No matter what the ads say, you don't need expensive skin care products to have glowing, healthy skin.
"Every good skin care routine should follow three simple steps: cleanse, treat and prevent," says Dr. Amy J. Derick, a clinical instructor of dermatology at Northwestern University.
If you're on a budget (and who isn't?), spend your skin care dollars on sunscreen, specifically a broad-spectrum and water-resistant product with an SPF of 30 or higher. "Sunscreen prevents wrinkles, sun spots and even skin cancer, making it the most effective skin care product you can buy," insists Derick. Regularly using sunscreen before you go outside is one of the most effective ways to maintain healthy skin.
Beyond sunscreen, Derick says it's important to identify your skin type before starting any skin care routine. The five skin types are:
- Sensitive skin that may sting or burn after product use.
- Normal skin that is clear and not sensitive.
- Dry skin that is flaky, itchy or rough.
- Oily skin that is shiny and greasy.
- Combination skin that is dry in some areas and oily in others.
"Expensive skin care products are not necessarily better," said Derick. "Instead, it's more important to buy skin care products that are formulated for your skin type. If your skin tends to be oily, select a product made for oily skin. If you have sensitive skin, look for the words 'fragrance-free' on labels."
Seven tips to save money on skin care products:
1. To select the most effective products, pay attention to product ingredients. For example, if you have acne-prone skin, cleansers that contain either benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid can help clear some people's skin. If you're concerned about fine lines and wrinkles, look for products containing retinol.
2. Consider using dual-function products, such as a moisturizer with sunscreen. Make sure the sunscreen is broad-spectrum and has an SPF of 30 or higher.
3. Cleanse your skin before applying skin care products and before going to bed. Cleansing removes dirt, oil and debris and helps prevent clogged pores and breakouts.
4. Get the most from your moisturizer by applying it to damp skin as soon as you get out of the shower to lock in moisture. For your face, look for moisturizers that say "oil-free" or "non-comedogenic," as these won't clog your pores.
5. Limit the number of skin care products that you use. Using too many products on your skin, especially more than one anti-aging product, can irritate the skin and make signs of aging more noticeable.
6. Apply sunscreen before going outside and reapply sunscreen every few hours or immediately after swimming or sweating.
7. Consider using petroleum jelly. This inexpensive product can have several uses, including moisturizing dry skin and nails and treating minor injuries. However, avoid using petroleum jelly on the face, as this may cause acne in some people.
--From the Editors at Netscape