I’ve been asked a few times to share my skin care routine; my Sjogren’s Syndrome and lupus naturally leave my skin dry and fragile, meaning that I have to work hard to take good care of it. I’m also facing menopause and many of my current medications can cause my skin to dry out even more. I’ve given my recommendations on how to battle dryness when it comes to your hair, but skincare might be even more crucial to living a happy, healthy life when you are dealing with daily dehydration. Whether you’re struggling with autoimmune conditions or not, many of us have to deal with dry skin and know how challenging it can be, so I wanted to share how I keep my skin looking its best.
I grew up in Hawaii, so having good skin has always been important to me, not just because I don’t like to wear makeup when I’m not working, but because of the way that healthy skin reflects both health and vitality. When it comes to skin care there’s no substitute for eating well and getting proper rest, but there are several other ways I keep my skin looking and feeling vibrant.
Skin Care for the Face
Every day, I wash with Kate Somerville Gentle Daily Wash. It’s light and smells delicious, with hints of lavender, bergamot and sage. It’s gentle enough that it doesn’t strip the natural oils in my face and neck and always leaves my skin feeling fresh.
On the days that I have a lot of makeup on, I like to use Dermalogica’s Precleanse oil. It melts away everything that’s on my face and somehow always makes my pores feel smaller. I just use one squirt and it removes everything, including my eye makeup, with ease.
If I’m washing my face in the shower, IT Cosmetics’ 3-in-1 melting balm does it all in one step, removing my makeup and washing my skin. The nice, whipped butter consistency is so luxurious and I find it always leaves my skin feeling moisturized. This balm saves space in the shower by acting as a cleansing balm, makeup remover, and de-aging serum all at once, and it’s sulfate free so it’lll never strip your skin. If you want extra hydration, leave it on for 60 seconds.
Once I pat dry my skin, I apply a layer of Sisley’s Black Rose Skin Infusion Cream. This cream is plumping and gives my skin radiance, but the truth is that I really just love the way it smells. I’m very sensitive to scents and this one is always a pleasure to use. The cream feels great and always keeps my skin hydrated so that my Sjogren’s Syndrome doesn’t eat up the makeup I’m wearing. It’s a bit costly, but the texture is so light and feels like it is cooling even if it hasn’t actually been in the fridge.
My second favorite (and a lot less expensive) cream is Tarte’s Rainforest of the Sea Drink of H2O Boost. I received this in a gift bag once and loved it instantly; if you like moisture that feels like dessert for your skin, this is it! It’s a lifesaver for dry skin and really does feel like “a drink of water for your skin,” as advertised.
A Note On Eye Cream
I don’t use eye cream. Because I have to pull on my eyes when I put in my contacts and apply my eyedrops for Sjogren’s Syndrome, I decided that I didn’t want to introduce lotion to my eyes as well. It felt too irritating, and ultimately I was just too lazy to introduce it into my routine. It’s worked so far, and I’m happy not to have the additional step if I don’t need it.
To keep your skin in good condition, sometimes you have to do a deep cleaning. I use steam once a week to make sure my skin is healthy. This steamer is fantastic because it can also be used as a humidifier, which is essential for anyone with Sjogren’s Syndrome or dry skin. The steamer can also serve as a towel warmer; you can put your washcloth inside until it’s heated and then rest it over your eyes for better circulation and more moisture in your eyes. It’s a great way to clean the pores and so many other things; I like tools that multitask and this one has an abundance of uses.
Because we haven’t been able to go to the spa for any facials this year, I’ve started doing my own. After every facial I use this device. I use the red light for collagen and I always receive compliments after I’ve done my mini at-home facial. I like to incorporate the light skin therapy with my meditation routine; I’ll turn on my Insight Timer meditation app and lay down for twenty minutes to get my daily nap or meditation in as my skin repairs itself. It’s become such a nice way to “get away from it all” without going anywhere.
Another tool I use to keep my chin on my face and not on my knees is this facial toning kit. It’s so easy to use that I usually use it on my way to work. Our faces are full of muscles, and just like any other muscle, we need to exercise them to keep them tight and supple. I apply moisturizer to my face and then use this toner on my cheeks, jawline and forehead.
Skin Care for the Body
Our facial skin might get more attention when it comes to our skin care routine, but our entire bodies need care, attention, and nourishment to stay healthy and glowing.
This is a staple that I’ve used since I was a kid; it’s gentle, moisturizing, and smells familiar to me. I can also get it in extra large sizes from Costco which is an added bonus 🙂.
After showering, I like to apply Neutrogena Body Oil to my whole body to seal in the moisture right away. I put it on while I’m still in the shower, but if you do this be careful because it can make tile extra slippery.
I switch between two creams for extra moisture; this one is my favorite. It absorbs the best and can even prevent stretch marks during pregnancy. Made from cold pressed virgin coconut oil, macadamia oil, dilo nut oil and skeci oil, this mixture is pure moisture. My favorite scent is coconut, but there are many other amazing scents including pineapple, orange blossom, white ginger lily, and mango. I use this oil for so many other things as well. I’ve found that if I put it on my feet and ankles before I go to bed it somehow alleviates my restless leg syndrome. When I want to lock in hydration, I’ll wear socks over the lotion while I sleep. I even use it as a styling aid on the ends of my hair when I’m experiencing dryness from styling, medications or Sjogren’s Syndrome. People always comment on how great I smell when I wear this; you’ll love it! It’s heaven in a jar and nothing moisturizes better. It’s free of any harmful chemicals that can aggravate sensitive skin and is definitely my number one product.
For extra shine on my skin, I’ll put on this nourishing oil over the body butter. This is a tip I learned working from exotic dancers; mixing the oil with the body butter helps lock in moisture and gives your skin a dewy look. It also smells amazing.
If I ever run out of my body butter, I use Nivea’s Original Cream to moisturize instead. It’s a German brand and the consistency is just thick enough to do the trick. The scent is fresh and if you want to add moisture, you can mix it with Johnson & Johnson baby oil to keep your skin protected and moist all day.
If you have Sjogren’s Syndrome, lupus, or just suffer from chronic dry skin, you know how uncomfortable or even painful it can be when you’re not properly hydrated. These products have helped me treat my skin with love and care every day, keeping myself moisturized so I can face the world with confidence and comfort. I hope some of these products can help you find the same peace and maybe even a little luxury at the same time.