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Skin Care Basics

Skin Care Basics

With new creams and ingredients being launched seemingly every day, it's easy to get confused by all the options. And unless you're willing to spend hours on your skin care routine every day by incorporating all of these different lotions, you'll need to pick and choose which basics are right for you. Here, the bare minimum that you need:

  • Sunscreen: It's a must, essential for preventing sun damage and lowering your risk of developing skin cancer. Many skin care lines have facial moisturizers with SPF already included; they offer a more luxurious, makeup-friendly texture than traditional sunscreens. If you use only one product, sunscreen should be it. A lotion like Neutrogena's Healthy Skin Lotion with SPF 15 moisturizes, protects with SPF, and smoothes skin with alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) and vitamin C -- practically the perfect all-purpose face lotion.
  • Eye cream: The skin under your eyes is more delicate and dry than the skin on the rest of your face. It's wise to invest in an eye cream, which treats the eye area with more emollient moisturizers. Some eye creams even claim to minimize dark circles and temporarily tighten fine lines.
  • Retinols: If you're concerned with wrinkles and pigmentation spots, a face cream with retinol (a derivative of vitamin A) can help. Use it in place of your daytime, SPF moisturizer after you wash your face at night.
  • Body lotion with alpha-hydroxy acids: A lotion with skin-sloughing AHAs smoothes your whole body, including hands, feet, arms, and legs. For tough dry spots, apply extra lotion before bed and let it soak in while you sleep.

skin facial body treatment cure cream lotion

Skin Type Has Nothing to Do with Your Age


Older skin is different from younger skin; that is indisputable. Yet it is a mistake to buy skin-care products based on a nebulous age category. Treating older or younger skin with products supposedly aimed at dealing with specific age ranges does not make sense because not everyone with “older” or “younger” skin has the same needs, yet it’s a trap many women (especially older women) fall into. An older person may have acne, blackheads, eczema, rosacea, sensitive skin, or oily skin, while a younger person may have dry, freckled, or obviously sun-damaged skin. Products designed for older skin are almost always too emollient and occlusive, and those designed for younger skin are almost always too drying. The key issue with skin type needs to be the actual condition of your skin, not your age.

All women, regardless of age, need sun protection and antioxidants, and possibly treatment of skin discolorations (either potential or existing), dry or oily skin, or breakouts. Wrinkles may tend to separate younger from older skin, but the care you give the skin doesn’t necessarily differ. Not everyone in their 40s and older has the same skin care needs. In a way it’s simple: You need to pay attention to what is taking place on your skin, and that varies from person to person.
 

Does Skin Color or Ethnicity Affect Skin Care?


All skin is subject to a range of problems, regardless of skin color or ethnic background. Whether it is dry or oily skin, blemishes, scarring, wrinkles, skin discolorations, disorders, or sensitivity, and even risk of sun damage, all men and women share similar struggles. So, while there are some distinctions between varying ethnic groups when it comes to skin problems and skin-care options, overall these differences are minor in comparison to the number of similarities.

According to an article in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology (February 2002, pages 41–62) “There is not a wealth of data on racial and ethnic differences in skin and hair structure, physiology, and function. What studies do exist involve small patient populations and often have methodological flaws. Consequently, few definitive conclusions can be made. The literature does support a racial differential in epidermal melanin [pigment] content and melanosome dispersion in people of color compared with fair-skinned persons…. These differences could at least in part account for the lower incidence of skin cancer in certain people of color compared with fair-skinned persons; a lower incidence and different presentation of photo aging; pigmentation disorders in people with skin of color; and a higher incidence of certain types of alopecia [loss of hair] in Africans and African Americans compared with those of other ancestry.”

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