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Post in Dry Skin

Does anyone have a great skin regimen for VERY dry, sensitive and flakey skin?

I have super dry skin & by the end of the day it gets pretty flakey around my mouth and eyes. I’ve been looking into the inkey list & the ordinary, but wasn’t sure if they had great stuff for really dry sensitive skin. Does anyone have any recommendations for any brands?

Re: Does anyone have a great skin regimen for VERY dry, sensitive and flakey skin?

(Thanks for the tag @itsfi!) 

@kellis123  What specific products do you currently use on your face? Even if it’s just a cleanser and moisturizer, which ones do you use? 

My approach to skincare is very ingredient driven, not brand driven. 
My skin’s not as dry as yours; I have mostly-dry combo skin. (My oily zone is just on and around my nose.) But my dry zones, especially my undereyes and cheeks, will get flaky scaly dry if I slack on hydration and moisturization. 
Here are my ingredients-to-products suggestions: 
1. Humectants 
These attract moisture from the air (and from any liquid hydration you put on your face) to your skin and hold it there for hours. 
There are plenty to choose from, and this is not a complete list: 
  • Hyaluronic acid (HA) - my skin’s favorite humectant 
  • PCA and Sodium PCA 
  • Panthenol 
  • Peptides - protein building blocks and hydrators 
  • Urea 
  • Aloe vera 
  • Honey 
  • Trehalose 
  • Glycerin - found in many skincare products these days 
Products I routinely use that have a high humectant content: 
  • The Ordinary "Buffet" 1 oz/ 30 mLBuffet - contains 2 forms of HA, urea, PCA, sodium PCA, glycerin, and several peptides, plus several amino acids. I use this a few times a week. I especially love to mist my face after applying Buffet. I also like to use it directly before sheet masks, so it can draw moisture from the mask serums into my skin. 
  • Farmacy Very Cherry Bright 15% Clean Vitamin C Serum with Acerola Cherry - contains 4 forms of HA and glycerin, plus vitamin C and other antioxidants. I use it each morning. This is one of my favorite multitasking skincare products: I get my daily dose of vitamin C plus all-day hydration from it. 
  • e.l.f. Hydrating Water Essence - contains HA, urea, glycerin, sodium PCA, and trehalose. It’s a hydration powerhouse that also contains a good amount of niacinamide. I use this essence as my morning toner. 
You could also consider serums specifically marketed as hydrating, like The INKEY List Hyaluronic Acid Hydrating Serum, First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair® Hydrating Serum, and The Ordinary Marine Hyaluronics
2. Skin replenishers
These help keep your skin’s surface strong and healthy so it can retain moisture. Lots of things could go on this list but I’ll just name a few: 
  • Ceramides 
  • Omega fatty acids - found in chondrus crispus and other kinds of algae, linseed oil, soybean oil, sunflower oil, linoleic acid (rosehip and argan oils are good sources of this) 
  • Humectants 
There are so many products I could list here, like the e.l.f. Hydrating Water Essence I mentioned earlier, which also contains algae. Also consider Paula’s Choice Omega+ Complex Serum (loaded with ceramides and omega fatty acids, plus HA and trehalose) and The Ordinary 100% Organic Cold-Pressed Rose Hip Seed Oil
3. Hydrating mists
These are a good way to keep your face damp throughout your skincare routine. I like to spray one on my face immediately before applying moisturizer; this gives my moisturizer some extra hydration to seal in. My skin loves: 
4. Occlusive moisturizers 
These seal hydration into skin and help prevent moisture loss. They can also protect irritated or damaged skin.  
Some occlusive ingredients to look for (incomplete list): 
  • Petrolatum 
  • Mineral oil 
  • Squalane 
  • Shea butter 
  • Cocoa butter 
  • Mango butter 
  • Sunflower oil 
  • Soybean oil 
  • Beeswax and other waxes 
My daily moisturizer, Youth To The People Superfood Air-Whip Moisturizer with Hyaluronic Acid, contains lots of sunflower oil. It also contains 2 forms of HA, aloe, panthenol, and glycerin, plus some great antioxidants. 
In the depths of Chicago winter, that moisturizer needs a boost. That’s when I layer it over or under a facial oil. My favorite is Herbivore Emerald CBD + Adaptogens Deep Moisture Glow Oil which contains squalane plus more sunflower oil, and helps ease my inflammation issues (surface redness). That’s something you may want to try any time of year, if a cream moisturizer doesn’t cut it for your skin: layer an occlusive facial oil over the cream moisturizer. You could try The INKEY List Squalane Oil, The Ordinary 100% Plant-Derived Squalane, various Biossance products like Biossance 100% Sugarcane Squalane Oil 3.4 oz/ 100 mL, e.l.f. Nourishing Facial Oil, Youth To The People Superberry Hydrate + Glow Oil, or various others. 
Other cream moisturizers to consider include COSRX Balancium B5 D-Panthenol Cream (panthenol, sunflower oil, glycerin, 4 forms of HA) and Paula’s Choice Omega+ Complex Moisturizer (shea butter, ceramides, amino acids, linoleic acid, squalane, PCA, sodium PCA, HA, and lots of other good stuff). 
5. My typical routine 
Here are the basic steps I usually follow each morning: 
And here's my usual night routine: 
 I hope you find products and a routine that work for you! 

Re: Does anyone have a great skin regimen for VERY dry, sensitive and flakey skin?

@WinglessOne I'm bookmarking this so that I can review it in more detail later, when I have more time.  Right off the bat, though, I noticed the PC Omega+.  I'm looking for something to make my under eye area look more supple.  I've just started my search.  Do you think something from the Omega+ line might help?  I was thinking about the serum or eye cream.  I was also just thinking about being lazy and trying The INKEY List Collagen Booster Firming Peptide Serum.  The price is right, and I figured it's worth a shot.

Re: Does anyone have a great skin regimen for VERY dry, sensitive and flakey skin?

@greeneyedgirl107  I had a sample of the Omega+ moisturizer and my skin liked it, especially in cooler weather. It did make my face soft and supple, thanks to all the ceramides and fatty acids, plus shea butter as an occlusive. I tried it during a trip to Florida and again when I was home in Chicago. In warm weather, that moisturizer was too much for my oily zone, but my dry zones loved it. In colder weather, my whole face was happy. It reminded me a lot of Drunk Elephant Lala Retro, which I used to use in the winter. I'd choose the PC Omega+ moisturizer over Lala these days. 


I wondered how similar the moisturizer and eye cream are, since I don't use "eye creams" anymore. (I just use my full face moisturizer under my eyes, and then top my undereyes with a facial oil if more moisturization is needed.) So I did this super fun comparison. 😄 


Yellow = common ingredientsYellow = common ingredients

I see PC sells a 0.17 oz travel size of the Omega+ serum for $8, and at quick glance its ingredients seem similar to the moisturizer's, though formulated a bit differently. They both contain shea butter, while the eye cream contains avocado oil. I wonder how much thinner the serum's texture is than the moisturizer's... I might order a travel size serum myself. 🙂 


Meanwhile: hey, at The Inkey List's price point, you might as well give it a shot! I wish all the peptides and hyaluronic acid were much higher on the ingredients list, though. I'm suppose reformulating it would result in a higher retail price, but still. If you do try it, let me know what you think! 

Re: Does anyone have a great skin regimen for VERY dry, sensitive and flakey skin?

@WinglessOne Thanks so much for weighing in about the PC Omega+.  I didn't know how rich the formula was.  I own Drunk Elephant Lala Retro™ Whipped Moisturizer with Ceramides and use that at night on my eye area.  Like you, I don't use "eye creams" per se.  I hadn't looked closely into the Omega+ serum, so I didn't know that there was a travel size.  That might sway me.  And THANKS for the ingredient comparison.  Soooo helpful!


If I try The INKEY List Collagen Booster Firming Peptide Serum, I will tag you with my impressions.  And if you have any faves for peptides/collagen products that you think I might like for my under eye area, I'm all ears.


I appreciate all your input, as always!


Sparkles graphic | Heart graphics, Heart gif, Glitter graphics

RE: Re: Does anyone have a great skin regimen for VERY dry, sensitive and flakey skin?

This is awesome! Thank you so much. These were both great responses - I’ll look into all the products and hopefully will figure out what’s best.. Prior to this, I was using just Clinique items / their extra sensitive stuff + their intense moisturizer. After a few months it stopped working & I’d always end up flakey mid day and so dry, it got uncomfortable. I also have eczema and so it’s been a journey figuring out my skin routine. I just started using the inkey list products + the Dr. Jart moisturizer. So far, so good.

Re: RE: Re: Does anyone have a great skin regimen for VERY dry, sensitive and flakey skin?

@kellis123  I'm glad The Inkey List and Dr. Jart are working for you so far!


Have you recently seen a dermatologist about your eczema (either in person or via video appointment, if you have a derm that does them)? If not, and you're able to see a derm, I highly recommend talking with them about your previous Clinique products not working for you and asking for some pro suggestions. 🙂 You could also talk with an esthetician, though they're not supposed to diagnose skin conditions (they lack the medical training for that). 


Clinique tends to include lots of drying alcohol in their products, including some of their moisturizers. Their moisturizer in the green jar... crud, now I forget what that line's called... Redness Solutions? It's their skincare product line for redness and irritation. Anyway, I looked up that moisturizer's ingredients last month to help a friend out, and if I recall correctly, it doesn't contain any drying alcohols. It does contain salicylic acid though. Some folks are sensitive to BHA, even in small amounts, and especially when applied daily. So if that's the moisturizer you were using, it's possible daily use of BHA made your skin cranky. 

Re: Does anyone have a great skin regimen for VERY dry, sensitive and flakey skin?

Hi @kellis123, I have dehydrated-dry skin in the winter months. Your current skin concerns sound very similar to what I experienced a couple of years ago (and what started me on my love of skincare).


Skincare products are unique in that everyone's skin responds differently to different products, etc., so there will be some trial and error, and it's always best to start off slow, introducing one product at a time and continuing to use it to see how your skin reacts, unless it irritates your skin. Should you have a negative reaction to a product, this approach will help narrow down the culprit (or identify if there's a combination of products that don't work for you). 


Here are some products that you might be of interest to you. I'll try to include products from The Ordinary or The Inkey List, if I've used them; and I'll try to include a couple of recommendations at different price points.


Evening routine

1. Cleanser - I double cleanse, even when I may only have worn sunblock, starting off with an oil based cleanser and then a water cleanser or cleansing milk. 


First Cleanse: The INKEY List Oat Cleansing Balm, Tatcha Pure One Step Camellia Oil Cleanser 5.1 oz/ 150 mLor REN Clean Skincare Perfect Canvas Clean Jelly Oil Cleanser are all wonderful choices for a first cleanser. The Inkey List contains oats which is great for sensitive skin. Another option is CLINIQUE Take The Day Off Cleansing Balm 3.8 oz/ 125 mL


Second Cleanse: I've been enjoying SEPHORA COLLECTION Clean Skin Gel - Cleanse + Tone or belif Aqua Bomb Jelly Cleanser; they're not drying for me, but if you need or prefer something that is creamier and more moisturizing, you might consider Kate Somerville Goat Milk Moisturizing Cleanser or KORRES Greek Yoghurt Foaming Cream Cleanser 5.07 oz/ 150 mL.


2. Exfoliate: I've found that exfoliating a couple of times per week helps with the sloughing away the flakes. If your skin is sensitive, start very slow with this step. Once per week is fine and you can gradually work up to two times per week, if you want and if your skin tolerates it, with a few days in between usage. First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Pads 60 Pads work wonderfully on sensitive skin. Other good ones include SEPHORA COLLECTION Glow Peel Pads 60 Pads and Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Alpha Beta® Ultra Gentle Daily Peel for Sensitive Skin Limited Edition 30 .... My recollection is that there are mini sizes of each of these, though Sephora only carries the DDG ones and its own branded ones.


3. Serum: Hyaluronic acid (not an "acid" in the sense of a glycolic or salicylic acid) has been fabulous for my skin. It's a humectant which helps the skin retain moisture. It's usually the serum I apply immediately before my moisturizer. The Inkey List and The Ordinary both carry a hyaluronic acid serum. The INKEY List Hyaluronic Acid Hydrating Serumhas a thinner consistency. The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 1 oz/ 30 mL has a more tacky texture to it, which will go away once you apply your moisturizer over it. Other hydrating serums include Drunk Elephant B-Hydra™ Intensive Hydration Serum, which has a gel like texture and Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Hyaluronic Marine Hydration Booster. If your skin doesn't tolerate hyaluronic acid, you might want to try The Ordinary Marine Hyaluronics - it's a hydrating serum that does not contain hyaluronic acid. The consistency is very watery; the lightest and runniest of all the ones I've mentioned.


4. Moisturizer: Lots of goodies to choose from here. I have, but have yet to try, moisturizers from The Inkey List or The Ordinary. Moisturizers that I rotate through (and have purchased over and over again) include belif The True Cream Moisturizing Bomb 1.68 oz/ 50 mL (this has a gel-cream consistency; they also make an "aqua" bomb but this moisturizing one is better for dry skin); Drunk Elephant Lala Retro™ Whipped Moisturizer with Ceramides (lovely rich, but not heavy whipped texture); Kate Somerville Goat Milk Moisturizing Cream 1.7 oz/ 50 mL or if your skin is very, very dry, Dr. Jart+ Ceramidin™ Cream 1.69 oz/ 50 mL is excellent. The Inkey List, I believe, has a ceramide-based night cream in its collection. Ceramides are wonderful for dry skin.


5. Oil: I often like to include an oil in my evening routine and have incorporated it a number of ways - before my moisturizer, after my moisturizer or mixing in a drop or two with my moisturizer and then applying to skin. Whichever way works best for your skin is what I'd recommend. I love, love, love The Ordinary 100% Organic Cold-Pressed Rose Hip Seed Oil - I've repurchased this more times than I can count and have gifted it to friends who have dry skin and they've loved it as well.


Morning routine

Skincare routines can be as simple and streamlined or as complex and multi-stepped as you'd like (or actually, as your skin likes). 😉 I don't typically wash my face in the morning with a cleanser, opting instead to either use warm water and a wash cloth to remove any residue from my evening skincare routine. If I do want to cleanse my skin (but don't want to dry it out), I'll reach for either a cleansing oil or any one of the products I use for my second cleanse. My morning routine is usually a simple one and at a minimum consists of the following steps:


1. Hydrating Serum


2. Moisturizer (or moisturizer + oil)


3. Sunblock - this is a must in general, but especially important if you are using actives in your routine, like a chemical exfoliant or vitamin C, because they make skin more sensitive to the sun. I apply sunblock every day not just the days I use actives. For dry skin Biossance Squalane + Zinc Sheer Mineral Sunscreen SPF 30 PA +++ 1.7 oz/ 50 mL is a wonderful SPF. The squalane will add hydration to the skin. My preference is for physical/mineral sunscreens, but if you prefer a chemical sunscreen Supergoop! Unseen Sunscreen SPF 40 1.7 oz/ 50 mL is fabulous! Both work well as primers if I'm wearing makeup.


I typically use the same serum and moisturizer from my evening routine in my morning one. Of the ones I mentioned, the Kate Somerville and the belif moisturizers are lighter ones, if you prefer something lighter in the mornings.


Sorry if this is information overload.  This is a lot of information to digest all at once. Go slow; ease into a routine - it's trial and error to find a skincare routine you love; see how your skin responds to products; what it likes/what it doesn't.


Here's a thread that might be of interest to you - you can see other variations of people's routine; oftentimes, people will include their skin type and skin concerns.


I'm also going to tag a few BIC lovelies to see if they might be able to provide additional guidance. @WinglessOne is super knowledgeable and has used several different products from The Inkey List (and maybe The Ordinary too?). I've learned a lot about various products from The Ordinary from @keana1

RE: Re: Does anyone have a great skin regimen for VERY dry, sensitive and flakey skin?

Wow! Thank you so much for all of this information. It was SO helpful. I’ll look into all of these 😊
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  • Yellow = common ingredients