums to skin that is layered in a buildup of waste.
The Biggest Mistake You Make Every Day Is Not Thoroughly Cleansing & Exfoliating Before Applying Your Crème.
Thankfully it’s a simple mistake to fix. While loading up on heavy moisturizers seems to be the answer always keep in mind when applying them (this goes for your body too which needs exfoliating if dry) that a crème cannot break through that dead weight to get anywhere near the superficial layers of your skin to nourish it and give you the results you are looking for. Rushing through your evening regimen and never taking the time to exfoliate is a waste of time and product.
And while there is a tad bit of truth to skin being too sensitive to exfoliate, what is more true is knowing what exfoliant your skin can handle. For example, compressing the skin every morning and evening is sometimes all the exfoliant a very inflamed and fragile skin can handle until it builds its strength (acne, eczema, rosacea and sensitized skin are all examples of fragile skin).
How does compressing exfoliate? For starters, when you are holding that warm cloth over your face (yes hold it, breathe, hold, breathe and then gently wipe away) it is loosening up the intracellular glue and debris we talked about. So, the first compress loosens it a bit and then the second removes some and by the third and fourth you’ve removed most of your debris without using any product at all. Then, when you do go in with a cleanser you need way less of it and that means less risk of irritation and better chance that all of it gets rinsed off (yes, you think it’s gone but you wouldn’t believe how easily product lingers on your skin to add to that buildup).
If your skin is stronger and can handle an actual exfoliant I recommend first compressing, then cleansing and 2-3 times a week, exfoliating with Rum & Roses, Sweet Clean or even white or red wine diluted slightly with a little rosewater. The natural alcohol and sugars from wine and rum will do the job without stripping and irritating the skin. I recommend only exfoliating in the evening.
If your skin is dry but strong and without any inflammation follow this same routine but try Conquer or your favorite textured manual exfoliant.
Removing this build-up stimulates the regeneration of new cells and improves how your skin feels, its appearance and texture. This is the quality of environment to apply a moisturizer. Believe me, you will notice the difference.
As for microneedling, peels and microdermabrasion, I think these are best experienced 1-2 times a year and spending top dollar with an highly skilled dermatologist. Doing them more often may give you immediate results but in the long term, they will break down, not strengthen your skin’s barrier and you will be right back where you started. If you have fragile skin, these treatments are not for you.
NOTE: Take your time to cleanse and exfoliate. RINSE with warm water at least 5-10 times to soothe inflammation and hydrates you topically. It will also ensure your skin has no product residue on the surface. Don’t underestimate your rinsing process. Do not us a towel on dry skin. Press that water in and apply your crème when skin is moist. Now you’ll feel the difference.