More and more often, I see women complain in online forums that they have “sensitive” skin. They may be prone to breakouts, dryness, or blotchiness—or all three. And, increasingly, they are buying a large array of products to deal with each specific problem as it arises.

How to Simplify Your Skincare Routine

Do you need to cut some steps out of your skincare routine?

When discussing these issues with NaturallyCurly members, I’ve been shocked by the lists of products that some say they use on their faces on a weekly, and sometimes daily, basis. It includes wrinkle creams, eye creams, exfoliating crystals, anti-acne products, anti-redness serums, skin brighteners, primers, makeup and any other potion they think will work for their particular “problem”.

Two things stand out in my mind when I read these lists: a lot of people are still skipping sunscreen, and there seems to be sheer terror about developing wrinkles among the under-30 set.

Ladies—it is time to simplify your skin care routine!

Consider this: the cause of your “sensitive” skin may be the excess of products you don’t actually need that interact badly together, as well as the harsh scrubs you’re using to exfoliate.

Cleansing should be a ritual for removal of makeup and the dirt and grime of everyday living (especially for city dwellers”>. What it cannot do, no matter what any company says to the contrary, is offer treatment for acne or wrinkles. No cleanser stays on your skin long enough to provide any treatment benefit whatsoever.

This is the step in our skin-care regimens that has the greatest chance of damaging our skin. Many people use cleansers that are too strong in order to “feel clean,” or they use a scrub to exfoliate, or they rub at their eyes to remove makeup.

Start with your product selection. Choose gel or cream cleansers. You want to avoid stripping all the natural oils out of your skin, even if you have acne. That “tight” feeling might mean that your face is squeaky clean. But it will also stimulate your oil glands to produce even more oil to moisturize itself. Look for a product that softens as well as cleanses. Avoid foaming products or those that promise “deep” cleaning.

At the recommendation of a dermatologist, I have used Spectro-Jel for almost 20 years. Two other products that are often recommended are Phisoderm and Cetaphil. Phisoderm has recently reformulated its product line to include an anti-blemish gel cleanser and a dry-skin-friendly cream cleanser. Two other gel cleansers to try include Garnier Pure Daily Cleansing Gel and Shiseido Pureness Cleansing Gel.

I use a generic brand similar to Oil of Olay’s Daily Facials cleansing cloths. If I feel I need extra help removing waterproof eye makeup, I like Avon Moisture Effective Eye Makeup Remover Lotion. It effectively dissolves everything on my face, allowing me to gently remove all traces of makeup – and I wear a LOT of eye makeup!

The No. 1 thing I caution you to avoid in the cleansing step is any product with crushed shells as a scrub. The crushed shells can tear at your skin. And if you already have acne, it can tear open zits and make more tears in your skin, potentially spreading infection

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