Skincare is a range of practices that support the integrity of the skin, enhance its appearance and relieve skin conditions. Skincare specialists perform skincare treatments and provide skin care advice.
Cosmetic products and recipes from the 1800s to today have focused on ideals of healthy, beautiful skin. Patent (proprietary) medicines and beauty preparations promise to remove freckles, ruddiness and scaly patches, ward off acne, soothe rashes and promote healthy, glowing complexions.
Cleansers are essential to your skin hygiene routine because they remove makeup, dirt, oil, daily pollutants and dead skin cells from the face. Using a cleanser regularly helps reduce the buildup of these substances, which can cause pores to become clogged, leading to breakouts and dullness.
A good cleanser is designed to be gentle on the skin and not strip it of its natural oils. For those with dry or sensitive skin, it’s important to find a cleanser that doesn’t contain any ingredients that will further dry out the skin such as salicylic acid, glycolic acid, or harsh physical scrubs.
Gel, foam and cream cleansers are generally gentler than soaps and other soap-based cleansers, as they have less of a tendency to disrupt the skin barrier or alter its normal pH. Gel cleansers are a good choice for all skin types since they remove excess oil while remaining gentle on the skin. For those with oily or combination skin, foam cleansers can be used as an alternative to traditional face wash because they remove impurities and help regulate sebum production without stripping the face of its natural oils.
Moisturizing is a vital part of any skin care routine. It prevents dryness, helps conceal wrinkles and discoloration and protects the skin from harmful UV rays. The type of moisturizer you choose and how often you apply it will depend on your skin’s needs.
Moisturizers can have one of two effects: they either trap water in the outer layer of the skin to keep it from evaporating or they replace lost moisture in the outer layers that have already evaporated. Most moisturizers contain a combination of occlusives, humectants and/or emollients.
Occlusives such as petrolatum and paraffin wax prevent the evaporation of water from the surface of the skin. They also provide a protective barrier against environmental contaminants and other substances. Other occlusives include shea butter, jojoba oil, olive oil and many plant and animal oils. Emollients are fats and waxes that soften the skin. They can be natural such as shea butter or the more commonly used lanolin, and they can also be synthetic such as dimethicone.
Other ingredients in moisturizers can include anti-inflammatory agents, preservatives, penetration enhancers and fragrances. Some moisturizers also contain botanical extracts with alleged therapeutic properties.
The face serum, when applied properly after cleansing but before moisturizing, can penetrate the skin at a deeper level than moisturizers. This allows its fancy active ingredients (like peptides, stem cells and vitamins) to get to work rejuvenating your skin.
If you’re concerned with fine lines, wrinkles or uneven skin tone, look for serums that contain ingredients like retinol that lightens dark spots, vitamin C to increase collagen production and hydration-boosting hyaluronic acid. If you’re battling blotchiness and discoloration, a formula that contains kojic acid or glycolic acid may help brighten your complexion.
Serums can be a great option for those with oily skin because unlike moisturizers which can leave pore-blocking residue on the surface, face serums are usually water-based. They can also be chock-full of tried and tested oil-fighting ingredients like tea tree and salicylic acid.
Many of the same ingredients found in facial moisturizers can also benefit the delicate eye area, but a few extras set eye creams apart. Shehadeh recommends looking for hydrating, firming and anti-aging formulas, including hyaluronic acid, algae or seaweed extracts, and lightweight oils like jojoba. You can also try a cooling ceramic applicator or face roller for depuffing and a lifting effect, she says.
This simple eye cream by Paula’s Choice contains a blend of ingredients that help hydrate and brighten the skin around the eyes. It’s hypoallergenic and ophthalmologist-tested, as well as oil-free and non-comedogenic, so it’s good for most skin types. It’s also formulated with wild butterfly ginger flower to protect against blue light damage from screen time, as well as niacinamide and squalane for antioxidant benefits.
This eye cream is infused with volcanic water from French volcanoes and is enriched with hydration-boosting hyaluronic acid, antioxidants, and minerals to firm the skin and fade dark circles. The serum-like texture absorbs easily and is gentle enough to use daily. It’s also a great choice for all skin types, but is particularly beneficial for dry and sensitive skin.
Sunscreen protects us from damaging ultraviolet rays (UVA and UVB) that cause skin burns, wrinkles, dark spots, and ultimately cancer. Using sunscreen correctly along with other sun protection measures can reduce early signs of aging and minimize skin cancers when used as directed.
The main components of any sunscreen are the active ingredients, which are called “sun filters” or “UV absorbers.” Most people use a mixture of sun filters to shield themselves from a variety of different UV wavelengths, and each sunscreen has its own unique protective properties.
When a sunscreen is applied to the skin, it emulsifies, forming a light film of sunscreen agents and emollients. The emollients keep the sunscreen from clogging pores, and they help the sunscreen spread easily. Other ingredients, like thickeners, emulsifiers, chelating agents, pH-balancers, and preservatives, are necessary to keep the active ingredients in solution and prevent spoiling or having a shorter shelf life.
Some sunscreens contain antioxidants or beneficial ingredients, such as soothing niacinamide. Other ingredients, such as blue-light-filtering molecules, are thought to reduce the inflammatory effects of sunlight on skin and may help to minimize dark spots (melanin pigment concentrated in sun-triggered areas of the skin). Using a broad spectrum sunscreen with UVA and UVB protection is recommended.