If it feels like no matter how much moisturizer you slather on, your face still looks blotchy, irritated and dry, there's a good reason. "Our skin naturally loses moisture and gets thinner as we age, causing it to become much more fragile and susceptible to inflammation," says New York City dermatologist Craig Austin, MD. But you don't have to see red. These three brilliant solutions can help keep your skin flare-up free.
"An easy way to stop adverse reactions is to avoid what triggers them," explains Neal Schultz, MD, a New York City dermatologist. Steer clear of long, hot showers and cleansers containing solvents like mineral oil or petrolatum, which can strip your skin of its natural oils, drying it out and causing ruddiness. Toss any skincare products with artificial dyes and fragrances, as both are common irritants.
"Brushes can hold bacteria, which can cause aggravations to recur. Instead, use disposable sponges you can toss after each use," says Susan Posnick, a celebrity makeup artist in Dallas. And keep a skin correcting powder on hand to spot-treat blotches. One Posnick likes: Physicians Formula Mineral Wear Talc-Free Mineral Correcting Powder ($13.95; at drugstores). Swirl together the three shades—pink (to brighten), yellow (to add warmth) and green (to mask redness)—and brush it on the affected area.
Apparently, milk does a body and itchy, irritated skin good. "When your skin is inflamed, its pH has become either too acidic or too basic, which causes a burning or stinging sensation," explains Dr. Schultz. "The proteins found in cow's milk neutralize this imbalance, helping to restore normal pH levels and calm your complexion." Also, lactic acid—a key chemical found in milk—gently dissolves dry, dead skin cells to reveal fresher-looking skin. Once a week, soak a soft cloth in a cup of cold milk (any kind will do), gently wring it out and place it over your face for 5 minutes.
Nip sensitivity in the bud with these soothing, hydrating picks.
To remove impurities without overdrying, use this cream cleanser. Witch hazel and aloe hydrate and counter irritation. Dickinson's Original Witch Hazel Gentle Skin Cleanser, $6.99; at Walgreens stores
Smooth on this face cream with glycerin to moisturize, allantoin to promote healing and bisabolol, a calming chamomile derivative. Simple Sensitive Skin Experts Vital Vitamin Day Cream SPF 15, $10.99; at Target stores
Retinol, the gold-standard ingredient for erasing fine lines and wrinkles, can be harsh. This nighttime lotion has a lower dose to prevent redness. RoC Retinol Correxion Sensitive Night Cream, $19.99; at drugstores
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