Thursday, November 08, 2012

Basics of skincare - tools of the trade

Did you know for basic skincare the magic number is four? There are three basic steps you do twice a day and one step you do twice a week at most.
The three basic everyday skincare needs are:
1- cleansing
2- toners
3- moisturizers
4- would be your specialty products such as mud masks, exfoliation for example.
What are cleansers?
These are specialty formulated products meant to remove grime, and makeup from your skin, without over-drying it. They clean off old makeup, dirt, oils. They come in different types, creams, lotions, gels and bars of soap. Cleansing with a bar soap is one of the oldest most efficient cleanser, but it may not be the best for your skin. Creams and lotions are easy to use; just massage into your skin to lift dirt and remove with warm water or tissue it off.
What are toners, fresheners, astringents?
They are specialty formulated liquids mostly with alcohol as one of the main ingredient. Alcohol is usually the active ingredient in toners; it makes your skin feel fresh and cool because it evaporates quickly. It can also temporarily minimize your pores by plumping up the skin around them. The percentage of alcohol differs from product to product. In fact you may find that astringent, toners, and fresheners as part of the label for the same product. The three are pretty much interchangeable in meaning as well as product.
There are a few differences to point out, astringents usually have the highest percentage of alcohol and mostly used for acne care. There are water-based toners that are formulated especially for mature skin or any skin type that cannot tolerate the over-drying that alcohol can do. When checking labels, look for products where the word alcohol is closest to the last on the list of ingredients.
What are moisturizers? They come in many names, types and ingredients. From your real basic to eye creams, serums, wrinkle cream, day and night creams, anti-aging, dry skin, oily skin, acne. Each moisturizer type is meant to do it's job working with the rest of what you apply. Serums are applied first, eye cream and then your moisturizer best suited for your skin type, your age and need. "Layering" your moisturizers makes best use of everything you apply; as you get older the more types of specially moisturizers and serums you will need. No matter their price tag, no one moisturizer will give your mature skin what it needs. Depending on your skins needs, age and even time and seasons all play a part in which moisturizer will be needed. Moisturizers are usually a lotion or cream meant to help your skin retain moisture. They also return some of the natural oils lost during cleansing /toning process. Moisturizers stay on your skins surface depending on type and ingredients and only penetrate just deep enough to help your skin renew itself. One of the big reasons why cleansing and moisturizing your face at night is so important. Moisturizers slow down moisture loss with a protective film. They also help offset any tightness and help plump up the fine lines so they are less noticeable, making your skin feel softer. Night creams generally are heavier than day creams. Eye creams usually contain active ingredients to tighten under your eyes, help fight dark circles and help smooth away fine lines and delay the formulation of wrinkles.
Other products are used to exfoliate and remove dead skin cells on the top layer of your skin so that it speeds up cell regeneration. They are not products you would use every day, most are used no more than twice a week. They include your mud mask, and other products that exfoliates made with ingredients like fruit seeds, oatmeal, clay for example. They help improve your skin texture and appearance. Masks are best used once a week due to the fact most are made with clays and can be over-drying. Most Exfoliates can come in different ingredients that make them not as hard on your face as clay masks can be. In fact you can find lots of recipes for both masks and exfoliates you can make with items found in your kitchen! Test always before trying anything new you create on the inside of your elbow and check with your dermatologist if you got questions.
There you go! Next time you go to buy something new to help keep Mother Nature a bit longer away, I hope this helps.
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