Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Foundation of Skin Care (Part 3)

Skin care does not stop at cleansing and exfoliating. The next step is moisturizing. It is required for all skin types, and yes… even for those with oily skin. I’ll elaborate on this topic in my future post. For now, let’s just concentrate on moisturizing your skin. However, there is an exception for those with acne prone skin. Olay Total Effect moisturizer is a product that you should consider as it has received lots of good reviews.

Step 3: Moisturize
Why do you need to moisturize? Reason, because it increases the skin's water content (to avoid dry/flaking and wrinkly looking skin). Another reason is that not only it protects the skin, it also encourage an orderly desquamation (shedding of the outer layer skin) process that makes the skin appear smoother.

How about moisturizing the eye area? Well, some skin experts strongly recommend eye creams because the skin around the eye contains no fatty tissue. They are very thin and susceptible to wrinkles. Therefore eye creams are formulated to 'thicken' the area around eyes and keep it sturdy. However there are other experts that claimed normal moisturizers also do the job as well. So it’s up to you to decide which is best for your skin.

Experts say that a good moisturizer should contain the following ingredients:

  • Emollients such as Jojoba, squalene and lanolin. They are the best as has the most similarity to skin’s natural moisturizing agent(sebum) and it is also least comedogenic or clog pores.

  • Water-binding agents such as ceramides, hyaluronic acid, elastin and amino acids that helps to retain moisture in the skin. Besides, Humectants such as sorbitol, glycols, glycerins and sodium PCA helps to attract water to skin and are important for skin damaged by sun and dehydration.

  • Soothing agents and anti-irritants, such as bisabolol, allantoin, burdock root, aloe, licorice root, glycyrrhetinic acid, green tea and chamomile extract to help skin balance out the ingredients that could cause irritation.

  • Antioxidants to help to prevent some of the damage caused by free radicals. Antioxidants protect cells by external causes (e.g. skin damage due to sun, pollution, wind, and temperature) and internal body causes. However, there is one thing to take note. Antioxidants can easily deteriorate due to repeated exposure to air and sunlight. In order to be effective they must come in stable packaging. Therefore, good moisturizers containing antioxidants should be packaged in opaque tubes or dispensers with small openings to minimize air exposure to protect the antioxidant property.

  • Alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs such as glycolic acid and lactic acid) and beta hydroxy acids (BHAs such as salicylic acid) helps to clear pores and remove dead skin. AHA may cause skin to be sensitive to sun light, so if you're using an AHA product, make sure u have sun protection.

Lastly, another skin tip, experts recommend that moisturizer should be applied right after showering while your skin is still slightly damp. Preferably within 3 minutes of showering as it helps to keep in the moisture. Hope this helps...

Foundation of skin care (Part 2)

Step 2: Exfoliate
Why do you need to exfoliate? Over time, more and more dead skin will accumulate on the top of your skin. This causes your skin to look dull and also hampers the absorption of nutrients from the applied skin products. So remember to exfoliate or you’ll just waste your money applying all the expensive skin product on your skin.

Exfoliating your skin should be done on weekly basis. With proper exfoliating, you can see almost an immediate effect on your skin. There are few ways of exfoliating your skin which are using microdermabrasion (scrub), chemical peels and retinoids. Below are more information on them:

The most common, microdermabrasion or scrubs which work by removing the top layer of dead skins that tend to dull your complexion. By doing so, this will reveal a much younger and refreshing looking skin that was hidden before. Be careful in choosing your scrub. Cheap scrub that contains big grains might tear skin and cause more harm than good. So, make sure choose gentle scrub with tiny grains. Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant as shown here does the well.

Secondly, chemical peel which is also known as chemexfoliation or derma-peeling, is a technique used to improve the appearance of the skin. It uses chemical solution that causes the skin to blister and eventually peel off. The regenerated skin is usually smoother and less wrinkled than the old skin. Chemical peel is used to reduce fine lines under the eyes and around the mouth, treat wrinkles caused by sun damage, aging and hereditary factors, improve the appearance of mild scarring and reduce age spots, freckles and dark patches. Some types of chemical peels can be purchased(over-the-counter products) and administered without a medical license, however due to safely reason it is advised to seek professional help from a dermalotogist on a specific type of chemical peel before a procedure is performed.

Thirdly, Retinoids or Retin-A also work by removing the top layer of dead skin cells while also generating collagen in the skin. It is effective in removing whiteheads and blackheads and also wrinkles. However, retinoids effect of increased skin cell turnover can cause irritation and flaking. For this reason, many people stop using Retin-A after a couple of days to weeks, then think that it didn't work. Normally it take at least 6-8 week before noticeable effect on your skin. Fortunately, using wash cloth to remove the flaking skin and applying moisturizer will make the drying effect of the medicine more tolerable.

Ok, that all about exfoliating. I've listed a few choices that you can consider. But personally, I found that scrubs works for me just fine and it is the simplest. I'm using Neutrogena Deep Clean Gentle Scrub and loving it because it is able to clean deep down into pores, non abrasive and does not dry my skin. It also has helped to control my pimples. But whichever product or scrub to use is up to you, as long as it works for you. So, remember to exfoliate...you don't want to hide your younger more radiant skin under the dull skin rite!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Foundation of skin care

Basically there are only 4 steps that you need to master to ensure that healthy youthful looking skin. Cleansing, exfoliating, moisturizing and applying sunscreen. Simple, rite? I’m going to explain more now. It might be quite long, but please bear with me, k :P. But, once you understand these basic stuffs, you will be on your right track. Let's begin...

Step 1: Cleanse
Cleansing is required as the first step to loosen and remove dirt, debris, excess oils, germs and leftover products that was applied to your skin. You also should consider using a proper makeup remover to take off your makeup. There are many cleansers that are available in the market and it is confusing to find the right one for the skin type. But the bottom line is that you should never use bar soap to wash your face as it is the most irritating cleanser due to its high pH level.

You should pick cleanser(liquid or cream) that is able to clean your skin well without drying or irritate your skin. Knowing what your skin type is would really help in selecting the suitable cleanser for your skin. According to Rona Berg, in her book, "Beauty”, most cleansers contain oil, surfactants and water. The oil is for dissolving oil on your skin, surfactants for dissolving dirt and makeup and finally the water for rinse them all away. The secret is to get the correct mixture of oil. Too much on your skin will clog pores, while too little will dry it out.

When you should stop cleansing your skin? If your skin feels too dry, tight or flaking, then it is time to check if it is the cleanser problem or if you are overcleansing* your skin(*meaning you are cleansing too often a day). Some experts said that washing at night only with cleanser would be sufficient. Then, in the morning, use warm water to loosen dirt, clogged pore and excess oils from nightly moisturizing. Also, never go to bed without removing your makeup first. This is a BIG NO-NO. Your skin needs some fresh air too, you know.

Finally in the cleansing process, you should use toners to remove all remaining traces of oil, makeup and dirt. Another reason is to tighten the pores. Burt's Bees - Rosewater & Glycerin Toner is my recommanded product to use. It keeps the skin cleansed without stripping the moisture and has great scent from the rosewater. Ah~ the great aroma... and it contains all natural ingredients too.

I'll post the other steps in my next post. Stay tuned:)

Friday, December 12, 2008

A step closer towards healthy skin hair and nails...

It's going to be a new year soon and I should start on setting my goals for a fun and exciting new year. These past few years, I've have not done much in pampering or maintaining the health and beauty of my skin hair and nails. Apart from the daily skin care regime, I've always take for granted that they will magically be in tip top condition without the need for me to do anything. Ignorance is a bliss? I don’t think so. Ok, so now the truth has befallen upon me and I finally realize that something must be done, it is better late than never. So now, I've just thought of an idea...which is to do my own blog to share with you all the useful tips and ideas to achieve healthy hair, skin and nails that I know or have learned from others. It is not that I'm an expert in this area but I think that many of us that might have some problems in maintaining the health of their skin, hairs and nails. If not, then I'm sure you also would be interested in getting tips and ideas to maintain your health and beauty, rite? So, let's together bring our foot forward to a step closer towards achieving healthy skin hair and nails...

P.S For those who have useful tips for skin hair and nails, please do share with me and everyone in this blog :)