essential items for dry, problem skin


I was told acne would only last through puberty, so when I turned twenty-four this year and was somehow still suffering, I went on a search and discovered there was way more to skincare than I thought possible (cue math lady meme). I learned about the importance of AHAs, BHAs, pH level, acids, peels, serums, stacking moisturizers – it was a whole new world. Knowledge truly is power because in the last 6 months, I’ve seen a huge difference in my skin – hundo percent.

The first thing I learned was that I didn’t actually have oily skin. My whole life I thought that I had Mrs. Lovett’s meat pies’ oily skin, because the products I was using were way too harsh and my skin was overcompensating to try and balance itself out. I now know that I actually have very dry skin and simply knowing that has done wonders for my skincare. I’ve also learned how important moisturizing is in keeping my face clear. I don’t know the reason behind it, but for me dry skin is the kiss of death in my journey to clear skin. For those who, like me, are pale and acne prone, here is my list of gentle products to treat problem skin by giving it the moisture and love it needs.


Boscia Exfoliating Peel Gel
If you've ever watched the skin-melting scene from Raiders of the Lost Ark and thought to yourself, “Wow. I would love to incorporate that into my skincare routine,” Boscia has you covered. The science behind this stuff mystifies me. All you have to do is apply the exfoliator to your dry face and then literally rub the dead skin off with your hands. It's slightly gross, but immensely satisfying. Bonus points in my book – it’s gentle enough to use multiple times a week, so you can generate crazy cell turnover and be as glowing as my skin care idol, Karamo.


Fresh Soy Face Cleanser
Recently, I learned about the importance of pH levels in cleansers and how detrimental a cleanser that is too acidic can be to your delicate, beautiful face. After years of using cleansers that stripped my skin and left it feeling like the mined side of a mountain, I finally learned that skin that feels “squeaky clean” right after a shower is a huge red flag for very dehydrated skin. Fresh’s Soy Face Cleanser is the exact opposite of the cleansers I had been misusing for years. It is so gentle and nourishing that if it could, it would take you into its bosom and rock you to sleep. It is an absolute must for those suffering from dry skin.

Fresh Rose Moisturizer
Wow! Two Fresh products, am I sponsored by them? I wish. This brand is truly so great, and if you love yourself, you will try it out. This product is like a Craigslist job posting because it feels too good to be true. They’ve liquidized velvet and made it into a moisturizer that’s decently affordable. If you think bunny ears are soft, you will be in for quite a treat after using this stuff. I cannot recommend this product enough for both locking in moisture and giving you the softest skin not currently worn by a newborn.


Squalane Oil
I also highly recommend squalane oil for those who use serums in their routine. What's so great about squalane oil? Well, it is super hydrating, naturally occurring in skin, and unlike other popular serums, it is stable and doesn't break down in a few months. My skin can’t get enough of this stuff. It’s a total thirst trap. The Ordinary offers squalane oil at an affordable price, and Sephora also offers it from the many brands it carries. I was given an unmarked bottle by my wonderful facial lady, but I would not recommend going this route if you have a vengeful stepmother.


La Roche-Posay Sunscreen (French)
Sunscreen is a must if you are a pasty, ghost of a human like me. In an effort to not look like a National Geographic close up and keep my skin nice and hydrated, I've incorporated sunscreen into my daily routine. This stuff is awesome. One thing I've run into with sunscreens is that they claim to be non-comedogenic, but your face the next morning says otherwise. This stuff truly will not make you break out and is light enough to wear under makeup, offering great protection throughout the day. I like the French version because some very earnest fellow skincare lovers convinced me that the FDA is 10 years behind in approving sunscreen, while European brands are at the forefront of sunscreen technology. And that’s exactly where I want to be, baby. If you are still holding a grudge against France because that waiter in Paris totally mocked you when you tried to order in French, I'm sure their American line of sunscreens is deliciously moisturizing and fabulously protective as well.

Bonus Product: A+D Zinc Oxide Diaper Rash Cream
Have I lost my mind? No, trust me. This stuff works miracles on acne, even those tricky hormonal ones. Just dab it on any of your blemishes before bed, call someone Daddy, and in the morning you will wake up blemish and diaper rash-free.