I’ve put off writing about my skincare routine until now because I was ashamed of my addiction to a moisturizer that basically breaks all my zero waste and eco-friendly rules. Without naming names, it’s a drugstore brand made of synthetic, petroleum derived ingredients, that’s packaged in plastic, and tested on animals. Yeah, I know.
Anyone who suffers dry skin like mine will understand - when your skin is dry, cracked, and red in the cold winter months, you’re willing to use anything that works. But my conscience finally got the better of me, and I decided to make the switch to natural skincare.
Here’s What Happened
Within 24 hours my face had a major freakout. All my least favorite dry skin symptoms returned: itching, redness, flaky patches, and inexplicable acne abounded on my face. It was almost bad enough to tempt me to go back to my evil drugstore brand.
I made myself stick it out for a week. I thought, if things didn’t improve, I’d go back to my old ways. Fortunately, they did improve - dramatically - and my skin is now looking better than ever.
How to Make the Switch
I won’t get into the science of natural vs. synthetic moisturizers and how they work - I’ve written about that here previously. But if you’re looking to make the switch to natural products and you’re a dry skinned sister like me, I will give you my best advice for helping your skin heal quickly:
- Avoid water that is too hot. Any water that touches your face should be tepid to lukewarm, never hot, and never extremely cold.
- After washing your face, pat it dry gently with a towel, never rub.
- Avoid foaming cleansers and exfoliators, which strip your skin of oils and throw its pH off balance. I use almond oil to remove my eye makeup and wash my face with water alone.
- Read the ingredients labels. Just because a product is marketed as “natural” doesn’t mean it is. Choose products with high quality, identifiable (ideally organic) ingredients.
- Splash your face with clean, cool water immediately after a workout to remove sweat and calm redness, and pat it dry gently.
- Avoid makeup for a few weeks. Try to resist the temptation to cover the redness, as adding makeup now can slow the healing process and actually make things worse.
- Don’t confuse the detox phase with an allergic reaction. Your skin may get red and angry when you take away the products it’s used to. Patch test products on your neck before trying them on your face to safeguard against true allergic reactions.
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol. Both are dehydrating and inflammatory, and can slow down the healing process. Keep them to a minimum, and drink lots of water throughout the day.
- Eat healthy fats and anti-inflammatory foods. Stock up on nuts, fatty fish, olive oil, and colorful vegetables. Try to avoid refined carbohydrates and sugar, which can make inflammation worse.
- Slather on a thick balm and get plenty of sleep. Give your skin something to drink up while you’re catching z’s, and you’ll wake up with your skin feeling refreshed, smooth, and hydrated.
- Reapply moisturizer throughout the day. Staying on top of hydration will keep inflammation at bay.
- Protect yourself from the elements. Keep your face moisturized, and try to stay out of the wind and cold as much as possible. Avoid extreme heat. Indoor heating can also be very drying to the skin - think about investing in a humidifier in your home and/or office.
Products That Work
It took a little bit of trial and error to find the products that were right for my skin type. Bearing in mind that everyone's skin is different, stay tuned for an upcoming post where I share the specifics of my skincare routine and the products I use!