Of all the changes I have experienced in my 40’s, moisture has been one of the most evident and dramatic losses. Dry patches on my cheeks and forehead surprised me in my 40th winter and announced an immediate necessity to change my approach to skin care. I had been here before with acne in my teens and cringed at the memories of trialing a multitude of remedies, many of which I was allergic to. Now I needed to go in the opposite direction and the products cost much more than Clearasil. I know from experimenting with anti-aging creams in my 30’s that my hypersensitive skin doesn’t tolerate what is touted as the best drug-store brand facial moisturizer and my budget cannot withstand purchasing even a few top-of-the-line products that do not work.
My daily self-care ritual has become tediously time-consuming, but at least I have more time in the mornings now that sleeping in is not physically possible. Similar to a growing myriad of tasks now essential to my health and well-being, I meet any momentary urge to skip moisturizer with thoughts of undeniable itching.
I began consoling the dry patches by trying facial washes that touted “gentle” and “sensitive skin” on their labels, avoiding brands that had not been the least bit gentle to me in the past. An allergic reaction does not reveal itself until I have used a product for about a week and then it takes two weeks to get over it. If I use another new product before it has resolved it may exacerbate an initial reaction. I can use an anti-aging product once a week as long as it does not promise “cell renewal”. I approached my quest armed with this hard-won historical perspective, which saved me a lot of time, itching, and redness. A solution came in the form of an “ultra calming” facial wash for dry and sensitive skin that let me keep the bit of moisture I have. Fortunately, the
partner moisturizer was also truly calming. My quest turned out to be very different from the acne battle of my teen years. Although I am drier with many more lines and marks on my skin, it seems I am also wiser and realize that a battle is often not necessary.