8 Changes I Made To My Nightly Skincare Routine That Significantly Soothed And Hydrated My Sensitive Skin

·7 min read

Hi! I'm Fabiana, here again to talk about one of my true loves: skincare. As I've mentioned in previous posts, I love researching and learning everything I possibly can about the products I put on my face.

And since I spend a good amount of time learning about skincare to the best of my ability, I wanted to share some of those learnings in hopes that they might be useful for anyone also troubleshooting their skincare routine.

I categorize my skin as being sensitive and combination. Until recently, I honestly never put much thought into using products that were meant for my specific skin type.

Quick skincare recap: Sensitive skin often has symptoms such as skin being reactive. It can have some redness to it and get itchy and dry; and in severe cases, skin can even flake and peel. Combination skin means your T-zone is more oily and your cheeks are on the drier side.

Unfortunately, back in the day I would often get sucked into trying some of the bestselling products on Sephora's shelves instead of picking out products that were actually meant for my skin type.

CBC / Via giphy.com

It has 4 stars and 900 reviews? Say no more! Then I would spend $50 on the so-called "raved about" moisturizer to just get disappointed by it, see no improvement in my skin, and feel the need to either finish it or return it for something else that people love. Sadly, the cycle continued for some time.

When my skin was having a flare-up a few months ago (think: red, bumpy, irritated), I finally came to terms with the fact that my skincare routine was just not cutting it — and I needed to do a full revamp to show my skin the TLC it deserved.

The author showing her dry and red cheek
Fabiana Buontempo

When looking for new skincare products, I kept an eye out for those that were either designed for or safe enough to use on sensitive skin. I also looked for keywords such as calming, soothing, hydrating...all things that my skin needed in its life.

After some trial and error, here are the changes and products that have soothed, calmed, and worked wonders for my sensitive, combination skin.

Note: These are products that I've personally purchased and tried myself. Everyone's skin type is different and you should do your own research to find what works best for you.

CHANGE #1: For starters, I scaled back on how many products I used in my regimen and followed the "less is more" method.

BBC Three / Via giphy.com

You know when they say "listen to your body"? The same goes for "listen to your skin." I wanted to get back to the basics and my sensitive skin really didn't need all of the random serums, oils, and creams I was previously using. In hindsight, I think I was always doing too much to my skin, which further caused it to freak out. I figured I would keep my routine simple: cleanser, toner, serum, moisturizer, occasional exfoliant — and that's it.

CHANGE #2: I chose a creamy, gentle cleanser to cleanse my face with.

The author holding a bottle of her favorite face cleanser

To be honest, I never gave my cleanser much thought. I always knew not to use something too harsh and I typically always aimed for a cream cleanser of some sort (because I heard that was best for sensitive skin). When I decided to do a skincare overhaul, I spent hours reading product descriptions, ingredient lists, and reviews on cleansers.

I wanted something that would rid my face of any dirt, grime, and sweat without being too drying or harsh. I finally landed on First Aid Beauty's Pure Skin Face Cleanser. (First off, I don't know why I've been living under a rock for so long because First Aid Beauty is literally a skincare brand meant for sensitive skin and those who have major skin concerns.)

And now, several months into using it, I can say this creamy, delicate cleanser is the face wash of my dreams. Every time I use it, my face is left feeling clean, soft, and hydrated. I only use it in the morning if I work out and my face is sweaty but other than that, it's my ride-or-die cleanser for nighttime.

Fabiana Buontempo

CHANGE #3: I continued using a toner but went with a more soothing, less drying option.

CHANGE #4: I switched from a physical exfoliator to a chemical one.

The author holding a bottle of her chemical exfoliant

After researching in depth about the different types of exfoliants, consulting with experts, and writing of it in a previous post, my skin has been reacting really well to my chemical exfoliant.

Chemical exfoliants are less intense than their physical counterparts so they can be used every day, as long as one's skin can handle it. Now that I use my Farmacy Deep Sweep pore cleaning 2% BHA toner a few times a week, my cheeks are more hydrated and less red than ever before. (Again, you can read more about this change here.)

Fabiana Buontempo

CHANGE #5: I incorporated a hyaluronic acid into my regimen to hydrate my skin.

The author holding a bottle of her hyaluronic acid

When it comes to combination skin, it can be confusing which products to use since part of your face is oily and the rest is dry. When in doubt, though? Hydrate 👏🏼 that 👏🏼 skin. 👏🏼 I finally got on the hyaluronic acid bandwagon and it's been a game changer in keeping my skin hydrated and less red.

If you're unfamiliar with hyaluronic acid, it's a holy grail product that helps to retain and attract water to keep our skin hydrated. My go-to has been the Skin Pharm Youth Serum Anti-Aging Serum with Peptides, which has honey extract and allantoin to soothe sensitive, dehydrated skin.

The key when using it is to apply it to clean, damp skin and then top if off with a moisturizer to lock in all the hydration. I've noticed a big difference in my cheek area where it was once red and patchy-looking.

Fabiana Buontempo

CHANGE #6: I finally found a hydrating moisturizer that's calming and effective.

The author holding a jar of her favorite moisturizer

I have probably spent the most money buying and trying different moisturizers throughout the years but have always struggled to find one that actually works for my skin type. After some trial and error, I finally landed on the Youth To The People Superfood Air-Whip Moisturizer with Hyaluronic Acid.

This moisturizer is described as "a lightweight moisturizer for combination and oily skin with antioxidant-rich superfoods, cross-linked hyaluronic acid, and essential phytonutrients." That added dose of hyaluronic acid is what I think really adds that extra punch of hydration to my skin to keep it glowing.

Fabiana Buontempo

CHANGE #7: Pair a very thick moisturizer with my everyday moisturizer at night and focus on the trouble spots.

The author holding a thick moisturizer and her regular moisturizer

In addition to my moisturizer, at nighttime when I want to wake up with calm, smooth skin, I add a little bit of Weleda Skin Food, which is a superthick moisturizer, to any parts of my face that need extra hydration (aka my jawline and cheek area). This product also works wonders in the cold winter months.

Fabiana Buontempo

CHANGE #8: I use a dry oil to spot-treat any flare-ups.

The author holding a bottle of dry oil for her skin

The last thing I have in my routine is a go-to product that I use when my skin is acting extra sensitive or having some sort of reaction. The First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Oat & Hemp Seed Dry Oil is a "treatment oil infused with cannabis sativa seed oil and colloidal oatmeal to help de-stress and hydrate dry, reactive, and sensitive skin." If and when I need to use this dry oil for damage control, I wash my face with my usual cleanser and only apply a few drops of the oil to my face along with my moisturizer.

Soon after I do this, my skin will have completely calmed down. I even use this oil after an eyebrow or lip wax to soothe my red skin.

Fabiana Buontempo

Hello even, soothed, and hydrated skin!

The author smiling

As you can tell, it definitely took some time (and some cash) for me to figure out my skincare routine. But I'm relieved that I now think I have it down pat. If you're unsure where to start with selecting the right products for your skin type, I recommend either consulting with a professional or doing your own research to find what will work best for you.

Fabiana Buontempo

What are some of your favorite skincare products that work for your skin type? Tell me in the comments below!

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