Skin Type and Concern Series

Shopping by Skin Concern-Acne

Hello everyone!

Today, the shopping by skin type and concern series is going out with a bang…or rather a pop because the last topic is acne.

Acne is a huge topic that spans more information than I am willing to a) write in a single post and b) subject you to reading that much information in a single post. If you would like a comprehensive read on pretty much everything you would ever wish to know on both the subject of acne and treating acne, please let me know. (I’ve been tossing around the idea of an anti-acne ebook/guide/megapost for a little while now. If it would be helpful, tell me!)

What I will be covering in this post is the basics of creating an acne routine and some of my favorite products.

Acne isn’t fun to have and can seem to never fully disappear. One second your skin is clear as glass, the next morning its a minefield of angry red dots. Or perhaps your are a woman and you jawline hates you certain days of the month. Or maybe your skin is just a hot (haute?:P) cystic mess year round. Whatever acne woe you’ve got, chances are a whole lot of factors both in and out of your control are at play, so a solid routine alone will not solve the problem. Building an acne routine is like building a support system for your skin. It holds the plane on auto-pilot while you rummage about in the cabin looking for what is really causing the acne (fun stuff like stress, genetics, medications, etc).

Keeping in mind that a routine can only do so much, your skin can only take so many anti-acne products. An entire routine of nothing but tea tree oil and Retin-A will only cause your skin to rebound. Its best to make sure that none of your current products are to blame (but if you patch tested and introduced them slowly you can skip this step for obvious reasons), and then introduce 2-3 products designed for killing the buggers.

Depending on your acne, you may want to go the derm/prescription route. I’ve talked a lot about Curology on the blog because they deserve it based on my experience with them and their product. As always, here is my invite link that will get you your first month free with them: click me for a free month! Using a prescription has done wonders for my own individual stubborn acne.

Three-Prong Approach

Acne has three sides of treatment: preventing more acne, treating symptoms existing acne, and cleaning up after acne (aka scars and PIH)

For preventing acne, azealic acid is probably my favorite ingredient as it is gentle, yet effective, and does not cause a lot of photosensitivity. Lots of acids like glycolic, Vitamin C, lactic acid, and malic acid are also great at keeping skin cells in check, telling them to “slough off” and stop clogging pores. Tea tree oil is a classic ingredient and works well in both treating and preventing acne. Niacinamide (while better for lightening acne marks) also helps treat and prevent acne.

For dealing with the redness and inflammation that comes with acne, look for soothing ingredients like snail mucin, aloe vera, honey, propolis, and yogurt. Another thing that can help is by applying either cold sheet masks or actually ice (like a bag of peas wrapped in a washcloth) to help take down swelling. This works well as both a full-face treatment and for specific, nasty spots.

Speaking of specific nasty spots, an unorthodox-but-effective way of killing redness is to use eye-redness relief drops on the spot. Don’t use too much because, just like eyes, rebound redness can happen. So if a big spot crops up and you need to kill it fast? Ice it down and give these drops a few minutes to get it concealer-ready.

When dealing with the aftermath of acne, the good news is that many of the same ingredients you use to prevent and treat it ALSO help reduce the appearance of scars and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH). These ingredients include niacinamide, azealic acid, any of the acids listed in the above section,  retinoids, and snail secretion filtrate. Ingredients used to brighten and even tone are also good ideas; some not already listed include morus alba (mulberry extract), licorice root, and lemon.

Regular exfoliation is also key in managing dead skin cells and keeping cell turnover rate high. Don’t be tempted to over do it; 2-3 times a week should be enough.

Lastly, perhaps counter intuitively, oil cleansing and moisturization are both essential components an acne routine can’t do without. Oil cleansers will remove excess sebum and makeup which can cause acne. Moisture will ensure the moisture barrier stays in tact, your skin stays healthy and less acne prone, and helps manage things like redness, swelling, etc. The skin that isn’t acne-ridden will look even more amazing as well.

Some of my favorite acne products (excepting my Curology script) include:

Cure Natural Aqua Gel (a weird, wacky, cult product. You can read more about it in this older post)

-A great anti-acne toner is Papa Recipe’s Trouble AC Toner. Its so cool and refreshing in this hot, nasty weather!

-CosRX power essences that you can get based on your acne. I personally love the pore-minish serum, but there are many AHA, BHA, blackhead, and whitehead versions as well. The CosRX Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence is my go-to snail product and biggest, holiest, holy grail product (it just seems to treat all skin concerns, seriously, just grab yourself a bottle and give it 2 weeks).

Innisfree Broccoli Clearing Lotion is lightweight and smells so crisp and light. Its great at providing the quick-absorbing moisture acne-ridden skin needs and craves.

D’RAN’s Wonder Tea Tree Essence is awesome to apply right after toning and get this 5% tea tree concentrate right into your pores! I can’t seem to find it anywhere but the D’RAN site (whom I haven’t ordered from before) at the moment. I’ve seen it kicking around on Memebox and Amazon before though. Its really great at managing acne; I’ve been using it for about four months now and am loving its extra acne-kicking boost.

-you can’t forget hydrocolloid bandages. CosRX’s seem to work the best for me.

I’ve probably tried upwards of 100 products meant *just* to deal with the aspects of acne over the course of my lifetime. These are only a few of the better ones I’ve recently tried. Acne changes as you age and your lifestyle/diet/stress levels/etc change. I remember that my middle school acne didn’t budge until I came at it with Proactiv. Six months later and Proactiv just stopped working for me and I played around with varying success with much, much trial and error with drugstore products like Clean and Clear, Clearasil, and Neutrogena. It wasn’t until sophomore year of high school that I stumbled on Cure Natural Aqua Gel and for awhile, that and spot treatments seemed to do the trick. Once my adult acne broke the “I’m free of puberty and acne forever!” spell, that approach only made it worse and I had to look at more moisturizing, snail-based options and serious retinoid-based help. I’ve had everything from mild cystic acne to armies of pustules. That’s a pretty big journey for one person’s skin!

With these products, YMMV (well, YM Will V) and its important to know your skin and treat your specific acne needs with your skin’s tolerance level in mind. I can handle actives pretty well with high-potency levels and almost daily application (how do I still have any face left? lol), but I know people who can’t even tolerate a little salicylic acid as a spot treatment. Some people have reactions to tea tree  and niacinamide while others are totally fine at the more effective, higher concentrations. Start small if you don’t know and gradually build up.

As a final note, acne routines need not be all anti-acne products as I briefly mentioned earlier. Skin still needs moisture, and maybe there are other issues like dullness that your routine needs to treat as well. Two or three quality products will get your skin back on the right track with acne. If your acne still hasn’t improved after some lifestyle changes and trying some effective products, you may just need to talk to a derm and get something a little stronger (like a temporary antibiotic pill or cream, or a heavier-duty retinoid, etc)

Alright, that concludes this series. Thank you all so much for reading-I really, truly hope you found it at least somewhat helpful. If there is anything you are curious about or would like me to cover in future posts, please let me know! .

Well, that’s all folks! See you soon 🙂




Shopping by Skin Concern-Dehydrated Skin

Welcome back everyone (and welcome, new readers)!

Dehydrated skin is a tough skin issue to deal with, and I am saying this from (deeply) personal experience. It takes a lot of work and dedication to repair your skin and get it balanced again, but it is possible and can be done in 3 months or less (usually 6-8 weeks).

To start, let’s make sure everyone is on the same page about what dehydrated skin is.

Dehydrated skin is not a sign that you need to drink more water! Dehydrated skin is skin whose natural moisture barrier (the thing that keeps moisture in and pollutants out for the sake of simplicity) has been damaged. The damage is pretty much always brought about by some outside factor-think of the overuse of harsh actives or acne spot treatments. Water begins escaping from your skin with nothing to keep it sealed in and at a very rapid rate. Your skin starts to dry out. To compensate, skin can start over-producing sebum which can trigger not-so-great things like acne and larger looking pores in tandem with the joys of dry skin (flakes, redness, itchiness) and possibly sudden sensitivity to things on top of it all. The whole face being both oily and dry at the same time is the biggest tell-tale sign (combination skin is just patches of one or the other).

Dehydrated skin and dry skin should not be confused.

Ways you can potentially damage your skin’s moisture barrier:

-over exfoliating and/or over cleansing

-using high pH products (7.0+) like cleansers >.> *whispers* the CosRx low pH good morning gel…

-not wearing sunscreen and getting a burn

-harsh weather conditions like biting winter wind (windburn)

-actives (and other harsh substances like Windex and benzoyl peroxide)

Common Symptoms of Dehydrated Skin:

-sudden, extreme dryness (and all the symptoms that go hand-in-hand with it like sudden, pronounced fine lines/wrinkles, flakes, crepe-paper texture to skin: your skin looks like its got super cakey foundation on, but you aren’t wearing any…plus it feels about as sexy as a first-aid wrap bandage)

-things like skincare products just will. not. for the life of them. freaking. absorb and makeup application…well forget about that. See above bandage note.

-sudden, strange, sensitivity (everything just starts stinging and burning, all the time)

-super fun redness and acne (your best friends have come out to play with you!)

How to Fix It:

Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize! Its all you’re going to hear me say. Basically, its similar (but not the same) as dry skin. Layers of humectants will attract moisture to the skin’s surface. An emollient layer on the top of that will help smooth the skin’s appearance by filling in the gaps between the skin cells. Occlusives on top of these layers will seal their benefits in and keep the irritating crap out (kinda like a live-in sheet mask). Fatty acids (what comprises a good chunk of the barrier) are the main ingredients to look for.

You are going to need to STOP any use of harsh chemicals like acids, retinoids, or even spot treatments. Exfoliation (chemical or physical) is banned until skin condition begins to improve. Switch to a super gentle low pH cleanser (it is mandatory in this case if you wish to improve your skin) and don’t expose your skin to the point it gets further damaged by the weather (wear sunscreen and stay in the shade or bundle up).

Products that list words having to do with skin nutrition, healing, or repair are good places to start. Look for formulas that proclaim “rich” on their title (like “rich cocoa butter”).

Natural ingredients tend to be the best ingredients to use while your skin heals itself. Obvious candidates include things like honey, yogurt-related things, and aloe vera. Anything that has to do with an animal oil or milk (ie horse oil or donkey/goat milk) will be helpful (but that sort of issue is up to you-I have never used these kinds of products so I can’t speak for them) or as I have used with great success, any plant oil or butter (think hair care or body lotion: shea butter, cocoa butter, argan oil, olive oil).

My personal journey with severely dehydrated skin involved a lot of snail 96 power essence by CosRX. My skin was in really bad shape with dehydration-spurred acne and redness. When I stopped trying to dry out the acne with harsh chemicals, and instead tried to soothe the redness, the acne started to retreat and healing began.

The products that helped me the most with my journey back to a healthy moisture barrier (w/ non-affiliate links):

CosRX Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence (helped reduce redness and acne, smoothed my skin out (no more flakes, less bumps), helped keep it hydrated, and really helped with overall sensitivity)

Goodal Phytorain Murumuru Seed Hydra Serum (the moisture on this was superb…I can’t wait to buy it again this fall…I’ve missed you my pretty little winter staple *cries*)

CosRX Ultimate Nourishing Rice Overnight Spa Mask (I actually used it as a regular moisturizer twice a day. Again, peeing my pants in excitement to buy it again this winter)

Enprani’s Dear by Bounce Cheese Cream (this was my sleeping pack/nighttime moisturizer (leaves a bit of a film) that I put on top of the spa mask. The texture is so much fun to play with and you will wake up, feel your face, and be like…is this really my skin?! holy sh**!!!)

And, having tried more products since then, these would probably be really effective as well:

-PONY Effect Luminous Boosting Mask Pack (really amazing in terms of moisture and turning the redness factor down a few notches)

Etude House Moistfull Collagen Cream (I actually would recommend the whole line for glowy and bouncy skin, but this cream is pretty extraordinary just by itself as well)

-It’s Skin hyaluronic acid toner and/or serum (not going to do a lot on their own, but provide excellent starting layers of moisture…side note: my new summer staples)

Its unfortunate, but generally you will need to create a routine from scratch while addressing dehydrated skin. Whatever was in your previous routine obviously wasn’t working too well either due to the product application and/or the products themselves. Once your skin is healed, these products can slowly be reintroduced (so you don’t have to chuck ’em), but carefully and with lots of moisture.

With a little time, patience, and a whole lot of sheet masks, your skin will repair itself and its moisture barrier will heal. I sincerely hope this post was helpful. Feel free to contact me via this blog’s contact page, the comments below, or on any of my social media platforms with any questions/concerns you may have…or just to be friends lol

Thanks for reading! 🙂


Shopping By Skin Concern-Tone Issues

Today’s segment of the shopping by skin concern series will tackle issues related to skin tone: dullness, uneven tone, and redness/hyperpigmentation.

A lot of people can get very caught up with these types of skin issues. On the bright side, they are fairly easy to cover up with makeup, but the downside is that, well, the skin will not look great without a layer of foundation or concealer. If being makeup reliant doesn’t sound appealing (which it shouldn’t), read on.

These sorts of skin woes are best treated with gradual steps. Unlike aging, where the entire routine needs to be based on certain ingredients and skincare habits (read more about it here), many find that just one or two products is enough to yield satisfactory results. Good news: a little routine tweaking can be all your skin needs-no need to bring out the big guns just yet!

To tackle dullness, make sure there is enough moisture in your routine, and that your skin is not actually dehydrated. We all know to drink 8 glasses of water per day, but make sure you are actually implementing that advice as you begin treating this issue. It can make a really big difference in getting things moving internally, and flushing out toxins, which translates into glowing skin.

Make sure your skin’s moisture barrier isn’t damaged/compromised as well (as that’s a different issue I will be tackling soon). Is it both dry and  oily? That will be your biggest indicator. The dullness brought on by this is an entirely different breed of cat.

If your skin is not suffering from a compromised moisture barrier, and you’ve got a nice glass of water or tea in your hand, giving your skin a little extra moisturizer love is going to be your next step. I personally would recommend adding a moisturizer whose thickness is equivalent to your level of dullness. A little dull? A light humectant. A hella dull? Go for something thicker. This trick has always been my rule of thumb since getting my feet wet in Asian beauty, and it has served me well. It corresponds to the needs of the seasons too (skin looks duller in the winter and also needs heavier duty creams). It also gives me a very big excuse to stock up on whatever moisturizers I so please 😉

The next step for dullness, and the first steps for treating uneven tone and hyperpigmentation problems, is to start finding 1-2 products that meet your personal moisture needs (based on your skin type) that contains ingredients that will treat these issues.

The GO-TO ingredient for these types of issues is niacinamide, which is abundant in the Asian skincare market, and can also be prescribed if the need is severe.  It is an excellent skin brightener derived from vitamin B3 that helps not only fight dark spots, but also acne and inflammation.

Other easy-to-find ingredients are arbutin, azealic acid (love this one! so much awesomeness), betaine salicylate, any member of the acid family (think of glycolic acid, vitamin c (l-ascorbic acid), lactic acid, and malic acid), and good ol’ retinoids.

Mulberry extract (most likely found on the label as “morus albua”) and licorice root are some more natural lighteners along with potentially irritating lemon.

These ingredients generally help slough off dead skin cells and quicken its cell turnover rate so bright, new, shiny skin is revealed. Dead skin lacks luster, new skin glows. Its a fact of life.

So you’ve found a nice serum or ampoule that contains a good dose of niacinamide and a few other brightening ingredients. You’ve added it to your shopping cart and are about to check out-but before you fork over any cash, don’t forget the sheet masks!

If you want results quickly, you are going to need to mask. Frequently and religiously.

Take advantage of sales and promotions, and stock up on sheet masks with the above ingredients. Much like the serums and such, they will have “snow,” “brightening,” “whitening,” “mela-x-ing” plastered on their packages with pictures of Snow White and winter wonderland-y themes.  The moisture will keep your skin smooth and healthy and glowing, while the extended contact and resulting saturation with tone-issue-busting ingredients gets to work on your pores.

It is possible to get very quick results (depending on your severity, products, etc), but generally this issue can resolve in a few months. Deep-rooted hyperpigmentation or serious tone issues will require more heavy-duty products like acids and retinoids, but they are perfectly able to be treated with only a few products! Unlike so many other skin issues, these are generally treatable and will resolve within a few dedicated months.

Shopping by Skin Concern-Signs of Aging

Hello and welcome to the latest installment of the shopping by skin type/concern series. This post will tackle developing a routine to minimize the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles along with some additional tips and tricks.

Basically, when it comes to aging, prevention is the best cure and while much of how we age has to do with genetics, our lifestyle and sun habits can play a reasonably large role.

So let’s focus on what we can control.

There aren’t many (if really any) ingredients that can reverse signs of aging. Signs and symptoms can be reduced, but nothing short of the knife will truly be able to rid you of them (and even then, maybe not).

Good, regular, safe-sun habits are vital to preventing damage and exacerbating current signs of aging. If you don’t have lines yet, put on that sunscreen! If you have wrinkles and don’t want more, put on that sunscreen! Just put on the sunscreen even if you don’t care one single bit! To make sure you are practicing proper sun habits, please refer to this post. This is THE BEST thing you can do to combat this skin concern.

Active ingredients can help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles along with hydration.

To reduce fine lines and the appearance of wrinkles, look for the “acids” (azelaic acid, glycolic acid, vitamin c/ascorbic acid, latic acid, malic acid) and then niacinamide and/or a trusty ol’retinoid like Retin-A. These work through gentle exfoliation which keeps the skin vibrant and constantly in a state of refreshing itself (the cell turnover increases as these ingredients are cell-communication. For more info, see my actives guide). These ingredients can also help in preventing such lines from forming/forming as quickly.

If you are just starting out, I’ve had good results with CosRX’s line of various treatments. My absolute favorite is the Pore-Minish BHA Serum, but they have some sort of actives product for pretty much any skin need available (whiteheads, blackheads, you name it!) What nice is that these are much MUCH more gentle than a typical AHA/BHA/etc product, yet still just as effective. That means that as you introduce actives into your routine, you run less risk of over-application drying out and wrecking havoc on your skin.

If you are ready to get some heavy-duty results, you’ll need a heavy-duty product and usually a prescription. There are some potent products out there from at-home chemical peels to 10% AHA’s, but personally, when you reach this level, its nice to have a derm looking over your shoulder because these are, you know, acids and whatnot that are taking off layers of your skin 😛 If you don’t already have a trusty derm, you can use the American Academy of Dermatology search to find a list of your local ones and then make an appointment. Don’t have the cash? Curology (formerly Pocket Derm) is the next best alternative. I’ve been having a wonderful time with them thus far: my prescription is great and highly effective, the customer service is superb, my personally assigned derm always gets back to my questions within a business day and is totally willing to listen to and help with the most trivial of my concerns, and the shipping is automatic every three months.I have no real negatives at the moment. If you would like to try this no-contract service and try your first month FREE, you can use my special invite link:*

Hydration helps prevent and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Pretty much any decent moisturizer will help in their prevention, but ingredients like caffeine, collagen,  hyaluonrate/hyaluronic acid, and syn-ake (synthetic venom that works like “botox in a bottle”) can help temporarily reduce the appearance of lines.

Products meant to help prevent/treat signs of aging are generally easy to spot as phrases like “anti-aging” and “age-defense”  or things along the regenerate/renew variety etc will be plastered all over them. More expensive is not necessarily better. As aging isn’t curable, only preventable, learning which ingredients give you the best results will be what is most important.

What have you found works best for you in dealing with these sorts of problems? Have any tips/recommendations? Let me know in the comments below!

*This is a service that I honestly love and am only recommending it here because I love it. This link provides me with a 10$ credit on my own monthly prescription fee, but gets you your first month free as well as your own special referral link that will do the same. 🙂

Shopping by Skin Concern-Sensitive Skin

Sensitive skin commonly exhibits redness, itching, stinging, swelling, and flaking. Such symptoms usually arise when the skin’s moisture barrier isn’t fully functioning. In other words, the layer of skin cells, sebum, etc that keeps water in and the outside world/irritants out, has been compromised and isn’t properly doing its job.

Stinging does not mean a product is working

People with sensitive skin often struggle with skincare and cosmetic products burning and/or stinging their skin. This occurs because of the damaged/thinner moisture barrier. Typically, the offending ingredients are related to fragrance although each individual will vary. Active ingredients like AHA’s or vitamin c are big no-no’s for most people with sensitive skin (actives can even bother people with completely healthy and hearty skin!). Stinging and burning sensations often start upon contact or shortly after application. You most likely have sensitive skin if several brands of cleansers or fragrances, etc cause a reaction upon application. Many people can find relief in switching to fragrance and alcohol-free products.

Redness-why so angry?

People with sensitive skin often has skin that will turn red after cleansing or even flush in cold or even hot weather. Redness can indicate more than just sensitivity; it can also point to rosacea (a skin condition that includes redness and broken blood vessels that may be accompanied by clusters of pimples in the nose/cheek/chin areas). Rosacea is considered a subcategory of skin sensitivity, but generally treatment requires a dermatologist’s help and supervision.

Flakier than a croissant

Flakes belong in pastry layers-not on your face! Moisture-retention problems arising from a compromised moisture barrier can mean cat-hair levels of shedding flakes. Flaking can be brought on by products like exfoliants (generally chemical, ie most actives) and reducing and/or eliminating their use can offer relief. Emollients are rich in fatty acids and help fill in gaps between skin cells reducing the appearance of flakes. Occlusives (applied over damp skin or humectant/emoliients) can help function as a “temporary barrier” until your skin can function better on its own.

So Itchy

 Itchy skin is skin that is loosing water, and fast. An improperly functioning moisture barrier is not only letting potential irritants like dirt and dust in, but also letting water evaporate out of the skin. This drys out the skin which leads to itchiness. Avoiding temperature extremes (like hot showers, indoor heating, and cold weather) and moisturize often (emollients will help especially if applied over humectants). Look for lipids/fatty acids in your products to help repair the damage. If the dryness is severe, sometimes a humidifier can help-especially in drier months.
Patch Testing
Patch testing helps prevent facial catastrophes, especially with the more sensitive types. With any skin care or cosmetic product there is the chance that you could negatively react. Just like with hair dye, I know that a lot of people don’t do this, but seriously, everyone should, and those with sensitive skin ESPECIALLY should patch test. Pick a test area (inner elbow, behind the ear, underside of the wrist) and apply the product there. Monitor the spot for 24-48 hours, taking note of any signs of sensitivity. Depending on your personal skin sensitivity, it may be best to patch test for several days before slathering the product all over the face.


What to look for:

It is so hard to create a routine or even give more than generic, all-encompassing advice for those who struggle with skin sensitivity. Some ingredients that typically aren’t irritating include aloe vera, ceraminde, chamomile, cocoa, mango, and most plant butters, donkey/goat milk, green tea, honey, oatmeal, propolis, snail secretion filtrate, and yeast ferments. Natural is probably the best way to go.

Labels will most likely contain things that state they are for sensitive skin or contain “calming,” “gentle,” etc in their labels (as always, check the ingredients out before purchasing/using).

Additional Tips for Dealing with Sensitive Skin:

-try switching to fragrance and alcohol free products and formulations

-switch to a gentle low pH cleanser (a cleanser that doesn’t leave your face feeling tight and shouldn’t be too foamy)

-look for soothing, humectant ingredients like hyaluronic acid and also emollients rich in fatty acids to help repair the barrier

-avoid actives or other harsh products (like benzoyl peroxide)

-introduce new products one at a time several days to several weeks in between…and of course, after thorough patch testing!

-it can be helpful to make a running list of brands, products, and/or ingredients that you notice sensitivity to. Keeping a journal or log can be extremely beneficial as you monitor your skin (like I’ve noticed my skin can become quite sensitive during winter months to where I can’t apply certain favorite products, but is generally fine in the summer when the humidity is high and the cold winds can’t get at my cheeks).

-and of course, drink lots of water, avoid touching your face, get plenty or sleep, and eat a healthy diet full of antioxidant-rich fruits and veggies 🙂

Remember folks, I AM NOT A DOCTOR. This is just what I’ve  concluded after much research over the years and from personal experience.

Since those with sensitive skin are going to have such individual needs, I feel that a sample routine would not be all that helpful. Instead, if this is something you deal with, trying websites (that I am not affiliated with!) like Glow Recipe, who feature lots of products with more natural ingredient labels may be a good place to start looking.

While it is not an Asian brand, certain western brands like Aveeno may be worth a shot. I personally think that Aveeno has some amazing oatmeal lotions; I used them all through middle and high school when my skin was such an itchy, stinging mess that it could barely tolerate anything else (yeah, 13 yr old me thought benzoyl peroxide facials and Windex were good things. Sometimes I look back and wonder how I survived lol). As a side note, their lotions gave me some awesome looking legs too. Using them twice a day, everyday, for about two weeks gave me some super smooth, super shiny skin that became impervious to razor burn.

Neutrogena has a large assortment of gentle makeup and also anti-acne products  if you happen to also be struggling with that (my high school self feels your pain!).

I also have to say: get your snail on. Its a anti-redness, soothing, gentle moisturizer that has yet to fail me.

If you have severely sensitive skin and/or can’t seem to figure out what it is that bothers your skin, I highly recommend forking over the cash you would spend on trial and error after error-ing, and paying a visit to your local friendly dermatologist. I know that sensitivity can sometimes be debilitating, and seemingly impossible to get around. In those cases, stop, drop, and get to the real cause with someone who can actually solve the root of the problem.

Do you have sensitive skin? What tips or tricks have you found worked for you? Please share in the comments section down below…I know that A LOT of people would be really, truly grateful!

Until next time! 🙂

Shopping by Skin Type-Combination Skin

Hello and welcome back to the Shopping by Skin Type series! To find out your skin type, please click here. Today’s post will cover combination skin types.

Combination skin types get the best of both worlds: oily AND dry. This means that certain parts of the face will require treatment for oily skin type (generally the T-zone) and treatment for dry skin type (generally cheeks).

The trick with this skin type is to find the (delicate) balance between providing enough moisture to manage the drier parts of the face while not overloading the oilier parts of the face, but also taking care to not dry out the face in treating the oilier parts (and the potential acne that usually goes hand in hand with it). Often, the best approach is with layering humectants underneath a light emollient formula. Sometimes, if the difference between oilier and drier parts is severe, it may be best to simply use different products on different parts of your face…it may seem annoying, but the results will be worth it once the skin balances out!

Erring on the lighter side of things will be most beneficial to combination skin types. Things like first essences, anything humectant, and lighter emulsions, serums, and ampoules will help restore more balance to the skin. A formula that is too heavy or occlusive may cause extra oiliness/slickness and/or breakouts in the oilier parts of the face. On the flip side, something not moisturizing enough will leave the drier areas red, flaky, and itchy.

Like all skin care routines, be sure to double cleanse using an oil cleanser like the Memebox I’m Cleansing Oil for Oily/Combination skin types or the Apple Juicy Cleansing Oil from Innisfree. A gentle, low pH cleanser will be very beneficial to keep moisture from being stripped unduly from the skin (and we all know my one recommendation for that don’t we?).

Like mentioned above, first essences and humectants are good bets for this skin type. Get the best of both worlds with the Galactomyces Alcohol-Free Toner from CosRX. If you struggle with acne or large/visible pores, CosRX’s AHA/BHA Clarifying Treatment Toner will help prep your skin for follow up with an active.

My personal favorite non-prescription active would have to be the BHA Summer Pore-Minish Serum by (you guessed it) CosRX. I really am in love with how effective all their products are while still managing to be so gentle that it makes you wonder if its even working.But the 8% AHA by Papa Recipe is also a good choice if you feel you can stand the smell.

Humectants under emollients are the most effective way to keep combination skin balanced and each part happy. The cult-favorite Green Tea Serum series by Innisfree has green tea to help with acne and redness, yet is moisturizing enough to keep the drier parts of the face flake and itch free. If you can stand another CosRX product recommendation, their Oil-Free Ultra-Moisturizing Lotion with Birch Sap is a light-weight formula that absorbs quickly and leaves skin soft and supple. Hyaluronic acid serums like the one by Its Skin are great for basic moisturizing purposes with this skin type.

For heavier layers, I highly recommend the Green Tea Balancing Cream from Innisfree (even if you don’t use the whole set). There is also the Laneige Water Bank Moisture Cream that you can order online or get from most physical Target stores.

Are you this skin type? Do you have any tips and tricks for your fellow Skintuitionites? (or have a name for you wonderful followers?) Don’t forget the Q&A posts are fueled by what you all want to know! Please show some love and comment down below (or contact me privately if you’re feeling a lil’shy).

Thanks lovlies. Check back on Wednesday for the sample routine and product recommendations.

Shopping by Skin Type-Dry Skin

Welcome back lovely readers! And hello to those who may be new around here. Today’s post is close to my heart, as dry skin is something I frequently deal with. To find out if you are a dry skin type, please click here.

While this isn’t horribly scientific, I feel like there are two types of dry skin, but they are treated in the same way.

There is naturally dry skin, genetically inherited. Then there is also dry skin brought on by the regular use of actives or climate. The latter should not be confused with dehydrated skin though…

Either way, dry skin is dry skin and the severity of it can range to mild to devastatingly severe.

The Game Plan

In short, the goal is to get your skin into a more comfortable, balanced, non-flake-shedding state. The best way to do this is to have several layers of humectants sealed underneath an emollient and/or occlusive layer. Don’t be afraid to slather on layer after layer (or sheet mask after sheet mask). The good news is that if you love an indulgent, intense routine, dry skin allows ample opportunity for that. If a 10 step routine isn’t really for you, it will take a lot of trial and error finding a small selection of products that can provide the same effect as many layers. With dry skin, one moisturizer probably won’t cut it.

Anything in the moisturizing world goes with the dry skin type. Facial oils, thick, luxurious creams, pretty much any “hydrating” or “moisturizing” product will help. Be sure to apply products in order of thinnest to thickest, patting in each layer until it is fully absorbed before moving onto the next one. Use a low pH cleanser as well to keep what little natural oil your skin produces on your face and avoid anything geared towards oilier skin types which may refer to controlling sebum, tightening pores, and other skin scenarios that don’t apply at all to dry skin types.

The use of actives is highly discouraged until the skin becomes healthier and well-managed. Even once dry skin is under controll, actives should be introduced with more caution and monitoring as they can exacerbate the symptoms of dryness.

If you are a dry skin type, you may find it beneficial to take a look through the Skintuition blog archives. There are many posts on things like Managing Your Moisturizing Routine that may encompass more information than covered in this post that may be helpful.

My non-doctor self recommends more balmy-type oil cleansers like Banilla Co Clean It Zero or the Nooni Snowflake Cleanser. The Su:m 37 Miracle Rose Cleansing Stick may also be a good bet. Follow up the second part of the double cleanse with any low pH cleanser like this one by CosRX (I will never stop loving this).

Look for moisturizing toners like It’s Skin’s Hyaluronic Acid Moisture Toner or the toner for Etude House’s Moistfull Collagen line.

Moisturizers are going to make up the bulk of your dry skin routine. Start by layering serums and ampoules before moving onto thicker emulsions and creams/sleeping packs.

Some of my favorite serums/ampoules:

Scinic’s Snail All-In-One Ampoule-because it is light, quick to absorb, and a perfect post-toning step to further prep the skin.

Goodal’s Phytorain Murumuru Seed Hydra Serum-this stuff is one of the most intensely moisturizing serums that I have run across. I always have a bottle on hand come winter.

Its Skin’s Hyaluronic Acid Moisture Serum-hyaluronic acid is one of your new best friends.

CosRX’s Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence-snail is a wonderful soother and moisturizer.

Some of my favorite creams:

Enprani’s Dear by Bounce Cheese Cream-weird name, but delivers excellent moisture. Leaves a bit of a film (that seriously seals in everything) so best for bedtime.

CosRX’s Nourishing Rice Overnight Spa Mask-this stuff is one of my favorite products. It claims to be a spa mask but I use it as a day cream. It is so light and really helps take away the dry-skin dullness.

CosRX’s Advanced Snail 92 All-In-One Cream or their Honey Version-don’t let their lighter textures fool you-these are moisture workhorses that will leave your skin feeling amazingly soft but not greasy or weighed down.

Goodal’s Waterest Moisture Barrier Cream-I think the name says it all.

Another good thing to keep on hand is the Cure Aqua Gel (before you buy, you may want to read this though). It is my go-to product for smoothing my skin and ridding it of pesky flakes. It helps my skin care products absorb more evenly and quicker. It also helps keep my face looking alive (that dry dullness honestly). I personally use it no more than twice a week.

Sheet masks are going to be your saviors for getting this skin type under control. The severity of your skin’s dryness should correspond to the number of sheet masks used daily.  There is no shame in using them twice a day, every day until your skin regains control…or even three or four times 😛

Look for masks that boast moisturizing over pore-clearing, whitening, etc. While all masks do moisturize, it is best to stick with as many moisturizing ingredients as possible (like hyaluronic acid). Try to look at the backs of your favorite moisturizers; look for the key ingredients listed in your products in the mask ingredient lists. For example, perhaps your skin really responds well to your honey sleeping mask, look for sheet masks with honey in them. This is one of the reasons it is so important to introduce products one at a time-how else would you know what is working and what isn’t?

Is this your skin type? Do you have any tips or tricks? Questions, comments, or concerns? Please leave them down below or feel free to contact me!

Thank you for reading. Have a wonderful day my readers!