You are never too young or too old to start taking care of your skin. In fact, skin care and protection should be an essential part of your health, fitness and beauty regimen. If you take care of your skin, your skin will take care of you! But with all the lotions, creams, and potions on the market, it can be difficult to know which product will work for your skin. Many products claim to remove wrinkles or heal dry skin and others claim to contain expensive ingredients that they say will help enhance the effects of the product. Here’s a guide to the basic skincare products on the market and how you can identify which product will work best for you.
A look at the products
There are several types of skin care products that can be a useful supplement to your daily skin care. These include cleansers, sunscreens, moisturizers, eye creams, toners, scrubs, retinoids, herbs, and skin care supplements.
Toners: Skin toners offer additional cleansing properties to the skin that help remove oil, dirt and makeup. But if your skin has become dry, avoid using tonics or use them less often. These skin care products often contain alcohol or acetone and can aggravate dry or sensitive skin.
Sunscreen: Sunscreen is a fundamental product for the care and protection of our skin. While it is true that the body needs some sun exposure to synthesize vitamin D, it really only needs 10-15 minutes a day to achieve this. Excessive sun exposure can cause changes in skin cells that lead to damage that can develop brown spots, skin cancer, dry skin, and premature wrinkles. It doesn’t matter if your skin is light or dark, both skin colors can be damaged if you get too much sun exposure. Avoid sun damage and reduce the risk of developing skin problems by applying a generous amount of sunscreen with at least one SPF 15 cream or lotion a day. Many moisturizers come with sunscreen already included.
Retinoids: Topical vitamin A-based products called retinoids have made significant strides in reducing the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines. They help to temporarily “fill in” wrinkle areas and decrease their visibility.
Cleaners: Cleansers help remove dirt, debris, pollutants and perspiration that accumulate on the skin throughout the day. These cleaners can come in liquid, foam, or stick form.
Eye creams: An eye cream can help improve the condition of the fragile skin around the eyes. It helps hydrate and protect the eye area and can even help minimize dark circles or temporarily tighten fine lines.
Exfoliation: The use of moisturizers and cleansers helps improve the appearance of the skin by removing dead skin cells on surfaces. These can also help smooth the appearance of the skin and even discoloration from excessive sun exposure. As we age, the skin accumulates dead cells that make us look older, have rough skin, and wrinkles or fine lines appear. Your skin looks healthy and youthful by exfoliating daily, as well as feeling clean and fresh.
Supplements: Coenzyme Q10 is a naturally occurring cellular antioxidant that has been shown to have potential in the prevention and treatment of various diseases, such as heart disease, Parkinson’s disease, diabetes, and certain types of cancer. It is also used in many moisturizing products to reduce wrinkles.
Herbs: Green tea and other herbal antioxidants can be applied topically or orally to combat free radical damage and improve your overall appearance.
Moisturizing: Moisturizers can soothe dry skin and make wrinkles less visible. They come in the form of a cream, lotion and oil. Oil-based moisturizers are good for very dry skin, while a cream or lotion is a better option for the face, as it will leave the face feeling less heavy and greasy. For good results, use a moisturizer immediately after bathing to seal in moisture on your skin.
Ingredient label identification
You may be wondering why skin care products come with such a confusing labeling system. The Food and Drug Administration receives many requests each year to decipher the language on the labels of cosmetic and personal care products. But while the FDA identifies with consumers, there really is no way to change the labeling and keep the information accurate. Ingredients must be listed by chemical names because that is essentially what they are. Although a product may be marketed by its trade name, the name on the label will provide few clues to identify its ingredients. But despite the technical language on the personal care product label, it is possible to obtain useful information. Ingredient labeling should be listed in sequence based on the amount included in the formula. As a consumer, you can compare similar products by seeing where a particular ingredient is on the list. For example, if you have sensitive skin, you may want to avoid products that have alcohol listed as their first ingredient and alcohol listed as one of the last ingredients.
Nourishing our skin on a daily basis is as important as taking care of our health. So the next time you want skincare products, be sure to read the ingredient label and consider the types of skincare regimen that can help you look your best.
Written by Mai L Yang