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Question
I have dry flaky skin between my cheekbones and nose, just under my eyes. This skin will flake off and leave behind red shiny skin. I have tried several different types of moisturizers both for men and women; I usually look for kinds that do not contain alcohol. I will apply it in the morning and sometimes at night before bed. No matter how often I apply the moisturizer the skin will become dry and flaky again after a few hours. I am a male, 29yo. what should I be using, or what do I need to do to keep this skin healthy? Thanks.

Answer
Hi there, Nate. Sorry to hear about your pain with dry skin. Sounds like you're experiencing dead skin cell build-up. One thing you can do that is important, is to exfoliate. Exfoliation is the process of removing dead cells from the skin's surface. Exfoliation can help address your dry skin more effectively on a long-term basis, when the dead skin is lifted off, it allows for moisturizers to penetrate better, thus allowing your skin to "drink it in". You can exfoliate in one of two ways:

1. By mechanical exfoliation- This method of exfoliation requires the use of a facial scrub or mud/clay mask you would use once to three times weekly. With a facial scrub, you apply it to the skin (concentrating on affected areas) in gentle circular motions for one to three minutes, then rinse from skin, pat dry. With a facial mask, you apply it in a thin layer completely covering the facial skin (not too close to lower or upper eye lids). Allow to dry for up to 5-10 minutes depending on manufacturer's directions (please read product labels). Completely and with a gentle touch (no tugging at skin), remove with soft, warm, wet wash cloth. Apply moisturizer of choice when done.

2. Chemical exfoliation- This method requires the use of a topical product containing an ingredient from the Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA) family such as Glycolic, Lactic, or Mandelic acid. Usually, you would apply these type of exfoliators, once to three times weekly, in the form of a gentle peel that you apply much like a facial mask (as described above). You then leave it on to do it's job for up to 10-15 minutes or so (depending on manufacturers directions, then rinse with tepid water and pat skin dry. These chemical exfoliators work by loosening the bonds that cause dead cells to attach to the skin, which inhibits your skin's ability to absorb moisturizers. Completely and with a gentle touch (no tugging at skin), remove with soft, warm, wet wash cloth. When done, apply moisturizer of choice.

Ok, Nate. Now that you know how important exfoliation is for your skin, let me give you a few tips and a recommendation on one of the best moisturizers that I've come to love so much, that I've used it on my two youngest children since infancy and got the rest of my family (as well as myself) using it. I'm sure you've heard of it. AFRICAN SHEA BUTTER, the QUEEN MOTHER OF ALL MOISTURIZERS. No matter which method of exfoliation you use, I highly recommend Shea Butter as your "go-to" moisturizer after exfoliation. This should wipe out the dry skin, flakiness and redness. Not only is SHEA highly moisturizing, it is also EXTREMELY healing.

It helps to effectively address dry skin, eczema, psoriasis, sun burn, irritation, fine wrinkles and so forth. You need not use very much, as a little goes a long way. If you decide to go this route, I recommend getting it from a company who to me, sells some of the best, high-quality, inexpensive, unrefined Shea Butter products on the market. You can check it out at www.alaffia.com.

Also, if you decide to use AHA's as your exfoliator, try 5-10% Lactic acid peel at a pH of 3.0-4 for efficacy (be sure to find out from the company you purchase from. They should have this info). Lactic acid is less drying, more gentle, and hydrating to sensitive, dry skin than Glycolic is. Additionally, make sure you wait until your skin is not red and irritated before use, otherwise, it may burn and cause more redness and irritation.

Use a broad-spectrum sunblock of at least SPF 20-25 that protects your skin from harmful UVA and UVB rays at 30 minutes before going outside (yes even in the winter). Not doing so over time, can result in more skin problems such as wrinkles, dark spots, sagging skin, sun burn, and worse yet, SKIN CANCER.

Nate, I hope this helps. If you'd like to get more helpful info on natural dry skin remedies, and more skin care tips, you can visit my site at www.beautifulbrownskin.net


God bless you,
Tara

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Tara Logan-Hearn

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I will, according to my knowledge and experience, answer questions that involve providing information, tips, and advice in an effort to help one improve the following common ethnic and black skin care concerns:

Although make-up is not my specialty, I'm happy to help with advice on caring for the skin while wearing makeup. I affirm that I can not answer questions to which attention by a doctor is necessary.

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I've written for Bella Online, Beauty and Sugar, Self Growth and Oily Skin Blog. I've written the e-book entitled, "Achieving Flawless Skin of Color - 2 Easy Steps to Clear, Even-toned Skin From the Inside Out", which is now published.

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