I have the most sensitive skin in life.
Everything reacts with it. And I do mean everything. It scars extremely easily. A pair of sunglasses I wore several years ago still has its dark scars where it rested on my nose. I have long since misplaced those shades but thanks to my nose, I will never quite forget them. I have also been wearing standard spectacles since I was eight and every pair of glasses has marred my nose. Now when I get a new pair of spectacles I make sure that they are 1). plastic frames, and 2). rest on the already scarred part of my nose, because I figure if I already have the marks, they might as well rest on them and not create new ones.
Anyway, the point is, that caring for skin this reactive is not an easy task. I have learnt the hard way that while other people can venture outside and return completely unscathed, if I do the same I will return with five more freckles and new sun spots. Living in the tropics with this skin means copious amounts of sunscreen, no lower than SPF 30, must be applied before I go outside. And reapplied every two hours, just to be safe.
This skin has led to a certain sort of paranoia and a negative reaction to the sun. I basically try to avoid the sun at all costs, and when I do go out into it, I ready my skin like a fighter suits up to go off to war. I regularly take a hat with me and I never leave home without my umbrella. The good thing about this paranoia is that it has led me to a skin care regime that is not only pretty darned effective for myself, but which might help others out there.
So let's get started. I don't like to use a lot of products, so I try to keep it simple.
Its a gentle scrub that I use as an exfoliant. I know its described as a daily scrub, but if you have super sensitive skin like me, I wouldn't advise scrubbing your face every single day. I try to use this two to three times a week. I like this product because its the only scrub I found that did not irritate my skin. Its microbeads are small enough that its gentle, but densely-packed so it is still effective.
And on the weekend I also do one of those DIY steam facials which is a fancy way of saying you hold a towel over your head above a hot bowl of water and use that to open the pores to get the excess oil and sebum (yuck!) out of your pores that you might have missed during the week. Hey, you gotta go through the ugly to get to the pretty. I figure as its a natural procedure, it can't do too much damage.
And by the way, I've noticed people here use St.Ive's apricot scrub with the reverence usually ascribed to a sacred ritual. Personally, I do not even think people with normal, flawless skin should use that. The grains in that thing are massive! There's a reason dermatologists use that thing as a foot scrub.
Oh, and with sensitive skin I'd avoid harsh procedures at the spa like chemical peels. Just a word of advice.
Face Wash - Aveeno Active Naturals Ultra-Calming Moisturizing Cream Cleanser (Discontinued)
Are we noticing a theme here? Yes, Aveeno is a favourite brand of mine because its products are actually gentle enough for my skin. I don't think I'm getting across how big of a deal that is for me. Even Simple is too harsh for my skin - I'm sorry, but Simple's products are so drying! On the other hand, its as if Aveeno was created with sensitive skin in mind. It's actually more due to the fact that they are all about natural solutions to skin care, but it works for my sensitive skin and for that I am thankful!
Anyway, this face wash cleanses your skin without stripping everything away (unlike Simple, cough!) and is really creamy and moisturizing. It feels like milk!!
I don't even know if this thing is legit brightening my skin; all I know is that it feels so freaking good. Its one of the few toners that does not dry out my skin, and thats a big deal. I would actually buy it again just because of the soothing effect. I only apply it at night because I figure the skin repairs itself the most at night, so it would be most effective then. And I swear when I go to sleep with this thing on, I sleep more peacefully.
Moisturizer - I have two moisturizers right now (I don't use them simultaneously!). Both are old classics and personal favourites of mine.
The first is Clinique's Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion. Its step 3 in Clinique skin care system. Now personally, I found the first two steps (a cleanser and toner) to be mediocre. The toner especially I found to be rather drying. I mean, if you want a drying toner, witch hazel is way cheaper. The moisturizing lotion however is the piece de resistance of that skin care trio. It is so moisturizing. Its like my skin breathes a sigh of relief when I apply it. And it definitely brightens complexion and makes skin look awake.
The second moisturizer is Pond's Clarant B3 - I don't understand how a drugstore product that contains ingredients as harmful as parabens can be this amazing. But it is. And honestly its the only product that lightens my sun spots, treats the hyperpigmentation and treats the sun damage. And the best part about it is that its cheap!! It's less than ten dollars at all the stores I've checked.
Another reason I find it so amazing is that it has this matte effect that is so necessary when you live in the tropics. One of the problems I have with Clinique Dramatically Moisturizing Lotion is that it can leave you feeling greasy because its so creamy. Clarant B3's matte effect means that you don't get all oily and greasy during the day because of the heat.
A word of advice when using this product: I've noticed some people saying they tried it for a week and it had no effect. This product is slow-acting and needs five-six weeks before you see any real improvement. You also need to use it religiously day and night for it to work properly.
Sunscreen - Clinique's SPF 30 Face Cream. War-paint. For some people war-paint is their make-up. For me, sunscreen. I do battle with the sun with it on. I rarely win, but at least it gives me a fighting chance.
Finally, at night, after toner I sometimes use Olay's Complete Plus Ultra-Rich Night Firming Cream (Possibly discontinued).
I only use this when my skin is feeling particularly tired or dry. I know I should use it every night but some nights I just don't feel like it. Its so rich that it feels rather heavy. And I can't sleep with a heavy face on. And I swear it only made my smile lines more prominent. I'm on the lookout for another night firming cream, something lightweight.
I don't know if this rates as part of my regime because I hardly ever wear make-up, but when I do I always take it off with Pond's Cold Cream. I swear by it. It even takes off waterproof mascara like a dream. Such a classic. Its rather creamy and rich though, so afterwards I deliberately use one of those drying Simple cleansers to get rid of the greasy feeling.
Some products I want to add to my regime are After sun care lotion, a correcting serum, and maybe another night cream because I'm definitely over Olay. And I'd like to try a mud mask. If anyone knows of one that I can use on my sensitive skin, please let me know! I also wanna try MAC's volcanic ash but it looks too harsh and stripping for my sensitive skin. Ah well. C'est la vie.
Whew! That was intense! Off for a nap! In the shade or inside of course!