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 regime. If you take care of your skin, your skin will take care of you! But with all of the lotions, creams, and potions on the market, it can be difficult to know which product will work for you. Many products claim to remove wrinkles or heal dry skin. Others claim to contain expensive ingredients that they say will improve the effects of the product. Here is a guide to the basic skin care products on the market, and how you can decipher which product will work best for you.
A Look At The Products
There are several types of skin care products that may make a useful additional to your daily skin care. These include cleansers, sunscreens, moisturizers, eye creams, toners, exfoliants, retinoids, herbals, and skin care supplements.
Cleansers: Cleansers help to remove the dirt, debris, pollutants and perspiration that accumulate on your skin throughout the day. They may come in liquid, foam, or bar form.
Sunscreen: Sunscreen is an essential product for the care and protection of your skin. While it is true that some exposure to sunshine is necessary for the body to synthesize vitamin D, you really only need 10-15 minutes each day to accomplish this. Excess sun exposure can cause changes in the skin cells leading to damage. People with fair skin need to be much more careful than those with darker skin. But dark skin can become damaged too. Applying a liberal amount of a natural sunscreen with at least an SPF 15 will prevent sun damage and lower your risk of developing skin cancer. Many moisturizers come with sunscreen already included.
Moisturizer: Moisturizers can soothe dry skin and make wrinkles less noticeable. They come in cream, lotion, and oil form. Oil based moisturizers are good for severely dry skin on the body whereas a cream or lotion is a better choice for the face as it will leave the face feeling less heavy and greasy. Use a moisturizer right after bathing to seal moisture into your skin.
Eye Creams: An eye cream can help to improve the condition of the fragile skin around the eyes. It helps to hydrate and protect this area and it may even help to minimize dark circles or temporarily tighten fine lines.
Toners: Skin toners offer a bit of extra cleansing to skin that tends to be combination or oily. But if your skin has become dry, avoid using a skin toner. These skin care products often contain alcohol or acetone, and they can aggravate dry or sensitive skin.
Exfoliants: Moisturizers and cleansers that contain exfoliants help to improve the appearance of skin by sloughing off dead cells on the skin's surface. They may also help to smooth out the skin's appearance and even out discoloration from overexposure to sun. Since older skin does not naturally lose dead skin cells as easily as younger skin does, an exfoliant may be a good product for skin that appears rough and sallow with age.
Retinoids: Topical vitamin-A based products called retinoids have made significant advances in reducing the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines. They help to temporarily "plump up" the area around a wrinkle and diminish its visibility. This is not a solution for long term results.
Herbals: Green tea and other herbal antioxidants can be applied topically or taken orally to fight free radical damage to the skin and approve its overall appearance.
Supplements: Coenzyme Q10 is a naturally occurring cellular antioxidant that has shown potential in the prevention and treatment of several diseases, such as heart disease, Parkinson's disease, diabetes, and certain types of cancer. It is also utilized in many moisturizing products for its wrinkle reducing properties.
Deciphering The Ingredient Label
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 of cosmetic and personal care product labels. But while they empathize with consumers, there really is no way to change the labeling and keep the information accurate. The ingredients need to be listed by their chemical names because that is essentially what they are. Even though a product may be marketed by its trade name, this name will provide little clue as to the identity of its ingredients. But despite the technical language of the skin care product's label, it is possible to glean some useful information. Ingredients must be listed in sequence based on how much is included in the formula. As a consumer, you can compare similar products by seeing where a particular ingredient falls in the list. For example, if you have sensitive skin, you may want to avoid a product that lists alcohol as its first ingredient, but one with alcohol as one of the last ingredients may not aggravate your skin. Of course it is best to avoid alcohol completely.
For more information on natural skin care go to http://www.skin-care-support.org.
Dr. Group, the founder/CEO and clinical director for the Global Healing Center, heads a research and development team producing advanced, new, natural health protocols and products. To learn more visit http://www.ghchealth.com.
Dr. Edward F. Group III, DC, Ph.D, ND, DACBN
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