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Skin Health Secrets: How to apply skin care products

By Kathleen Williams

It is pretty well known that different people get different results with the same skin care products. This can be caused by variations in body chemistry, but more often than not it's because everyone applies skin care products differently.

Of course, if a particular product doesn't give you the results you expect, it doesn't always mean you are applying the product incorrectly. Unfortunately, many products just don't work as advertised, no matter what you do! To top that off, some products may work for some people but not for others even when used properly. Nevertheless, when a product doesn't work, it may often be due to incorrect application.

Products like skin creams, gels, or lotions are a mixture of chemicals that have a biological action, applied topically to the skin. So the effectiveness depends on whether the active ingredients work, and whether they are absorbed properly into your skin. Your skin's temperature, hydration, environment and other factors will influence your skin's ability to absorb the active ingredients in a product. To be sure that you get optimal effectiveness of you skin care products:

"Cleanse skin before applying any products. The best time to apply is right after you come out of a warm shower or bath because not only is your skin clean, but it is also moist and warm, so it will absorb whatever you apply much better. Do not wash with hot water because excessive heat accelerates aging. Water should be comfortably warm but not hot. However, if you plan to apply anything oily that blocks the pores, splash cool water on yourself to close pores. Just pat dry with a towel. Also, use a charcoal shower filter to prevent exposure to the chlorine in the water. You probably drink bottled or filtered water - but you can absorb more chlorine through your skin during a shower than you would get from an 8 oz. glass of water!

"When cleansing your skin, don't use regular soap or shampoo, they're much too drying. Use a good moisturizing soap, a skin cleanser, or plain warm (not hot) water.

"The top layer of skin is mostly made from dry, dead cells. When this layer becomes too thick, either from aging or poor skin care skin, the active ingredients of a skin care product have trouble penetrating. Professional microdermabrasion safely removes that top layer of skin, revealing the healthier, younger-looking skin underneath and allowing skin care products to be better absorbed for greater effectiveness. In addition, microdermabrasion done regularly strengthens the skin by stimulating elastin and collagen production, which helps diminish wrinkles, fine lines, acne scars and many other blemishes.

"Use short, firm strokes to apply skin care products. Do not stretch the skin. Do not rub. After applying, gently massage the products into your skin by tapping the area with your fingers for 30 seconds or so.

"When using a professional microdermabrasion product at home, it is important to read the directions and follow them very carefully. Remember, professional microdermabrasion is usually applied with expensive machines and medically-trained professionals. You can save a lot by doing it yourself, but don't be over-eager to get that 10-years-younger look. Apply the sponges gently the first time - let your skin adjust to the application. Add a little more time and pressure each application, about 2 weeks apart, up to a maximum of 3-5 minutes (depending on the sensitivity of your skin).

"If you have sensitive skin or allergies, always test the products you want to use first on a small patch of skin on your underarm (the soft skin on the bottom of your forearm).

DO YOU HAVE SENSITIVE SKIN?

Did you know sensitive skin is very common? More than 40% of people say they have it. Its causes include age, heredity, gender, and racial differences. These questions below can help you find out if your skin may be sensitive. Of course, a trip to your dermatologist is the best way to find out!

1. Does your skin get extra dry after you wash it with soap?

2. Does your skin get extra oily and break out after you use particular types of moisturizers?

If you answered "Yes" to one or both of these questions, you may have sensitive skin.

3. Does your skin get red, itch, burn, or feel "tight" after coming into direct or indirect contact with perfumes and/or particular shampoos, shaving creams, detergents, dish soaps, hair sprays, cleaning products, or deodorants?

Irritants to sensitive skin include many household and personal products. The fragrances and dyes in just about every household product, and many personal care products, can cause irritation either from direct contact or even from deposits left on your clothes, towels, or bedding. If you have any of the classic signs and symptoms of sensitive skin in Question 3, try to use hypoallergenic products without ingredients known to cause skin reactions.

4. Does your skin get red, itch, burn, or feel "tight" after extended exposure to sun, wind, heat, or cold?

Sensitive skin often reacts to extreme weather conditions. In fact, anything in the environment that damages your skin's natural protective barrier against water evaporation -- called sebum -- can irritate sensitive skin.

5. Do you have acne or psoriasis?

People with acne, psoriasis, or skin conditions like eczema often have sensitive skin. These conditions impair immune system functioning and/or destroy the skin's protective barrier. If you have of these conditions, you may have sensitive skin.

About The Author
Kathleen Williams is the developer of DermaSponge, a home microdermabrasion product which achieves results comparable to professional treatments at a fraction of the cost. She is also the founder of http://www.dermanesse.com, where her products may be purchased.


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