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How do you avoid or treat flaky skin that accentuates foundation?

I use a gentle chemical exfoliant, preferably a 5-10% glycolic acid liquid treatment every 2-3 days to avoid this problem. I use the 5% more often since it’s not as harsh and irritating, but still efficacious. The 10% is reserved for weekly use. When applying foundation, I make sure to use a good primer (I actually use a serum: the Paula’s Choice RESIST Super Antioxidant Serum) because it has that slightly thick and extremely smooth texture that allows foundation to glide on very easily.The texture is sort of like the Smashbox Photo Finish Primer, but more “wet” feeling. But it dries down well, and suits my skin perfectly during the winter time. What about you guys?

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The Triple Helixian is an unbiased science and research-based site that attempts to clarify and elucidate questions about skin care, while aspiring to be the most thorough and complete source of information.


16 thoughts on “How do you avoid or treat flaky skin that accentuates foundation?

  1. The heaters in the winter dry out my skin like crazy (hands and face!). But I’ve managed my dry skin well enough that I don’t bother with primer. My skin is usually normal in the summer and dry in the winter yet I have large pores and monthly* minor breakouts plus scars (is this combination even possible?!)

    I use two exfoliating products:
    *Dermalogica Gentle Cream Exfoliant – which is a mask with Lactic acid (an AHA) which is amazing at getting rid of those flakes in less than 20 mins! I use whenever it’s needed or 1-2 times a week.

    *Neostrata Smoothing Cream level 2 – which is a lotion with 8% Glycolic Acid. I definitely had to build a tolerance for it. Applied it for 3 days straight and signs of redness, flakiness & irritation showed up – bad idea! The line also has a 6% and 10% concentration in level 1 and 3 respectfully. I woke up to smooth skin today, it’s lovely. 🙂
    I would like to say every other day but right now its just 2-3 times because I’m in the middle of using Kiehl’s dark spot corrector…trying to not pile on the products at night. 😛

    As for moisturizers, Pure Rosehip Oil really hydrated my skin when my usual normal ones weren’t cutting it on their own. I actually use the oil, than my treatment creams, than lightly my usual moisturizer (sometimes I’ll skip this step depending on how my skin is). It might be much but it works. 😛

    Posted by rosie | February 12, 2012, 2:19 pm
    • Hi Rosie, thanks for writing!

      Yes combination skin is very possible. Dry skin is the lack of water in the stratum corneum, and oily skin is the presence of excess sebum from the oil glands. So they are not mutually exclusive unfortunately haha! Awful I know!

      It sounds like your routine is working for you. Yay! I look foward to future comments from you. 🙂

      Posted by John | February 12, 2012, 9:57 pm
  2. I have been using the Neutrogena complete acne therapy system for the past 14 months or so, as I have quite oily, acne prone skin. Lately, however, its been dehydrated and flaky even though I’ve improved my diet (more water consumption, and healthier eating)… So I was wondering if you could recommend me a good exfoliant? (For my oily skin type) 🙂

    By the way, I use Too Faced Primed and Poreless Face Primer, which I LOVE as it helps foundation glide onto my skin and makes it slightly more matte, and does hide my pores I’ve found. I use one of A) MAC Pro Longwear Foundation (NC 40), B) MAC Matchmaster Foundation (5.0), or C) Lorac Breakthrough Performance Foundation (SMS 6). I just found your blog via Temptalia, and I love it. Keep up the great work! Best wishes from Canada.

    Posted by Amrita | February 12, 2012, 1:08 pm
    • Hi Amrita, thanks for commenting! I’m not sure if you can get Paula’s Choice in Canada, but she has several excellent AHA and BHA and combination AHA/BHA products. Check out her line. Also, another person on Temptalia recommended the Neostrata brand, which she claims is available in Canada. I hope that helps, and if not, I’m always here to answer additional questions! 🙂

      Posted by John | February 12, 2012, 9:55 pm
      • Neostrata has a great broad range of Glycolic products in Canada! Definitely worth checking out. Different percentages, textures, and some with sun protection for day. They make toning solutions with glycolic acid as well if you prefer a liquid to a lotion/cream, again in different percentages. 🙂

        Posted by Frances | February 15, 2012, 3:25 pm
  3. I use dermalogica microfoliant and/or apricot scrub once to twice a week and a prescribed moisturizer every morning after cetaphil cleansing bar. for some reason im wary of primer, but i think i’ll start incorporating it into my routine.

    Posted by Arabelle Sicardi (@fashionpirate) | January 16, 2012, 10:18 am
    • That sounds great Arabelle! The apricot scrub is too rough for me due to the slightly sharp granules, but if it works for you, don’t stop using it. However, if your skin does get very red and irritated, I’d suggest finding something else. I’m also not a fan of cleansing bars due to the high content of tallow and stearic acid, which may worsen acne, but if that isn’t an issue for you, great!

      Finally, just because I use a primer, doesn’t mean you have to. If your makeup goes on smoothly and lasts a good amount of time, you don’t really need a primer. It’s up to you of course. Make sure to pick up samples if you can! 🙂

      Posted by John | January 16, 2012, 3:37 pm
  4. Yeah, I use chemical exfoliants as well, although I find that they are more for long term prevention. Sometimes I’m lazy (and don’t prevent and moisturise like I should) and so when flaky skin occurs, I use a physical exfoliant or a wash cloth to try and scrub it off.

    Hmmm… I’ve never tried priming to try and help the flakes. I wonder how it would fare on my skin?

    Posted by Victoria | January 10, 2012, 4:06 am
    • Again you are quite astute! Physical exfoliation is great short-term, but if you want more continuous exfoliation, chemical is the way to go.

      Priming the skin may reduce the appearance of dry skin… it just depends on the base that a primer utilizes. For example, dimethicone crosspolymer is a very powdery silicone and magnifies the smallest bit of dry skin. Dimethicone, while slightly thick and “greasy”, does not. I personally use primer more to fill in my pores so that the foundation doesn’t mix with the oils at those sites, where it will separate and result in a cakey mess, than to prevent flaky skin. It does help a bit, but it’s the chemical exfoliation that’s the workhorse here.

      Posted by John | January 10, 2012, 3:14 pm
  5. I use a St. Ives scrub called Daily Microdermabrasion (or something like that..) twice a week. Then again I don’t use foundation too often, and my skin isn’t that flaky as long as I moisturize. 🙂

    Posted by Michelle | January 8, 2012, 1:56 pm
    • Lucky you! I still get some flaky skin even when I just moisturize. 😦 Thanks for commenting and staying with me through my extended absence!

      Posted by John | January 8, 2012, 4:52 pm
      • Aw that sucks. 😦 And yeah you’re welcome! Glad to see you posting agan. 😀 Ooo, and what’s your favorite foundation if you have one? I’m gonna start searching for a good one. 😛

        Posted by Michelle | January 9, 2012, 1:37 am
        • My favorite foundation is the Laura Mercier Silk Creme Foundation. I also quite enjoy the Make Up For Ever HD Foundation. I’ve tried about 60 liquid foundations and these two are my favorites. However, the LM one does take quite a lot of blending to spread out evenly and look un-cakey. But the end result is definitely worth it: it just looks like beautiful, flawless, natural skin. Also it isn’t the longest wearing foundation… it’s no Estee Lauder Double Wear, but it looks so much better haha! Also the shade range isn’t fantastic, but if you can find a shade that matches you, I’d say try it out. Make sure to get a sample from Sephora or any major department store.

          Posted by John | January 9, 2012, 9:21 am

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