Skin Care: My Tips and Favorite Products

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As we move into the middle of winter, you can’t help but see ads and articles regarding winter skin care or skin care products and routines.  It must be due to crazy dry skin season or a reminder to stock up and focus on self-care for New Year’s Resolutions.  Regardless, I decided to join in and talk about my skin care.

Now, I definitely don’t have the best skin on earth, but I have struggled with my skin long enough to talk about what I think works and what doesn’t.   I have my routine down now though that I do think my skin is pretty nice.  I have combination skin that is definitely sensitive to weather/seasonal changes as well as hormones.  I have oily portions of my face (nose, chin, and cheeks next to nose) and dry portions of my face (forehead, jawline, cheekbone area, under eye).  At times, usually in the summer, I have no dry skin problems but oily problems.  Other times, especially now, my skin is dry everywhere, but I still have oil in the other areas (makes no sense).  The benefit of oily skin is no wrinkles!

Here a few things over the course of my lifetime (although I’m not old, I’ve been doing skin care since I was ten!) that are good practice for individuals with ANY skin type.

1)  Wash your Face and Clean Off Your Make-Up

One bad habit I know many women have is not washing their face or removing make-up at the end of the day or before they go to bed.  This happens especially after a late night out on the town, and in this case, this is the most important as you are probably wearing more make-up than usual or may have sweat trapped under your make-up due to dancing at the club.  Take the five minutes, and WASH YOUR FACE.  If you have oily or breakout prone skin, this will only make you breakout.  If you have dry skin, you still need to get that gunk off your face and let your skin rest with your regular products and normal skin routine. Do this, and you will be thankful later.

2)  Use eye cream at night—even if you don’t have wrinkles

When I was in college, I worked at a local department store in the beauty section and always got free samples of products.  One time, I got a sample of eye cream.  I was like 18 or 19 and had recently read in a magazine article to be proactive and wear eye cream at my age to help prevent wrinkles.  I have been doing that at night ever since then, and I can attribute having a smaller amount of wrinkles (I have some) due to doing this at night.  In addition, it provides moisture and prevents puffiness.

3)  Use a moisturizer

…even if you have oily skin.  Now, at times, my moisturizer use decreases in the summer, as I think my skin produces enough oil and moisture without it, but I still use it on the areas of my face that are prone to dryness, as well as my neck.  Just like the eye cream, this is another preventative measure to keep your neck skin tight and supple.

4)  If you have ongoing skin issues that you hate, see a dermatologist.

Due to breakouts I experienced when I was younger, I started seeing a dermatologist.  I still see the dermatologist to keep my breakouts under control, but they also provide me tips, tricks, and assistance on keeping my skin nice as I get older.  If you continue to battle breakouts,  eczema, extremely dry skin, sun spots, or other skin needs, see the dermatologist if you are able.  Often times, they can provide you with a solution, product, or prescription to get those challenges under control.  I know medical insurance may be an issue, but if you are able to do it, go for it.  Although not all services, products, or prescriptions may be covered by insurance, they often go above and beyond to find you the best deal on a prescription so you can use the product that works for you.  Although sometimes I have to pay out of pocket for something, I figure I would rather spend money on a high quality product that WORKS.  I would be spending money on skincare regardless, so instead of wasting it on a bunch of products to experiment with or that do not get the result I want, I would rather put it toward using the right thing. 

5)  Less is more.

Now, this is just something that I learned that worked for MY skin.  If you are using a variety of different products and procedures, and it works for you—GREAT.  We all want great skin, and everyone is different, so you do you.  Don’t get me wrong—I use products, but everyone is always surprised that I don’t use as much as they think I do or how simple my skin care routine is.  I use face wash, exfoliate, moisturize, use some prescription products, and eye cream—and that’s it.  I don’t do facials—my skin is too sensitive.  I often find that some women go overboard with the products and routines and wonder why their skin isn’t responding.  I often think we all need to simplify!  This was the advice my dermatologist gave me, and I’ve followed it ever since.

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Below are some of my favorite skin care products that I currently use and have used in the past!

1)  Face Wash

I currently use the Philosophy One-Step Facial Cleanser.  This is one of the top selling facial cleansers in the United States, and it’s easy to see why!  I love make-up, and I often felt that many of the cleansers I used never really cleaned the make-up off my skin.  This almost feels like it melts it off, leaving the skin super clean.  Now, it can be kind of drying, so if you have dryness, this may not be the cleanser for you (at least on a daily basis.  It may be nice for those heavy make-up nights though).   You can find this at both Ulta and Sephora, and any other retailer that carries Philosophy products.  Although the price may be slightly higher than what you would pay at the drugstore, it’s still not as expensive as other brands, and you get quite a bit of product that lasts.

If the Philosophy cleanser is too harsh or drying, you may want to try the Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser.  At times, I use this when I’m experiencing super dry skin and need to cleanse my face but am not washing make-up off.  This used to be my primary cleanser, but I did switch over when I wanted to really soak my make-up off; however, I always keep this handy when needed.  It’s also great to have on hand if friends or family to use if they are staying over and forgot their cleanser.  Cetaphil is super gentle, cleanses, and is also hypo-allergenic.  This is one of the cleansers my dermatologist had recommended. You can find this at drugstores, and the price point is cheaper, considering the amount of product you get. 

2)   Exfoliate

To exfoliate and really remove my make-up, I got a Clarisonic last Christmas.  This has been by far one of the best purchases I have made.  My dermatologist recommended I look into one, and I’m so glad I did.  I have the Smart Profile Clarisonic, which tells you how long to use it on each portion of your face.  It cleans my make-up off and really deep cleans my pores.  Since I started using this, my blackheads have decreased SIGNIFICANTLY.  I will be honest, I was a little nervous using it at first, as facials often irritate my skin.  This is fairly gentle and has different settings you can use for a lighter or deeper clean.  It also depends on the brush heads that you buy for it.  I have consistently used the combination skin one.    I only use it on the areas of my face that are oily or tend to get breakouts (nose, chin, and cheeks by nose).  I do NOT use it on the dry areas of my face, as I do find that it makes it worse.  So, this is likely not for you if you have super dry skin.   I do have sensitive skin but can use it on the areas that are oily or blackhead prone.  I have not tried any other products similar to this, but the Clarisonic is the original, and I think it works great.  You will need to replace the brush heads.  Mine tells you when to replace it, but I often get a little more use out of it after that and can tell when it’s not doing the job it usually does.

3)  Moisturizer

I have used the Neutrogena Oil Free Moisture since I can remember.  For a long time, I had a difficult time finding a moisturizer that actually provided moisture and did not make me oily or break-out.  If that sounds like you, I would give this a try.  I have both the combination skin and SPF 15 versions on hand.  I use the combination skin on a daily basis but like to apply the SPF 15 one all over my face when I’m out in the sun during the summer.    I have never broken out from this, never feel oily, and the dryness immediately goes away.  It is available at drugstores at a VERY reasonable price. 

4)  Eye Cream

At night, I use Clinique All About Eyes for moisture and to keep my puffy eyes at bay.   Since using this, I never have dryness around my eyes.   I also use the Mario Badescu Ceramide Eye Gel in the morning to de-puff.  I keep it in the refrigerator for an even more “de-puffing” effect, and I love the cooling feeling.

Please comment below or on my Insta to let me know what your favorite products are or what you think of these!