For as long as I can remember I have been slathering my face with moisturizer, Aquaphor specifically, to make sure I had the thickest layer of moisturizer on so that I could avoid even the slightest bit of dehydration in my skin.
Ever since I was a baby I’ve dealt with eczema. It started off on my cheeks, and eventually went away, then from about the age of 7 to 14 my hands and inside of my elbows were covered in dry, itchy patches. I always kept a tube of aquaphor in my desk, locker, or backpack, because I was so terrified of my skin getting dry and itchy again. Miraculously, after the worst flair up ever when I was 14 – I’m talking the entire length of my arms and hands – it just disappeared. I started using a steroid cream and it was gone.
Having spent the first 14 years of my life concerned about my skin’s hydration levels, and staying away from irritants, that routine is still present at 22 years old. I’ve delved deeper into the skincare world, learning about new products, and what is best for what types of skin, and from 14 – 21 years old my only skin concern was making sure I didn’t break out. I still had dry skin, but not as bad as I did with eczema. And just like that, who knows what happened, but the summer of 2018 my eczema came back and has probably been the most annoying to deal with. This time around it’s around my mouth, and the inner corner of my eyes, and occasionally on my hands and elbows. Before this, I was testing products left and right, and now I’ve had to be a little more careful with what I try so that I don’t irritate my skin more.
I’ve struggled for the past two-ish years, but I THINK I have gotten down a somewhat perfect routine to prevent and manage my eczema when I have flair ups, while also taking great care of my skin. I want to note, that these products are also really great for anyone with normal to dry skin, or with super sensitive skin.
Below you’ll see a full list of my skincare routine and all of the products I use and 1000000% recommend for anyone dealing with similar problems as me. I also recommend these for anyone with any other type of skin because they are so basic,
Every morning and every night I use the CeraVe Foaming Facial Cleanser – they also have a Hydrating Facial Cleanser that I use too (I use them interchangeably). It’s a great way to remove makeup, and build-up in your pores from the day, and a great refresher first this in the morning.
Once or twice a week I use the Philosophy Mircrodelivery Exfoliating Face Wash. I find it wipes away all my dead skin, and clears my skin up so well. I’ve been using it for about four years now and cannot imagine trying anything else on my face. Its not too harsh, but you can tell it’s getting the job done, and it can double as an exfoliating face mask if you let it sit for about 10-15 mins. Some people I know find the exfoliating beads to be a little harsh, so I would recommend testing before purchasing because it is a little pricey.
Now is when I begin to use my products. First, I tone with The Ordinary’s Glycolic Acid Toning Solution. I started using it when my eczema wasn’t as active because I know toner can be harsh for some people. It took some time for my skin to adjust because it does sting a bit, but I’ve been using it for about six months now, and I’ve noticed a significant fading of my acne scarring and my skin tone appears to be evening out and brighter. 10/10 recommend - just ease into using it, as it can be a bit intense at first.
I have been struggling to find an eye cream for a year now. I used to love the Ole Henriksen Banana Bright Eye Cream, but once my eczema started developing around my eyes it wasn’t hydrating enough and irritated my eyes a bit. If you’re not suffering with that like me, I recommend it. The cream definitely brightened my dark circles, and was a great base under makeup.
I recently discovered the CeraVe Eye Repair Cream, which has changed my life. It is so moisturizing and has been so delicate on my eczema. It’s a thicker consistency so it doesn’t work the absolute best under eye makeup, but if you let it settle for a few minutes it can work just as well.
I’m all about the treatment step in my routine, so I have a few that I use on a daily basis. I use incorporate a vitamin C serum, a hyaluronic acid serum, and a retinoid serum into my routine, but these can differ depending on your skins needs.
The trick when applying these is to apply in a specific order – lightest consistency to heaviest. In this case, I use my Hydrating Hyaluronic Acid serum from CeraVe, then my Vitamin C serum from The Ordinary, and finally the Sunday Riley High-Dose Retinol Serum. This combination has been so moisturizing for my skin, and my skin has become so much brighter since using them. I will note the Vitamin C serum stings a bit so be extra careful and avoid your eyes or other sensitive spots on your face, but I have seen so much of my scarring start to fade.
Retinol is one treatment that I’ve recently learned are so important in your routine. Retinol helps stimulate collagen production and increase skin turnover, while smoothing fine lines and wrinkles and any uneven skin tone in the process. It is the greatest anti-aging tool. It can be intense for a lot of people so you should always start off slow, and then incorporate in for about 3-4 times a week. I haven’t had any issues with Sunday Riley one, but its just a sample so I haven't been able to see its long-lasting effects. I am waiting to go to a Sephora and get some samples to test out.
It could be from my days of rubbing in a thick slab of Aquaphor, but this my absolute favourite step. I use two different moisturizers – one for the day, and one for the night. During the day, I use the Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Moisturizer + Sunscreen. SPF is so important regardless of if you’re going out or not, or if its sunny or not. Always wear SPF. This one is great because its two-in-one, and its light enough to wear under makeup while still keeping my skin super moisturized.
In the evenings, I use Ponds Dry Skin Cream. Super simple and super moisturizing. There’s not much else to it. I like that it’s a bit of a thicker consistency and when I wake up in the mornings I don’t feel all dried up. I’ve been using Ponds for about 8 years now, and I keep going back to it no matter how many different moisturizer samples I get in my beauty boxes.
This is a product I just started using, and I think I really like. I was worried at first that it was too much and would clog my pores, but O M G the hydration is unbelievable. I got this CeraVe Face Oil to test how I like the feel and incorporating into my skincare routine has been amazing. Personally, I only use it at night because it is thicker and it’s harder to layer makeup over, but it’s a personal choice. Definitely recommend this CeraVe one, its such a basic oil, but I will be trying new ones once I can get into a Sephora and get some samples!
To top it all off, when I'm in the mood I like to use a jade roller on my face. It feels best when its cold, but if I'm being completely honest, I really don't think it does anything. It just feels nice and as if I'm getting a face massage. Totally not necessary, but fun to do when you want to treat yourself.
There you have it – my skincare routine! My favourite part of my day is doing my daily routine, hence the detail and numerous products I use. I don’t think a routine has to be this intense; it really is dependent on what your skin is like.
I want to stress that this is my perfect routine for my dry, eczema prone skin. Its great for similar dry, sensitive skin, but I also recommend for anyone with normal to oily skin. I would not follow my recommendations for face oil or moisturizers, you may need something a tad lighter, but everything else I promise is worth the purchase and note too crazy on the wallet!
Hope this helps for anyone struggling like me or trying to build their routine. Let me know if you have any product recommendations or need any advice – I’m all ears!