Post-Accutane skincare for your dry, desiccated husk of a face

Wikipedia | Cassandra, Doctor Who

I regularly feel like Cassandra from Doctor Who. I sort of talk like her, too. Actually, that’s a lie, but you should pretend I do.

As soon as puberty hit, I got greasy. Hair, skin, you name it — and, of course, the acne followed. It didn’t help that because of PCOS, my body was producing all manner of androgens that gave me Super Acne, with the power to leap tall buildings in a single menstrual cycle.

So I nuked my acne with Accutane. I still don’t know if that was the right decision, but for now, I don’t regret it. Well, for the most part.

You see, it is winter here in New Jersey, which this year may as well be New Siberia, and I have Chronic Dry Everything (skin, mouth, eyes) due to Accutane. The air is dry, and to make matters worse, our humidifier is broken. The fiance and I have been flaking all over the place and sort of wishing we had those moisture-recycling suits from Dune, so I’ve been learning to adjust.

So here you go: skincare for dry or dehydrated skin.

What’s the difference between dry and dehydrated skin? Well, dry skin is skin that doesn’t produce enough oil. If you took Accutane, you likely have dry skin. Dehydrated skin is skin that lacks water. Even if you have oily skin, you might wake up after a night of X-TREEM binge drinking with dehydrated skin.

If your skin is dehydrated, drink water like it’s going out of style. Stop reading this blog post and go knock back a glass of water. Do it! (This comes naturally for me because I have dry mouth, so I’m never not thirsty. Silver linings, I guess.)

  1. Cleanse with something other than soap, and use lukewarm or cold water. Everyone’s gotta cleanse their skin — you don’t want all that dirt and bacteria to chill there, forever. And if you think you can’t get acne with dry skin, you’re wrong — all the skin irritation only makes it easier for infections to happen. My recommendation? Good old fashioned cold cream. This cleanses the skin while putting oil — in this case, mineral oil — back into it. At the end of the day, rub the cold cream into your face, rinse it off in the shower, and then apply it again after your shower, before applying your moisturizing cream. Your skin will look balmy come morning — probably.
  2. Moisturize twice daily. I use CeraVe Moisturizing Cream because my dermatologist recommended it. It’s pretty okay! In the morning, I splash my face with warm water, then rub this stuff into my face like I’m trying to penetrate my brain with it. At night, I put it on after my post-shower cold cream application. Yup, I put it on top of my cold cream, because I’m serious about moisture. And here’s where it gets good: I then smear a thin layer of Aquaphor on top. MAXIMUM MOISTURE.
  3. Wear sunblock. Even if it’s winter. Even if you’re tan as hell. Even if you work indoors in the dark. Legit, the sun is your enemy. Okay, it also gives you life, but feel free to show a complete lack of appreciation by blocking its loving rays from your face like they’re trying to kill you. Because they are trying to kill you, and age you in the process. You might be saying, “Well, Natty, you’re so pale you burn looking at postcards,” and it’s true — I can’t speak from experience that your beautiful bronze skin needs sunblock — but I’ve totally read that it does on the Internet, so you can probably trust me here. After I moisturize in the morning, I’ll just plop on a decently thick layer of my SPF 30 BB cream, and feel like I’m doing the responsible thing for my skin.

There you go! Follow these three steps and your face won’t feel like it will split every time you smile… probably. Do you have any great moisturizing tips for dry skin? Please enlighten me in the comments!

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