I basically called my mom for help. Except when I say mom, I mean an esthetician.
Around November last year, I had one of those freak-outs about my skin that I'm sure you've all had at one point or another. One morning, I looked in the mirror and was just like, Why do I look so rubbish?
Cue a slightly frantic Googling session, which went on for far longer and involved more Reddit threads than I'd like to admit. I diagnosed myself with dehydrated skin.
My skin has always been dry, but there was something different going on than my usual dryness. My skin felt tight immediately after showering. My face looked generally dull, and I found that lines around my mouth, eyes, and on my forehead were more pronounced than I had noticed before. My pores were larger. In addition to all of that, whatever cream, oil, or makeup I applied to my face was sucked up by my skin immediately, having no discernible effect on how moisturized it felt overall.
It was a bad situation.
Since that dark point in November, I have been working on my skincare routine to find something that makes my skin feel happy. And I think I might have cracked it! Here's what I'm using to finally obtain a dewy complexion.
The first thing I did was force myself to stop taking hot showers. At the time, I was living in a cottage in Ireland with no central heating, so it was not easy. But the results really do speak for themselves: my skin is demonstrably softer and less tight when I keep the water cool or at least lukewarm.
Next up, body wash. I suspected that the soaps, scrubs, and body washes I had been using might have damaged the barrier function of my skin by changing the pH, so I started looking around for soap-free options in the drugstore. They are not easy to find! There are a lot of body washes marketing as "moisturizing" or "for sensitive skin" that still contain the very ingredients I was trying to avoid.
Urea sounds gross, but it is actually naturally present in healthy skin. It's a great ingredient for the treatment of eczema and general dry skin conditions, but the reason I particularly like it in my products is because it helps to repair the barrier function of the skin.
Not only does my dry skin get immediate relief when I apply the Eucerin lotion, but it's actually getting healthier all the time! I had some chronic scaly patches on my upper arms that have receded drastically, and when I shave my legs I no longer worry about having flaky shins. It's a good time for Hannah.
The dehydration issue on my face was a little more difficult to solve, partly because the damage was more severe thanks to a dalliance with a glycolic-acid cleanser. I started by taking anything astringent, foaming, or exfoliating out of my routine. For a while, I had a good double-cleansing thing going with almond oil, a warm muslin cloth, and a soap-free face wash. That routine worked well for me, but it was time-consuming and not easy to travel with. I needed something more simple.
Enter Bioderma Hydrabio H20. You've all heard of Bioderma's Crealine micellar water, I'm sure. I've tried that and a million other micellar waters and thought, meh. But the Hydrabio version is anything but meh, I promise.
You know when you use a product on your face, and it just feels right afterwards? Not dry, not shiny, not greasy, not stinging. Just right. That's what this micellar water does for my skin, and it removes every single scrap of makeup.
I'm going to continue the Bioderma love-fest and talk about my new favorite day cream: Hydrabio Perfecteur SPF 30. I've never been a huge fan of multitasking or priming products because they don't usually deliver enough moisture. Not this baby. This lightweight cream is formulated niacinamide, which can help improve your skin's barrier function while also targeting hyperpigmentation. It also has dimethicone to give that smoothed-out feeling of a primer, and mica to give you a bit of a glow.
I've been using this for a couple of months now, and it performs really well for me. It makes a great base for makeup, and keeps me moisturized all day long.
The downside of this product is that it comes out of the tube with a very pale pink color. That works fine on my skin tone, but I would hope that Bioderma would extend the range to cater for dehydrated babes out there with a deeper skin tone than me. (In fact, I emailed them to find out if they will and will keep you posted!)
At night, I keep my routine equally simple. After cleansing with the Bioderma, I apply Eucerin Dry Skin Replenishing Night Cream with 5% Urea to my still-damp face. I then seal it in with a thin layer of Vaseline, which acts as an occlusive and helps me retain all that precious, precious moisture. I scored this limited edition Queen Bee version a while ago, and I prefer it to regular Vaseline only because it smells delicious and feels a bit more luxe.
Using these products has greatly improved the condition of my skin. I've still got some work to do on my routine to figure out a way to safely introduce some exfoliation into the mix — my konjac sponge is plugging the gap for the time being. But overall, the symptoms of dehydration I was experiencing before Christmas have dramatically decreased, and finally I have something like a glow again.
- What are your favorite products for dehydrated skin?
- Anyone else have periodic freak-outs about their skin?
- I need to exfoliate! Anyone got experience exfoliating their dehydrated skin?