Skin care is the collection of practices that support the skin’s appearance, improve its health and relieve various skin conditions. They may include proper use of emollients, prevention of sun exposure and the intake of nutrients such as vitamins and minerals. Proper skin care also involves maintaining good general health. Skin care is usually done by using cosmetic products, but there are some special cases in which medical assistance is needed.
Skin care products should be able to penetrate into the deepest layers of the epidermis to deliver desired results. The major components of the cream should be primarily water-based plant oils, waxes and extracts in varying concentrations depending on the desired results. The plant oils and waxes help to soften and moisturize, while extracts like alpha lipoic acid (AHA) and retinoids help to remove surface wrinkles. However, they may also stimulate facial tissue growth to help the skin appear younger. Moisturizers are often combined with emollients for better penetration.
A skincare routine needs to include cleansing, toning and moisturizing. Cleansers should not strip the skin and should be pH balanced to prevent the build up of bacteria and oil. Toner should be used once a day in the morning and evening and in conjunction with a night cream. Night creams are normally heavier and are generally applied before bed to prepare the skin for the next day’s use.
Specific toners address specific problems or concerns that the skin has. For example, there are serums for oily skin. Oil-free serums are ideal for those with dry skin and are more popular than the oil-based toners. Creams containing alpha hydroxyl acids (AHA) and benzoyl peroxide can also address specific concerns for specific skin types. For example, those with sensitive or acne-prone skin can benefit from the lightness provided by citrus based toners and treatments.
Skin moisturizers should be used daily after cleansing to keep the face soft and hydrated. Any facial moisturizer should be considered a dietary supplement and is not to be used as a spot treatment. Spot treatments, such as astringents and cleansers, should be used once or twice weekly. They should not be used every day, because they can be harsh and cause the skin to become overly dry. Experts recommend that a moisturizer is used every day, but using only a thin line of it, in the T-zone, to avoid overdrying and damaging the skin. Water-based or clay based moisturizers are most effective at reducing sebum production and adding moisture.
While some may find it difficult to use moisturizers or other skincare products on a consistent basis, many dermatologists recommend using a chemical sunblock every time you go outside regardless of the time of the year. Skin may become exposed to UV rays without a sunscreen if you are out in the sun for extended periods, so having a sunscreen on standby is important. Dr. Oz, the surgeon and television star, recommends using a chemical sunscreen every single day. Dr. Oz has also gained notoriety for advocating the use of cosmetic laser surgery to correct uneven pigmentation and small scars, and he supports the safety and effectiveness of skincare products sold to help eliminate wrinkles and fine lines.