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Surprise! Makeup artists say exfoliating isn’t the best way to deal with flaky skin


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Photo: Getty Images/PeopleImages

Yesterday, I forgot to put on moisturizer. It’s an embarrassment for sure, especially considering the fact that I’m a beauty editor and should know better. Then again, it didn’t really bother me until I went to an event in the evening and had a professional makeup artist point out to me that I had a dry, flaky patch on my cheek. Ugh.

It happens to the best of us—’tis the season for flaky skin situations after all. Regardless of why these patches pop up, it can be embarrassing. I mean, your face is literally peeling off right before everyone’s eyes—not to mention it’s screwing up your entire makeup look.

The first thing you undoubtedly want to do is scrub all that dead skin off, stat. Surprisingly though, Karim Sattar, global makeup artist for Dr. Hauschka, told me that’s definitely not what you should be doing. In other words: Lay. off. the exfoliant.

“Traditional methods of exfoliating skin with abrasives and enzymes can deplete, disrupt, and disorient skin’s natural moisture barrier,” Sattar tells me as he lightly applies moisturizer to my dry spot. “We recommend methods that educate and aid skin in its natural process of detoxification and renewal.” Exfoliating just wreaks havoc on your skin’s innate purpose of healing itself, he explains.

The secret? Treat your flakes with some TLC via hydration and gentle cleansing. “My tip is to cleanse with a gentle, milky formulation that works even for sensitive skin, like Dr. Hauschka’s Soothing Cleansing Milk,” says Sattar. “Follow that with a cleansing cream using our signature press and roll technique—press fingers onto your skin, and as you roll them away, the cream gently pulls away dead, flaky skin cells while preserving your skin’s natural moisture barrier and not disrupting healthy skin cells.”

As tempting as it may be to just abrasively remove your flakes, try being nice to it instead—because, as Sattar pointed out, your skin knows what it’s doing.

As for acne, this is how to deal with that hormone belt, AKA chin pimples. And here’s how long to actually leave on a hydrocolloid pimple patch

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