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Rinse and Repeat. And Repeat. And Repeat.

By Amalah

Dear Amalah,
I have a wierd skin issue. Well, a skin & religion issue.
I have really dry skin in the cheek area, like itchy patchy, stop-picking-at-that dry skin. The T-zone area is not dry, but not very oily either. I used Philosophy’s Hope in a Jar and the cheeks were still dry so I had to switch to the one for dry or sensitive skin. It works better but feels kind of greasy on the T-zone area. But I’m okay with it.
The real problem is that I wash my face five times a day. I’m muslim and I make prayers five times a day and you have to wash up beforehand, which includes rinsing your hands, arms, face ears, nose, mouth and feet in water. This happens at 5am, 1pm, 4pm, 6pm and 11pm (or so). I do to skincare thing in the morning and evening, but its just too much to reapply a full moisturizer three more times during the day. Is there something I could be doing to make my skin better? Is there a lighter kind of moisturizer-kind of product and is it okay to use that much? Also it’s winter and in a pinch I have been known to just smother my face in Aveeno hand lotion. I’m guessing I should stop that?
Thanks!
Bethany

Wow, you guys have been on fire with the head-scratcher questions lately. I kind of love it, especially since it gives me an excuse for the all the endless lurking in the Health & Beauty aisles at Target, because now I have a purpose! I am seeking inspiration! For the people!
Before it was just creepy and a little sad.
ANYWAY. Yes, the washing five times a day is going to be killer on dry skin. My face feels itchy and tight just from thinking about it.
I’ve got a slew of different ideas (of varying potential and quality and obviousness) for you, so I’m just going to list them all out and you can pick and choose which one(s) sound(s) the best(est)(s).
img_gentle_cleanser_seal.jpg1) Cetaphil. Old skool! Cetaphil is a non-soap cleanser/moisturizer combo, and if I can get all bossy for a second (HA), I don’t want soap coming NEAR your face, ever. The constant face-washing is stripping all the natural oils from your face, and you don’t need a cleanser taking even more. There are lots of soap-free cleansers out there, but Cetaphil is my favorite for super-dry or sensitive skin. Bonus: it can be used without water for long-lasting protection. Double Bonus: is cheapy cheap.
2) Curel. My combination skin gets ridiculous in the winter, and I’ve finally accepted the fact that I need to use two moisturizers — one for my oily, blackhead-prone T-zone and one for my patchy dry cheeks. I use Philosophy Hope in a Bottle on my T-zone but followed the advice y’all gave in the comments and started using Curel on the dry areas, since even us hardcore product junkies have to cry uncle at some point over the price of all this stuff.
If you’re not having problems with clogged pores or irritation from any of the ingredients, I see no reason why you can’t use as much moisturizer as you want. I’d avoid lathering up your T-zone every time, but rubbing a gentle moisturizer on your cheeks after each washing is totally fine. And since you can use the Curel on your hands as well, you can just swap the Aveeno hand lotion for the Curel and ta-da! It’s a single-bottle, low-maintenance routine that won’t cost a lot of money.
(Oh! Totally not skin related, but the same combo trick is also good for taming frizzy hair. Just moisturize your hands and then rub them over your hair for instant smoothiness. I love when products pull double-duty.)
3) Bottled water. A lot of the dryness could be due to the water you’re using. Hard water will dry your skin out like CRAZY, so consider washing your face with bottled mineral or distilled water instead. (You also might want to drink more of the stuff too.) Also, the water you use on your face should be no warmer than room temperature — the hotter the water, the dryer your skin.
4) Humidifiers. If you don’t have one already, get a humidifier going in your bedroom every night. In fact, anyone who ever complains about itchy “winter skin” should use one.
borba.jpg5) BORBA. This is one is mostly to offset all the inexpensive stuff I’ve recommended, because where’s the fun in that? Right? The somewhat-kooky BORBA line is based on the idea that while we can slather our skin with liquid diamonds or whatever the hell all the livelong day, really healthy skin comes from within. Proper vitamins and hydration and such. Which…kind of hard to argue with, no? The lychee powders and drinks are recommended for very dry skin, and in your case, with the constant washing off / reapplication of products routine that must get REALLY OLD, this could be a less annoying way to achieve balanced skin.

Amalah
About the Author

Amy Corbett Storch

Amalah

Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Ama...

Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Amalah. Also, it’s pronounced AIM-ah-lah.

If there is a question you would like answered on the Advice Smackdown, please submit it to amyadvice@gmail.com.

Amy also documented her second pregnancy (with Ezra) in our wildly popular Weekly Pregnancy Calendar, Zero to Forty.

Amy is mother to rising first-grader Noah, preschooler Ezra, and toddler Ike.

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