Can you recommend a protective cream that's good for my skin type?
January 19, 2012 4:41 PM   Subscribe

It's been colder than usual here lately (below freezing) and my face is quite red, probably from exposure. I'd like to find a cream I can put on before I go out to protect my face. I have very pale, somewhat sensitive skin that breaks out easily, and is not normally dry. I usually wash my face with Dr. Bronner's once a day and I don't wear makeup. Can you recommend a protective cream that's good for my skin type?
posted by smilingtiger to Grab Bag (28 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
I'd switch from Dr. Bronner's to something much less harsh, first, along the lines of Cetaphil's face wash.
posted by croutonsupafreak at 4:44 PM on January 19, 2012 [5 favorites]

croutonsupafreak, that occurred to me as I was typing my question! I will try that as well.
posted by smilingtiger at 4:47 PM on January 19, 2012

I like Aveeno's "ultra calming daily moisturizer". In my experience, it really helps to reduce redness. I also have pale, sensitive, acne-prone skin.
posted by epj at 4:51 PM on January 19, 2012 [3 favorites]

Cerave makes some good moisturizers that you can get at your local drugstore. My skin dries out like crazy in the wintertime and Cerave is the only product I've tried where I don't see little dry patches on my face. I'm not sure if they make a moisturizer with sun protection, but they probably do.

Seconding the switch from Dr. Bronner's to something else. Paula Begoun, oft recommended around here, gives some good tips as to "natural" ingredients to avoid (mint, eucalyptus, etc.) because they are irritants. I've used CVS's knockoff of Cetaphil for some time and I'm happy with it.
posted by Currer Belfry at 4:52 PM on January 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

Ouch, please! Stop washing your sensitive dry face with Dr. Bronners! Try Cetaphil or this great Cleansing Oil (it's been more successful and easier than the infamous oil cleansing method).

As for a daytime moisterizer, this Complex 15 is very simple and has SPF. This CeraVe is also a good, simple face cream for daily use. Or this Olay.

Put on a thicker moisterizing cream at night, rinse gently in the morning, and put on face cream with SPF every day of the year!
posted by barnone at 4:54 PM on January 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

I'd recommend both the Cetaphil face wash (make sure it's the "Gentle Skin Cleanser," not the "Daily Facial Cleanser" - the latter is pretty harsh in my experience) and the Cetaphil Moisturizing Lotion. Also maybe wash your face at night, and not in the morning. You can splash your face with water or a gentle toner in the morning and apply lotion after it dries. I do this in the winter and it keeps my face from getting parched.
posted by wondermouse at 4:56 PM on January 19, 2012

Seconding epj's Aveeno Ultra Calming Daily Moisturizer recommendation. I also have pale skin sensitive to cold weather. And I wear it all year round for sun protection.
posted by dayintoday at 4:59 PM on January 19, 2012

I tried the Cetaphil gentle skin cleanser for a while and never felt like it actually got my skin clean. Have you tried Noxzema? I use that at night followed by the oft-recommended Cetaphil in a tub and don't get too dried out anymore.
posted by jabes at 5:01 PM on January 19, 2012

I've said this before on the Green, but I really recommend moisturizing with oils. I've successfully used jojoba, squalane, argan, and tamanu, and I have pale, acne-prone skin that's very sensitive and gets red at the drop of a hat (especially in the Boston winter winds!). None of these have broken me out, and the oil dries very fast, and leaves skin feeling velvety and soft, with no dry patches. They also seem to protect against wind-chap much better than lotions, to me. Jojoba might be a good place to start: while it seems to me a little less rich than the other oils, it's super easy to find at places like Trader Joe's (last time I bought it, it was around $7 for a 4 oz bottle that lasts forever!). I often put a bit more on before I head out, and I really do feel that they help my sensitive face skin from being dried out and chapped. Also, as others have mentioned, I'd recommend a less harsh cleanser too (I use Terralina, but Cetaphil is also good).
posted by UniversityNomad at 5:02 PM on January 19, 2012 [2 favorites]

I LOVE argan oil for dry skin. It's super trendy now, but I find it works really well, and has the added benefit of reducing my fine wrinkles (probably due to dry skin anyway). Love that stuff.
posted by gingembre at 5:12 PM on January 19, 2012

I'd recommend trying Dr. Hauschka Rose Day Cream.
posted by doomtop at 5:16 PM on January 19, 2012

For serious cold and wind-burn protection I recommend Aquaphor. If it's just getting dried out, it's probably overkill.
posted by the young rope-rider at 5:28 PM on January 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

To protect you from the exposure, Aquaphor.

(on preview, GMTA, rope-rider.)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 5:30 PM on January 19, 2012

You can try rubbing vitamin E oil on your freshly washed face at night before bed and let it soak in before retiring (so it won't stain your sheets). I have fair, sensitive skin and do this only when it gets super dried out. Like around this type of year. You can find it in the vitamin aisle at most pharmacies and grocery stores.
posted by floweredfish at 5:32 PM on January 19, 2012

I have extremely annoying eczema (it flares whenever my skin dries out too much) and I use Vanicream to keep my skin moisturized. I like it much more than Cetaphil; I don't feel like there's a sheen of oil on top of my skin.
posted by kdar at 5:36 PM on January 19, 2012

It;s sort of expensive but Clinique's moisture surge keeps my pasty, sensitive skin from burning here in Chicago, where it's real harsh outside right now. Sometimes before bed i resort to just rubbing a bit of olive or grapeseed oil on my face.
posted by shrimpsmalls at 6:19 PM on January 19, 2012

Wow, no one has mentioned it yet.
Buy a jar of coconut oil, the kind found in the cooking aisle at the grocery store. Warning, might cause adiction and you might find yourself with 5 jars around the house.

I always use coconut oil. Everyday. If I dont use it, my skin hurts if I just dare to *smile* ! It feels like my skin is cracked/bleeding.

To wash my face, I rinse with cool water, oil my face, then wash again with cool water. No soaps. You might need a little warmer water to get rid of excess oil, but there'sd no need to be harsh.

To apply oil for the day, after I wash my face, I'll put lots of oil on my face. It feels disgusting. But let it sit for 30 seconds or so, then pat the excess gently with a paper towel. Generally the excess is around the nose and on the temples.

By the time you go outside the oil will be all absorbeb by your skin. Do it when you get up and before you go to bed.

This is the only thing that has worked for my face in this cold weather... good luck :-)
posted by midnightmoonlight at 6:26 PM on January 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

I went through this recently and I do have one caveat. If you are allergic to ragweed, 90% of the "calming" creams will make your face redder and itchy. Aveeno has feverfew in it, the clinique has chamomile and both are related to ragweed.
I shifted to Korres Yogurt cream and their face wash and it's awesome. If you need to go cheaper try the Cetaphil for washing and the use the old school Pond's night cream.
posted by teleri025 at 6:33 PM on January 19, 2012

As a warning, if it's really cold, you don't want to use moisturizer right before you go outside, as it may increase your risk of frostbite.

I strongly recommend a neck gaiter. You can find them in cute colors (although black is most prevalent) and they're very easy to pull up over your lower face to prevent the skin getting so cold in the first place!

In Fairbanks (where we've just had a week of highs not breaking -30), I use a hat and neck gaiter as my primary defense, along with some Cetaphil when things get really dry.
posted by leahwrenn at 6:35 PM on January 19, 2012

(that's the Cetaphil ultra healing lotion, not some sort of cleanser)
posted by leahwrenn at 6:37 PM on January 19, 2012

Google "cold urticaria". Here's Wikipedia. I get it on my cheeks, and only on my cheeks. Alas, I have no lotion suggestions, though I'm curious about aquaphor now.
posted by kestrel251 at 6:59 PM on January 19, 2012

The Aquaphor will also soothe the inside of your nose if it's getting all dry and painful from the cold air.
posted by lakeroon at 7:05 PM on January 19, 2012

If I don't use Pond's dry skin cream (and exfoliate regularly, but that's irrelevant to your question, I think) after washing my face, my skin gets super flaky and tight. As in, I tried CeraVe lotion and their cream and still had flakes. But the Pond's cream keeps my face moisturized and baby soft all day, so you might want to give that a try. It's pretty inexpensive - maybe $5 or so for a jar that lasts quite long. I use it on my legs, too, after having tried several different lotions/creams for dry skin there with no success.

I tend to use some Aveeno brightening facial cleanser, but if my skin is feeling especially dry, I use cold cream instead. Something like that might be a good start if what you're using to wash your face seems to be drying it out.
posted by cp311 at 7:51 PM on January 19, 2012

Really, if you're using a harsh face wash and you're not moisturizing, using any gentle face wash and any moisturizer will create improvement in your skin.

Also, ironically, not wearing any makeup isn't really helping you here -lots of makeup has moisture and/or spf and/or creates a layer on top of your skin, and can be another layer of protection. But i wouldn't start wearing makeup for that reason, i'd focus on moisturizer (I recommend Neutrogena Healthy Skin, its pretty light but effective.)
posted by Kololo at 7:55 PM on January 19, 2012

The red is likely your skin getting wind chapped. I know it sounds insane, but if you are not prone to breakouts, you need an actual barrier (moisturiser will not be sufficient.) I use Burt's Bees Hand Salve, which has a beeswax base. Yes, on my face. When I lived in North America and could get it, I used the awesome silicone-based Glysomed.
posted by DarlingBri at 10:00 PM on January 19, 2012

I use Corn Husker's Lotion after I shave. It's pretty much just water and glycerine, and if my blade is getting old and roughs me up a little, the Corn Husker's helps patch me up. (I am Irish, German, and Norwegian, and my skin is only not pale where there isn't a freckle.)
posted by wenestvedt at 12:47 PM on January 20, 2012

I love rosewater & glycerin. I make my own, because I have easy access to rosewater thru Middle Eastern groceries in LA. The RW and G seems to plump my skin cells, actually filling them with water. Afterwards, I put one drop of oil in my palm, warm and spread it between both hands, and lightly pat the oil over my cheeks & lips. The oil seals my skin and provides a moisture barrier. I use jojoba oil, sweet almond oil, or coconut oil.

To make RW&G: Use pharmaceutical grade cosmetic quality vegetable glycerin. I use a 10:1 ratio of rosewater to glycerin in a spray bottle. Shake thoroughly before each use, because the RW will separate from the G, forming 2 layers in the bottle.
posted by ohshenandoah at 3:45 PM on January 20, 2012

Thank you! Lots of great ideas here. I am trying the Aveeno Ultra-Calming and will see how it goes!
posted by smilingtiger at 4:15 PM on January 20, 2012

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