Winter Skincare for Oily, Sensitive, Acne-prone Skin
Chicago - like most of the country - has been in a deep freeze these past few weeks. Between the dry air from indoor heating and the freezing, windy, dry air outside, skin can take a beating. Pair that with sensitive, oily acne-prone skin and it's a recipe for disaster. But - with the exception of a few breakouts (which with acne, can be hard to escape no matter the season), my skin has been doing fairly well. And that is all down to my winter skincare routine.
My goal with my skin care is to treat and prevent acne, improve the overall texture of my skin as well as keep my ultra sensitive skin calm and prevent it from freaking out. Which it loves to do!
I will start with my Night Time Skincare Routine, since it is the most involved and has the most steps.
This is very important if you wear makeup. Simply washing your face does not remove all the makeup from your skin, which can lead to clogged pores and breakouts. Oil cleansers can be too heavy for my skin so I opt for cleansing water. I switch between Garnier SkinActive Micellar Cleansing Water (I prefer the All in 1 Mattifying formula) and Bioderma Sensibio H20. I use these with a couple of cotton rounds. When I'm feeling lazy I use Neutrogena Makeup Remover Cleansing Towelettes. I try not to use these often as makeup wipes aren't the best for your skin.
After removing my makeup, I go in with a gentle cleanser. I recently started using Differin Balancing Cleanser. It is fragrance free, non-foaming and gentle on the skin. And because it is pH balanced it won't strip or over dry the skin.
I have always been rather wary of toners. They can strip the skin of moisture which can result in the skin compensating for the dryness by over-producing oil (the last thing anyone with oily skin wants!). But last spring on a whim I decided to try Thayer's Witch Hazel Toner in Aloe Vera Formula and it was a game changer. Witch Hazel is gentle on the skin and aloe is soothing and can help combat irritation and redness. The light natural rose water scent is lovely as well. I use this twice a day and it makes my skin smooth and soft.
After waiting a few minutes (I usually brush my teeth and floss while I wait) to allow my pores to close a bit after applying my toner (you should always wait a few minutes after washing your face before applying any treatments. This allows the pores to close a bit and the skin won't absorb too much of the treatment - which can result in irritation), I apply a small pea-sized amount of Differin Gel to my entire face. This is a topical retinoid acne treatment. Because my skin is so sensitive I use this every other day as opposed to daily. This is a long-haul treatment. You won't see changes right away, but over time it improves the frequency and severity of breakouts, improve skin texture and fade hyper-pigmentation and scarring.
After applying Differin I apply a small amount of Garnier SkinActive Moisture Bomb. If you have oily skin you still have to moisturize!! I cannot stress this enough. Oily skin is often dehydrated skin (which is why the skin over produces oil to compensate), so adding moisture helps balance the skin. This moisturizer is great if you have oily skin. It is a lightweight, almost gel-like, texture and contains hylauronic acid which is a humectant that draws moisture from the air into the skin. It sinks into the skin quickly and isn't heavy or greasy feeling.
Day Time Skin Care Routine
My skin care routine in the morning is simple. I find that that works best for my skin all year round but especially in the winter months.
Cleanse and Tone
I do not use a cleanser on my skin in the mornings. I wash my face with lukewarm water and then apply a bit of Thayer's with a cotton round
Moisturizer and Sunscreen
It goes without saying that we should all wear sunscreen, but this is especially important when using a retinoid like Differin Gel. It can make the skin more susceptible to sun damage and can make any acne scarring you are trying to get rid of darker. Which kind of ruins the whole point of using a retinoid in the first place. I use Garnier SkinActive Moisture Bomb Sunscreen SPF 30 (It was while taking photos for this post that I realized just how many Garnier skincare products I use lol! They make good stuff!). This functions as a moisturizer and a sunscreen. I apply a small amount to my face (a little goes a long way) and wait about 10-15 minutes before applying my makeup.
On Sundays I like to mask. I'm generally picky about what masks I use and prefer all natural masks, but lately I have been loving L'Oreal Pure Clay Mask. It is meant to help with texture and pull impurities from the skin. I have seen a change in texture in my skin. This paired with the Differin has been helping quite a bit.
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! I try to drink a fair amount of water in general, but in the winter months I pay extra attention to my water intake. Adding an extra couple of glasses during the day can work wonders.
I hope you found this post helpful. These products have worked for me and while I encourage you to try them, please bear in mind that everyone's skin is different and what works for me may not work for you. Skin care can often be a journey in experimentation (it certainly has for me) and finding waht works best for you. If you have any of the skincare issues mentioned in this post what are some of your skincare tips? Let us know in the comments!