Most of us have gone our whole lives as a sort of slave to our skin type. Books like "The Skin Type Solution," every magazine ever, and common sense all collude to tell us there are hard and fast rules for skincare depending on type. I have oily skin and religiously scour ingredient lists for any type of oil. I use almost exclusively "oil free" products. But like many women, I'm not really sure how much good it's done in terms of reducing oil or preventing breakouts.
Oil Cleanse Method
As I said, I have oily skin. So to me, the Oil Cleanse Method (OCM) goes against everything I've been taught is good and holy in skincare. To apply oil directly to my skin is akin to pouring battery acid on the hood of a new car. But, many many people report that it works. Naturally, there are expensive cleansing oils. Some popular ones include Laura Mercier Flawless Skin Purifying Cleansing Oil, $40, and Shiseido's Ultimate Cleansing Oil, $25. (Many commercial oils contain mineral oil, which I've read should never be used on your skin.) But OCM purists recommend regular oils from the grocery or health food store. Castor Oil and Sunflower Seed Oil are recommended on TheOilCleansingMethod.com. You'll change the ratio of Castor to Sunflower oil depending on your skin type. Others have recommended tea tree oil as a natural remedy for acne, so if you're prone to breakouts maybe you want to add some of that into your mix. By all accounts, it can take a while to get your oil blend right, and the massage/steam/repeat ritual for nightly cleansing seems incredibly time consuming to a nation of women who keep face wipes in their nightstands for the nights they can't even be bothered to take their makeup off.
Peels and Exfoliators
For the dry skinned, a face peel or harsh exfoliant probably sounds like taking sand paper to your face. In some cases, it actually is kind of similar — exfoliators with large scratchy chunks or that use sea salt are probably things you'll want to avoid. But sugar scrubs are less harsh and dissolve much more quickly for a less abrasive exfoliation. There are even peels designed for dry skin and to reveal the dewy, glowy new skin underneath. You could try Miracle Skin Hydroactive Microderm, $34, which some people think is too gentle, so it's probably perfect for those with super dry skin who can't handle a more active peel. It's also been compared to La Mer Refining Facial, $80.
Fragranced or Chemical Products
Sensitive skin sufferers are often told to avoid dyes, fragrances or anything overly synthetic in their skincare. The more natural, the better. But, there are some truly amazing products being created in labs that it would be a shame to miss out. Just check with your dermatologist and spot test a small amount of the product on the back of your hand before using it all over your face. On the other hand, some products with natural essential oil fragrances might be fine for your skin, whereas synthetic fragrances are known to wreak havoc.
Having a dermatologist or aesthetician go over your skin annually is a great chance to check in on your skin's health, if your skin type has changed at all, or if there are new products you might want to try. They can also help troubleshoot any new problems you're having, sometimes resulting in you trying a product you might never have tried on your own or that you thought "someone with my skin type" could never use.