Diary, Feb. 27th: Falling down the online skincare rabbit hole


I did a dumb thing: I joined a FB skincare group, primarily for women over 35, and it’s really intense.

I never knew how much I wasn’t doing to my face, when, I guess, I should have been doing things to my face to make it dewy and glowy and not like I’ve enjoyed the sun / red wine a little too much in my 38 years on earth.

But I forgot, in doing all of the scrolling and reading about serums, acids, face masks and extractions, that I have rosacea. My rosacea is nothing crazy, just a tad of redness. But it means my skin is more sensitive than most. And so I tried all of these newfangled serums and acids and my skin freaked the eff out.

It’s seductive, isn’t it? Looking online for the thing that will stop the aging process. That will change you. That will somehow help.

But, ladies, marketers know this. They understand this desire. And so market to us they do.

I hate that I allow myself to succumb to this ploy. Why don’t I just go to the dermatologist, get some real medical advice (and products) and go on with my life?

Which brings me to the fact in this exciting story that I did go to the dermatologist because my skin was so inflamed. And she looked at my skin and kind of grimaced.

“Less is better when it comes to face stuff,” she said. “You have to be careful about disrupting the outer skin layer. If you do, there will be inflammation.”

Here are her tips, which are terribly unsexy and boring.

  • For exfoliation, use a washcloth when you rinse your face off in the morning. There is no need to clean it with soap.
  • For skin washing at night, use just a touch of Cetaphil.
  • For moisture (both at night and in the morning), use CeraVe.
  • For anti-aging / rosacea  treatment, use Finacia (a topical foam, prescription only)

That’s it. This isn’t fun. It isn’t sexy. But it’s pretty cheap and makes  it so my medicine cabinet isn’t overflowing with unused products. (I also got a mole check, which is why you should go to the dermatologist in the first place.)

For my body, which can get so scratchy in the winter, it can bleed, I use AmLactin, which I call my “old lady moisturizer” because I’m pretty sure it’s prescribed to old women with papery, dry skin (I say “prescribed” but it’s available over the counter). It contains an acid that dissolves the dry skin on your body so that the lotion can actually penetrate it (most lotion will just sit on top of your skin, doing nothing). I’ve used it for about a decade now since my old dermatologist told me about it and my skin has been non-dry and soft ever since. 

Anyway, my skin has gotten so much calmer and happier since I saw my dermatologist. It is no longer inflamed or super dry. It’s just … normal. Which, I think, is the best I can hope for. It may not be glowy or resembling that of a teenager. But at least it doesn’t look like a slice of pepperoni.

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