Wednesday, April 9, 2014

My Skin Is a Liar, Or How One Random Article Saved Me Thousands of Dollars in Dermatologist Bills

Months ago, I read an article. I cannot find this article now because I lack foresight and failed to save it for later. This is because I never thought it would actually have any impact on my life. Oh, was I wrong.

The article was your average "dealing with acne" sort of thing. It talked about cleansers, using oil-free makeup, what sort of treatments you can buy over the counter, when to seek out the help of a dermatologist...mostly it just listed what options of treatment people use normally after reading their first article in a teen magazine about breakouts.

But then it mentioned something I can't remember any other skin care article ever telling me. I wish there had been some mention of this before, because it's a HUGE deal. Really.

I am paraphrasing here, but these are the essentials. Whoever wrote the article said, basically, that your skin can be oily because you have oily skin OR it can be oily because it's super-dry and starving for moisture, and using the toners and salicyclic acid treatments you buy over the counter only drys your skin out more, making it MORE oily and contributing to more breakouts. The author went on to advise using a moisturizer every day, and STOPPING the drying stuff, using a cream cleanser and not a traditional soap, never using toner, and not putting any kind of drying treatment on your skin. They said that a soap may not wash all the way off, so it was important to rinse like crazy, and if you have hard water, used distilled water or one of those pre-moistened wipes you can buy in the skincare aisle.

This was bizarre. It was clearly wrong, I thought. How could that work? I mean, you have to cut through the oil on your skin to get rid of it, right?

The author said our skin is meant to keep oil, because that's what keeps it moist. So, people with dry skin are wrong when we coat our faces with zit cream and hope for relief.

I did buy the pre-moistened wipes, though, and the difference was huge. Suddenly my breakouts were way less frequent. In fact, I risked it and bought a full-sized bottle of the Sensitive Skin moisturizer from Burt's Bees, which I liked when I tried the sample.

And do you know what? My skin got even better. It was less oily. I had even fewer breakouts. But then winter came, and the change seemed to reverse. So I took a risk and tried a heavy-duty moisturizer--Benefit's Total Moisture Facial Cream. I have their eye cream. The eye cream is great. I hoped Total Moisture would be that awesome.

It is even more awesome. My skin has not looked this good since I was in my first year of college. I don't know why no one ever mentioned this dry-skin stuff to me before. All I was ever told was that I had "combination" skin and it was a good idea to dry out the oily part and leave the rest of my face alone. What a lie. Apparently, this whole time, my skin has been begging me for a real moisturizer and it has responded with great joy.

I've been using it for a month. The difference is astounding. My skin is not only well behaved, it also just FEELS better. I wish I knew where I'd read that article, because the author deserves a statue, maybe even a shrine. He or she is the BEST. I wish I could send them flowers or my firstborn child.

So. Here is my recommendation. If you have consistently dry skin that isn't quenched by daily moisturizer, and you are ready for a change, try Benefit's Total Moisture cream. It has a light scent, but it isn't enough to hurt me, so no one else is likely to even notice a scent at all. It goes on slightly greasy, but it soaks into your skin after a few seconds. If it doesn't do this, you're using too much, so cut back on the amount you're using each application.

It is expensive. But it is worth it. I want to have the babies of this moisturizer and name them after the author of the skincare article. I'm considering getting a tattoo of the bottle. Don't you judge me. There are days I don't even think I need to wear foundation, and I haven't felt that way since I was a kid.

As I wrote this, I ran a search and noticed that quite a few other people have caught on to oily skin really being dry and dehydrated skin. Here's one such blog post.

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