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Skincare advice.

Hey everybody. I have never used this platform for any advice so please bare with me. 

Im a mom of 2 and have neglected my skin for the past 4-5 years. Stopped working retail from the beauty industry and just fell off. My skin has changed dramatically past few years and I need all the help possible. 

I have dry and dehydrated skin with fine lines and wrinkles in the making. I’m looking for some purifying masks, hydrating masks, serums, moisturizer and eye cream. I have already ordered the dose of colors skincare but I’m looking for others too. 

for the past 2 days I’ve been using retin a bit I need the moisturizer to compliment that. 

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Re: Skincare advice.

Hi @Biaina420 ! I have mostly-dry combo skin with inflammation issues and an oily zone that's dehydration-prone, and I use retinoids (one product around my eyes, and a different one on the rest of my face). Which retinoid product do you use, and how many times a week do you use it? 

 

I try to keep my skin damp throughout nearly my whole routine, from cleanser to moisturizer. I either tap or mist plain ol' water on my face between steps, or I use COSRX Centella Water Alcohol-Free Toner as a skin-calming hydrating mist. 

 

Here are the general steps and a few products in my routine: 

 

1. Hydrating cleanser - something that'll effectively clean my skin without stripping my dry zones. 

Spoiler
AM is either Paula's Choice RESIST Optimal Results Hydrating Cleanser or The INKEY List Oat Cleansing Balm . Optimal Results is a no-lather cream cleanser that's perfect for a little light morning wash. Oat Cleansing Balm is also great for this task, plus it doubles as a soothing face mask if I leave it on my face for 5-10 minutes. Both of these cleansers leave my skin feeling quite soft. 

PM is either Paula's Choice Hydralight Cleanser or CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser Bar. These are a low-lather gel and a lathering bar, respectively. They're both non-stripping for my skin, but plenty effective enough to wash the day's dirt and crud away.

If I wore physical/mineral sunscreen, tinted moisturizer, or powder foundation during the day, I double cleanse at night, starting with The Inkey list Oat Cleansing Balm. I like to rub the Oat Cleansing Balm on my damp face, then rub one of my PM cleansers over it, and finally rinse everything off. 

2. Exfoliate 1-3 times a week - I like to occasionally degunk my pores (especially in my oily zone) and remove a few dead skin cells to reveal newer skin. Which exfoliant works for you depends on your skin's sensitivity, other products in your routine (don't double-down on AHA products), and which method you prefer: chemical or physical/manual. 

Spoiler
For chemical exfoliation, I rotate through different products depending on how my skin feels. I usually use Paula's Choice 10% AHA, but when my skin's cranky or just coming out of healing mode (from a bad reaction to something, or from windburn, etc.) I like a much gentler product like SEPHORA COLLECTION Clear Skin Days by Sephora Collection Brightening Peel Pads . Other good gentle options: First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Pads (if your skin can handle citrus extracts), The INKEY List Polyhydroxy Acid (PHA) Gentle Exfoliating Toner , or perhaps a low strength lactic acid (AHA) like The Ordinary Lactic Acid 5% + HA . 

To simultaneously degunk my pores and exfoliate, I use Paula's Choice CLEAR Anti-Redness Exfoliating Solution (contains 2% BHA). Most folks prefer Paula's Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid. To "spot-treat" (more like "area-treat" for me) existing acne, I like Paula's Choice BHA 9 which contains 9% BHA—something I don't recommend to folks who are brand new to salicylic acid. 

You could also try an enzyme exfoliant or a rice powder scrub. I have no personal experience in that category yet, so I can't recommend one. But I'm going to try the Good Molecules Pineapple Exfoliating Powder in the near future, which I may or may not regret. Many folks seem to like Tatcha's rice powder exfoliant... I keep forgetting what it's called, otherwise I'd tag it. 

For physical exfoliation, I use a FOREO LUNA™ mini 2 with one of my usual cleansers. I stopped using it much for a year, but I've gone back to it as I find it helps my sinuses drain, plus it's very relaxing. 

I never combine physical and chemical exfoliation. I sometimes combine AHA and BHA, though that's honestly kinda overkill. And I never do any single or combo of these exfoliation methods more than 3 times a week. Over-exfoliation is a very bad thing. 

3. Hydrating toner or essence - this is a good way to deliver hydrating and antioxidant ingredients to my skin while it's still damp. Toner and essence are not generally a necessary skincare step (especially not the old fashioned astringent toners created to readjust skin pH after harsh cleansers; I don't use that kind of toner), but I find it helpful for my particular skin. 

Spoiler
In the AM I normally use e.l.f. Hydrating Water Essence, which is loaded with hydrators: glycerin, carrageenan, urea, trehalose, hyaluronic acid, sodium PCA, and coconut water. It also contains niacinamide. If your skin's sensitive to fragrance, note that it's the last ingredient in this product. I just started testing Good Molecules Niacinamide Brightening Toner which contains the hydrators hyaluronic acid and saccharomyces ferment filtrate, but also contains skin brighteners arbutin, licorice root, a vitamin C derivative, and of course niacinamide. (One of my main ongoing skincare goals is reducing hyperpigmentation and balancing my skin tones.) 

PM is when I use Neogen Real Ferment Micro Essence which also contains saccharomyces ferment filtrate, trehalose, hyaluronic acid, and niacinamide. There are other good ferments in this product, several amino acids, and the skin soothers green tea and allantoin. 

4. Treat specific issues/concerns - this is my serums/masks step. What I use depends on what my skin needs. 

Spoiler
I try not to use more than 2 products per routine. Here are some of the things I rotate: 

  • It's Skin Power 10 Formula Li Effector - a soothing and brightening licorice root + polyglutomic acid (a humectant) serum. 
  • The Ordinary "Buffet" 1 oz/ 30 mL - my skin's favorite dose of peptides + hyaluronic acid, both of which can boost hydration. 
  • COSRX Pure Fit Cica Serum - an anti-inflammation serum packed with 7 forms/components of centella asiatica plus panthenol, hyaluronic acid, allantoin, and pinus pinaster bark extract (a powerful antioxidant and sunscreen efficacy booster). 
  • Sheet masks (and occasional wash-off masks) - far more than I could possibly list here. I have waaay too many sheet masks. I can list a few of my favorite hydrating masks later, if you'd like. Meanwhile, you might enjoy scrolling through the Mask of the Week thread: https://community.sephora.com/t5/Skincare-Aware/Mask-of-the-Week-Challenge/m-p/5433327#M184689
Sometimes I use facial oils as emollient serums or a pre-moisturizer step. My favorites are e.l.f. Nourishing Facial Oil, Herbivore Emerald CBD + Adaptogens Deep Moisture Glow Oil , and Flora + Bast Age Adapting CBD Serum . 

5. Moisturize like my life depends on it - I look for moisturizers that contain good occlusive ingredients that'll truly seal in hydration and prevent moisture loss. Those are things like petrolatum (the most occlusive ingredient), shea butter, squalane, sunflower oil, safflower oil, argan oil, dimethicone (tends to perform better for folks with oily skin), marula oil, etc. Note that not all plant oils are occlusive. Oh, and I never apply moisturizer to dried-down skin. I make sure my skin's damp before I apply a moisturizer to give it some hydration to seal in. 

Spoiler
I very recently had to switch moisturizers (my former favorite was reformulated in a way that makes it unusable for me), so I've been testing a few. My skin loves Aveeno Eczema Therapy Daily Moisturizing Cream and Aveeno Baby Daily Moisture Lotion—which is very similar ingredients-wise to my usual body lotion, Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Lotion, except the baby version contains allantoin and seems slightly thicker, less watery. Heck, I might switch to the baby version as my body lotion going forward. Anyway, those Aveeno products contain petrolatum and dimethicone, plus colloidal oatmeal. 

I also like Vanicream Daily Facial Moisturizer for Sensitive Skin, except that it pills over and under various products. 🤦‍♀️ The INKEY List Peptide Moisturizer was okay during warm weather, but it's not quite enough now. If your skin likes shea butter, you might enjoy this one. Many people love CeraVe Moisturizing Cream or CeraVe PM Moisturizing Lotion as a facial moisturizer; those are other options to consider. For a pricey Sephora-stocked option, try Drunk Elephant Lala Retro™ Whipped Moisturizer with Ceramides . It's a very good moisturizer with marula oil as its main occlusive ingredient. 

Whenever my skin barrier's damaged or I want to protect my skin from windburn, I apply a thick petrolatum-based balm to my face. My personal favorite is Aquaphor Ointment, but I also like CeraVe Healing Ointment a lot. I also use Aquaphor Ointment as my daily lip balm, and I apply an additional SPF bam on top (I like Vanicream's a lot). If you're sensitive to lanolin, skin Aquaphor and try CeraVe instead. 

I don't use a product specifically marketed as "eye cream." My full face moisturizer works fine around my eyes. If I need an extra boost of moisturization there, I either layer a facial oil under or over my moisturizer (sometimes I do this in multiple alternating layers, depending on how dry my undereyes are) or use the Aquaphor or CeraVe balm as an "eye cream." 

6. Sunscreen in the morning, retinoid at night - if I plan to go outside or sit near a window (with open curtains/blinds) during the day, I apply sunscreen with minimum SPF of 30, regardless of the weather or season. I currently use retinoids 5-7 nights a week. 

Spoiler
I test and rotate through various sunscreens. My skin prefers physical/mineral sunscreens, but I've yet to have a bad reaction to chemical Supergoop! Unseen Sunscreen SPF 40 . I love Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Sheer Mineral Sun Spray SPF 50 and I'll soon test ILIA Super Serum Skin Tint SPF 40 Foundation 14 Dominica . I don't normally rely on tinted moisturizers as my sole sunscreen—whenever I wear a Laura Mercier tinted moisturizer, I use a true sunscreen underneath—but I've been curious about the ILIA product for months. 

For 1.5 years, I used and loved The INKEY List Retinol Anti-Aging Serum on my entire face. Earlier this year I began testing a stronger retinol product, and now I just use The Inkey List Retinol around my eyes. I apply both retinoid products after my moisturizer. That way, the moisturizer acts as a buffer to reduce irritation without stopping retinol from doing its job. Also, I don't have to let my skin dry down pre-moisturizer. I can keep my skin damp throughout my routine, apply moisturizer to seal in hydration, wait a few minutes for that to settle in, and then apply my retinoid. 

A lot of the products I mentioned are inexpensive, but some are pricey. When budgeting, if you have to choose just one product to splurge on (and use low-cost options for everything else, which is totally fine since high price =/= quality), then splurge on a good sunscreen. If you're in the US and you have an HSA (Health Savings Account), remember that sunscreen qualifies as an HSA expense. 🙂 

Re: Skincare advice.

Spoiler
 

It’s hard to give skincare advice bc everyone skin is different and reacts differently to products. While might work for others it might break out someone like crazy or/and not show results. I’ve used a lot of skincare and I’ve learned my skin is super sensitive to certain ingredients. I’ve learned to always look a the IL. Also cosdna.com is a good reference to see what  ingredient does what. But Coconut oil or derivatives and vitamin C break me out like crazy so I avoid it. Dr. Dennis Gross is a great brand and they have an array of lines to fit different skin types and needs, it what I’m currently using the Pore Perfecting Line.  The Dose Of Colors skincare seems good. Clean cut... but a lot of the good ingredients they claim are “key” and highlighted are in the middle or bottom of their ingredient list. Kind of reminds me of Kylie Skin or Fenty Skin. But you know it could work amazing for you. But A great product for fine lines and wrinkles I’ve been using the No.7 retinol night concentrate. I’ve been loving it and seeing results.  It’s a twice a week at night product. For dryness I have several I’ve tried and loved. The Charlotte Tilbury Magic Cream, it is pricey but it’s moisturizing and hydrating. The Good Molecules Moisturizer is superb as well and cheaper, clean ingredient list. I’m going to try out the Sunday Riley ICE moisturizer for night something thicker since it’s getting colder here. 

Spoiler
 

 

Re: Skincare advice.

Re: Skincare advice.

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