Up until this year my skincare routine was very basic, simple you might say (and funnily enough those were the products I used too!). I washed my face with water, moisturised and then cleansed and toned off my make up at the end of the day. That was it.
However towards the end of last year my skin became increasingly dry, so much so that I even got some minor eczema above my eyes from the dryness. It looked dull and sallow and I felt I needed to get a bit of radiance back into it.
With this year beginning and ending with all things wedding and that winter date approaching I decided that 2015 was going to be the year I revamped my skincare routine, found something that worked for me and finally got that glowing radiant skin I’ve always wanted…
In some ways I wish I’d never bothered…
Since then I’ve been trying a number of different routines to no avail and have been plagued with not only dryness but also frequent break outs, oily patches and general imbalance.
I had a facial this past weekend with my Mum during a little spa day at the St Pancras Renaissance hotel and the facialist told me there wasn’t actually anything wrong with my skin, it was just imbalanced and that I should stick to all natural products without any nasties. She also mentioned seeing as it was a big day I should really see a specialist ahead of the wedding in order to get the right advice and end up with the right products. While I do agree with that I find it incredibly difficult to get an impartial opinion wherever I go, every different counter in department stores advise something different ultimately because they all want to sell me something! I’m not sure a dermatologist would be any different?
I’m hoping instead that you guys can be my impartial opinions, so even though I might not have a set routine right now, for this months current feature I thought I’d share some of the products I’ve been trying lately and my thoughts on them. Overall I have dry and sensitive skin and need products that can nourish and hydrate without being rich. If you have any recommendations to pass on I’d love to hear them!
My skin after week one using Clarins – no blemishes in sight!
My first revamp attempt came via Clarins. After speaking to one of the girls on the counter after a Debenhams event I was recommended a day and night routine which I was told would suit my dry skin and re- hydrate my complexion. At first I took home some samples and tried the routine for just over a week and guys, I honestly thought I’d hit the jackpot first time, really I did! After that first week my skin had never felt or looked so good. It was as soft as a baby’s bottom thanks to that foaming face wash and feeling anything but dry thanks to those rich moisturisers. Being so impressed with the results I bit the bullet and invested on the whole skincare package. Then after another couple of weeks I suddenly started getting breakouts across my cheeks, the type of blemishes I haven’t had since I was a teenager. I get the odd spot here and there but I’m not really prone to heavy break outs so this was a big shock. I persevered for a little longer as I figured any change to my routine was going to cause a little unsettlement, then I stopped using the night moisturiser worrying that a heavy day and night cream was all too rich for my skin. But when that didn’t change anything I decided to stop using the products altogether to give my skin a break. I’m not entirely sure whether the breakouts were directly caused by the new products I was using but in truth I think the whole routine was simply too much for my sensitive skin. As you can see from the pics above I was advised a different day and night routine, both of which used various products. I was using a face wash day and night and then putting on a thick and heavy cream – one for day, another for night, as well as using toning lotion, eye creams and eye make up remover (which was oil based). Although most of the ingredients are alcohol free, they do contain a lot of chemicals and definitely aren’t as natural as some others and for skin as sensitive as mine it just didn’t work (as much as I loved the feeling of the moisturiser as it was applied, and the ease at which make up went on top :() So for now I’ve put Clarins aside and called it research (research which has left me with blemishes that won’t budge!!).
Q10 Revitalizing day cream
Around about the time that I decided to stop using the Clarins moisturisers, I was asked to review this day cream which contains co-enzyme Q10 (supposed to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles) and jojoba oil (which is supposed to be good for sensitive skin) and having given up on Clarins and feeling my skin get dry once again, I jumped at the chance. After a couple of weeks of throwing everything at my skin to try and get rid of the spots, this cream was just what I needed. It’s thick without feeling heavy on and it definitely gave my dry skin the nourishment it needed. It feels really light when it’s applied and putting make up on on top is really easy as the cream sinks right into the skin. In terms of moisturisation I can’t really fault this as a day cream, my only small criticism is that it smells a little pharmaceutical (if that makes sense?). While I don’t like face creams to be overly flowery or perfumed I also prefer them to smell of nothing rather than smelling like cream. As far as the wrinkles go I haven’t really noticed a huge difference (definitely still fine lines around my eyes) but my focus wasn’t really on this to be honest, it was more on getting rid of the break outs, which unfortunately hasn’t altogether cleared up despite swapping to this cream.
I’m a fan of Bare Minerals make up so had high hopes that this set of products might work well for me, but as soon as I tried the face wash I knew it was going to be too harsh. Unlike the Clarins face wash, which lathers into a light foam and feels pretty soft on the skin, this face wash was more like an exfoliant (which I was told to avoid for my skin when I had my facial) and felt far too strong when I was lathering it up. The moisturiser and eye cream on the other hand haven’t caused me too much problems, but they also haven’t helped alleviate the break out problem, and once again I’ve put them to one side after hearing that I should stick to all natural ingredients.
So for now I’m back to square one and I’ve returned to using Simple once again. I’m avoiding all face washes at the moment as I’m worried they are stripping my skin too much and instead just washing my face in the morning with warm water and then applying a hydrating moisturiser. At the end of the day I take my make up off using the cleanser and toner and that’s usually enough that I don’t need to moisturise at night. My skin still feels incredibly sensitive however and although the spots have mostly cleared now, I still have redness and a kind of bumpiness across my cheeks where the worst spots were.
I’ve since had friends recommend Dermalogica, which I’m also keen to try but at the same time I don’t want to spend the next four months trialing different products and giving my skin a hard time ahead of the wedding. Coconut oil has also been mentioned to me which might be a natural alternative, and i’m planning to book in for a few more facials ahead of November but for now I’d really like to find a routine that works for me, and products which don’t actively cause more break outs so that I can try and let my skin settle down a little.
Any fellow sensitive skinned folks out there have anything to recommend? Have any of you had similar problems with your skin?