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Post in Clean Beauty
Sensitive, dry skin, breaking out

I'm at a loss of what to do next to try and get my skin back on track.


For years I used proactiv and it worked great, even though it did severely dry out my skin. I dealt with the super tight, stingy skin after washing because it stopped my blackheads and occasional pimple. I'd slather on lotion to combat the dryness and go about my business. Then it just slowly stopped working to keep my pores clear and stop breakouts.


After a ton of research and debating, I decided to try oil cleansing. It blew my mind. It was so simple and my skin seriously never looked better... for about 3 months. Then my pores started clogging and serious painful pimples started to show up. I've tried switching oils and added a witch hazel toner. I just ended up with extra dry skin and lots of breakouts. I even tried only 'washing' my face with oil once a week and using the witch hazel (unscented, alcohol-free) on the other days. Still dry. Still painfully breaking out. Still blackheads.


I tried Philosphy's 3-in-1 Purity made Simple. It seemed like exactly what I wanted - a simple, easy solution. It was painful to use and my face was red and stinging for a few days after two uses. (I know, why did I bother the second time when the first hurt so much? I don't know...)


I told this story in store and Clinique's Take the Day Off cleansing balm was recommended to me as a cleanser. I used nothing but this for about a week, then added in a gentle drugstore blackhead scrub that I've used and had on hand, hoping to scrub off some of the flakiness. I've been using it every other day or so.


I still have dry, flaky skin from my nose down. My pores are still very clogged. I don't know what to try next. I don't mind spending money if it's going to work, but I hate the idea of spending $40+ on a facial cleanser to try out for a few weeks, putting harsh chemicals all over my face, and ending up with the same painful, red, clogged, flaky skin that I have now.


Help, please.

Re: Sensitive, dry skin, breaking out

Using all sorts of different beauty facial products will not help your skin breathe. It is important to choose the correct and the effective product that will rejuvenate your skin. I just had the same problem like yours but then, just like other face creams with hopes to give me nice smooth skin, Image skincare product benifited me the most and is suitable for all skin types. One thing they boast greatly is intresting mixtures of all natural components, one of the featured ingredient is stem cell.  Once applied it smoothly absorbed into the skin leaving you with a radient, glowing and long lasting younger look. I suggest you to just try this amazing product.

Re: Sensitive, dry skin, breaking out

Thanks to everyone for the suggestions. I hadn't really thought of the idea of "shocking" my skin by going back to a wash.. perhaps that was what happened with the Philosophy.


I think my post may have made the issues seem much worse than they are. Until the last month or so I never would have considered seeing a dermatologist. I definitely don't have acne and am not interested in all sorts of different targeted products (I'm not even sure that I own an 'acne product'). I'm very particular about how I'd like my skin to look and notice slight imperfections. I don't like to wear foundation or much more makeup than a very light coverage mineral powder. When I was using oil cleansing I didn't even need that. I had no visible pores, no breakouts, and didn't need to use additional moisturizers. I guess the fact that it seemed to stop working so suddenly might be reason enough to see a doctor.


I normally wash only once a day.


I've tried the blue Neutrogena in the past with the same tightness that other cleansers give me.


I'm looking for something that's gentle and unscented, hopefully natural/organic as much as possible. I don't want 5 different steps or really even 3.


As of the last two days, I am rotating the Clinique balm and Simple's Micellar water. I used Shea Moisture's African Black Soap Problem Skin Facial Wash once and it seemed to make a huge positive difference. I don't plan on using it more than once a week. 


Re: Sensitive, dry skin, breaking out

If you can't use Neutrogena, try Cerave - I can't, we could be opposite on triggers. I have Sea Moisture black soap bar and it's too drying for me.


Natural/organic isn't always better. You can still react. Dermalogica ultracalming is helping me or Garnier oil cleanser.


Patch test when trying to find the right product. Some brands do mail samples. Possibly Mario Badescu would work, it's gentle - they mail samples based on your answers to their questions and includes a summary of them.

Re: Sensitive, dry skin, breaking out

I feel your pain! My skin is also really sensitive and I know how hard it is to find the right products. I had a similar experience with the Neutrogena face wash, but had a lot of luck with Simple, another drugstore brand. Their foaming face wash is very gentle but cleans well without drying my skin out (which is difficult it itself) and their moisturizer works well and is one of the few that doesn't make my skin burn or break out.


if you're looking for a good natural exfoliator, I can't say enough good things about the ones from Lush, especially Angels on Bare Skin and Let the Good Times Roll. I also really love their Catastrophe Cosmetic mask when I have a bad reaction to other skincare products as you seem to be.

Re: Sensitive, dry skin, breaking out

I agree with seeing a dermatologist.  


In the meantime - and I'm sure you will get some great suggestions as well, but I would try going down to a very gentle cleanser.  I am dry and sensitive too and really like the Simple cleansers from the drugstore.  They are not too expensive and gentle.  I would not use any scrubs since its quite possible that they are making the acne work.  I would pair this with a gentle moisturizer night/day.  If your skin can tolerate this, you can add in serums/specific night creams/more targeted acne treatments sparingly -but it seems like your skin really needs some time to heal before using anything too harsh.  

Re: Sensitive, dry skin, breaking out

Since your skin is very unbalanced, using a scrub that often is not going to help heal the skin. That Clinique is more of a makeup remover than a true cleanser. If you're cleansing twice a day, stop. Try just water for one cleanse.


Basic of the basic cleansers: Neutrogena fresh foaming - blue bottle, more creamy. Dermalogica ultracalming - doesn't even need water.


I would suggest laying off the acne products as well. When a product starts feeling dry, tight, reacts that's time to cut usage back. Ease into usage as well, or the skin can get shocked.


Instead of trying new products, see a dermatologist or even speak with your primary doctor asap. Sounds like this trip is over due.

Re: Sensitive, dry skin, breaking out

I'm a huge advocate for seeing a dermatologist if you've tried other solutions to no avail.  I have skin that is both dry and acne prone and I find I personally do best when I leave all the treatment to prescription creams and pills and then keep the rest of my routine super hydrating and gentle.  I know people often see doctors as expensive but I swear I've saved money in the end by not trying as many products that don't work.

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