Dear Fig+Sage :: My Skin Is So Dry - I'm 33 And My Skin Looks Like A Wrinkly Crepe!
Posted Apr 20 2012 3:22pm
Q:Hello to Fig and Sage! I wanted to start by saying I'm a huge fan of your blog. I've been on a quest now for about a year to try to detox (for lack of a better word) through better food, healthier living (i.e. fitness), and cleaner products. Your blog has been a huge resource for me and I deeply appreciate it. In most areas, my journey has been a successful one. However, I've run into a brick wall with my dry and sensitive skin. Here's what I currently use: Acure Organics argan oil followed by Zoe Organics Extreme Cream and often followed by Weleda Skin Food.
I also always try to use sunscreen but most of the physical blocks I've tried only seem to exacerbate my problem; I currently use a sunscreen by Sanre. I "wash" my face only at night and only with apricot kernel oil. However, my skin is still chronically dry, flaky, dehydrated, and it feels uncomfortable to be very mobile with my facial expressions - almost like I'm going to crack something. I'll wake up in the morning with actual skin flakes or rough patches - gross but true - and when I smile, my skin almost looks like wrinkly crepe! I'm 33 and only fine lines around my eyes (just beginning crow's feet) so I think this is also just due to moisture loss. Could I sound more hyperbolic?! :)
My current solution - just throw more and more moisturizer on top of the problem - clearly isn't the fix...I've tried lots of other products (coconut oil, baobab oil, almond oil, lots of other creams, etc.) and I'm just at a loss. I am certainly not giving up clean products to trek back into the chemical jungle but I'm just not certain what to try next. I've thought about going to see a dermatologist - and still might - but I know they might recommend products with ingredient lists I don't feel comfortable with and I hate throwing money at products (which I've been doing for the past several months) on solutions that don't seem to helping.
I know you get tons of emails and you may never be able to respond to this one but I wanted to throw it out there just in case. I appreciate you even reading it. :)
KB + + + + + +
A: Hey Kate!
Thanks for your email and your sweet compliment!! I'm thrilled that you have made a switch towards a healthier lifestyle and that we have helped you on your wellness path.
Okay, let's get down to business -
My initial thought is that if you've tried a ton of extremely moisturizing topical products and nothing is working it's time to look at an internal remedy rather than an external one. Or rather, attack it from both angles: topical and internal. With a situation like this you've got to scale way back with product so that you can pinpoint what is/is not helping (with way too many ingredients, it will be very difficult to do this) and simple oftentimes is the best answer in terms of what troubled skin needs.
The first step to hydrating your skin is to hydrate your body.
You may not feel thirsty but the description of your skin sounds like it is dehydrated.
Here's what I would do if I were you:
1). Drink 64 ounces of water per day. Add lemon or lime juice for some flavor or make cranwater (28 oz plain water + 4 oz unsweetened cranberry juice, add Stevia to sweeten if desired). I also love to make herbal iced tea in the Summer - so refreshing!
2). Consume 2-3 Tablespoons of healthy oil per day (flax seed oil, evening primrose seed oil, black current seed oil, coconut oil...). I recommend doing this through food as well as via supplements. I usually add 1 Tablespoon of Barlean's flax seed oil (the best tasting, in my opinion) to my breakfast smoothie and I use 1/2 Tablespoon of coconut oil on my toast, and then I take 2 capsules of black current seed oil at lunch and 2 capsules at dinner. I also drizzle flax seed oil (some people can't handle the flavor without masking it in a smoothie though) or olive oil on steamed veggies or I make a healthy salad dressing with organic olive oil and put on my salads.
3). Cut back on your skincare product usage and use only one brand. Also, you need to exfoliate to get the flakes off so the moisture can penetrate your skin. Have you checked out our recommendations for dry skin here ? A simple regimen with very simple ingredients is a good place to start.
4). Greatly reduce and/or eliminate drinks and food that dehydrate the body and skin like coffee, soda, salt.
5). Use a hydrating facial mask 2-3 times per week. A DIY honey mask is great for this and you can make it at home. Or if you'd rather buy one, we have some suggestions here .
Hope this helps! We're posting here because we've had several other questions come in like this and we have a lot of skin care experts who read and I'm sure they'll be able to weigh in with their recommendations as well.