Here’s a public service announcement for women new to skin care or who use body skin care products on their face: Stop. Facial skin is extremely delicate and can’t handle many of the skin care products designed for the thicker skin of the rest of the body. They’re different creatures. Treat them so.
Of course, it can be daunting to navigate the literally thousands of cleansers, anti-aging creams, moisturizers and lotions that pepper the skin care industry. You can easily spend hundreds of dollars on luxury brands. But more often than not, you can find an over-the-counter drug store equivalent that’s just as effective because they often use the same ingredients.
In this article we’ll review skin care products for the face, and ingredients to look for in the products you choose.
Don’t even think about using a bar soap on your face. Traditional soaps often contain sodium lauryl sulfate which can irritate and dry the skin. Try a liquid facial cleanser or foaming product instead – they’re gentler and more nourishing to your face, and some products do double-duty as moisturizers. Look for cleansers with ceramides, which help the skin retain moisture.
Consider also that some cleansers are specially formulated for oily skin and women prone to acne. If that’s you, consider a product with salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide. The former removes dead cells and helps exfoliate the skin. The latter unclogs pores. They’re both ideal for oily skin and can prevent outbreaks.
Among the many anti-aging creams that purport to reverse aging of the face, you’ll find that retinol and its derivatives among the more prominent ingredients, and with good reason. Retinol increases cell turn-over and may build collagen. Another compound you’ll find is GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid), which relaxes nerves and may temporarily prevent wrinkles.
In addition, choose products with new ingredients like peptides and sirtuin, which is a protein that can smoothen skin texture and improve elasticity. And watch for labels with PALL KTTS, copper peptides and palmitoyl oligopeptide.
Facial skin is constantly exposed to pollutants and toxins that zap skin of the moisture needed to keep skin looking young and healthy. While previous generations used petroleum jelly as an inexpensive moisturizer, the products were often greasy and heavy.
Newer moisturizers with emollients and humectants hydrate the skin without the greasiness of petroleum jelly. Humectants assist in moisture retention, while emollients soften and plump the skin. Combine them and they can temporarily reduce fine lines around the eyes and neck.
While you’re at it, look for moisturizers with glycerin and hyaluronic acid, which further assist humectants and emollients in their purpose to reduce fine lines.
You’ve heard a lot about antioxidants in recent years. These are molecules that prevent cell damage from free radicals that hasten the aging process. In recent years, some manufacturers have introduced antioxidant creams, with promises that, among other things, claim to reduce wrinkles and sun damage.
Antioxidant creams are a newer entry among facial skin care products, and at this point, claims remain largely unproven. If you purchase an antioxidant cream, look for a product with niacinamide or the antioxidants coenzyme Q10, coffee berry or soy extract – all of which may reduce the effects of sun damage.