By: Dr. Loretta Lanphier, ND, CN, HHP, CH
You’re never too young or too old to start caring for your skin. In fact, skin care and protection should be a consistent part of your daily health, fitness, and beauty routine. If you take care of your skin, your skin will take care of you! But with all of the skin care options on the market, it can be quite confusing when trying to choose those that will best meet your needs.
Many claims are made regarding this or that product’s ability to dissolve wrinkles or eliminate dry skin. Other manufacturers talk up their expensive ingredients and market their products as superior. How do you sort it all out? Maybe an overview of the basic types of products available will help.
A Look at the Products
Below is a breakdown of the major categories of skin care products, along with some advice about choosing the right ones for your situation:
Cleansers: Cleansers help remove unwanted dirt, grime, pollutants, and perspiration that accumulate on your skin throughout the day. They are available in bar form, or as a liquid or foam.
Sunscreens: Sunscreen is an absolute must for the care and protection of your skin. Excessive exposure to the sun may cause changes in your skin cells that can be very damaging. Totally avoiding the sun is not the answer, because we need 20-30 minutes of direct sunlight every day in order to synthesize vitamin D.
Fair-skinned people need to be extra careful regarding sun protection, but those with dark skin are susceptible to the harsh effects of the sun too. Use of a natural sunscreen with a minimum SPF rating of 15 is recommended to prevent damage and lower your risk of skin cancers. Note that many moisturizers include sunscreen in their formulas; however, caution is urged as many of these moisturizers contain toxic ingredients which are harmful to the skin and the body.
Moisturizers: Moisturizers are designed to soothe dry skin and minimize wrinkles. They come in creams, lotions, and oils. Oil-based moisturizers are a good choice for use on areas of severely dry skin such as arms and legs. A cream or lotion may be a better option for your face, as it will leave it feeling less greasy and heavy. Always use a moisturizer after bathing in order to seal moisture into your skin.
Eye Creams: An eye cream is helpful at improving the delicate skin around your eyes. Eye creams hydrate and protect this fragile area, and may even temporarily tighten fine lines and/or minimize dark circles around your eyes.
Toners: Skin toners are particularly helpful if you have oily or combination skin. Natural skin toners such as Hydra-Tone™ are usually formulated for all types of skin.
Exfoliants: Exfoliants improve the appearance of your skin by sloughing off dead cells from the surface. If you have sun-damaged skin, exfoliants can also help to smooth and eliminate discoloration from your skin. They are an excellent choice for use on aging skin that is rough and sallow. Younger skin naturally sheds dead skin cells more easily than older skin. Exfoliants are often found in moisturizers and cleansers.
Retinoids: These vitamin A-based products help to significantly reduce the visibility of wrinkles and fine lines on your skin. When applied topically, retinoids temporarily “plump up” the area around a wrinkle, thus minimizing its appearance. While this is not a long-term solution, retinoids do offer some immediate benefits.
Herbals: Herbal antioxidants, such as green tea and others, can be applied topically and/or taken orally to battle free radical damage and improve the overall appearance of your skin.
Supplements: Coenzyme Q10 is a naturally occurring cellular antioxidant that is known for its ability to reduce wrinkles in the skin. It is often included in moisturizers. Co Q10 has also shown great promise at preventing and treating debilitating diseases such as Parkinson’s, heart disease, diabetes, and certain forms of cancer.
Deciphering the Ingredient Label
You may notice that skin care products have a labeling system that can be quite confusing. The Food and Drug Administration receives many requests every year to help consumers understand the language of cosmetic and personal care product labels. However, in order to avoid confusion, the ingredients in these products must be listed by their chemical names. The use of brand names or trade names on the label would provide little clue as to the identity of the ingredients.
Despite the technical language of skin care product labels, it is possible to gain some useful information from them if you understand that the ingredients must be listed in sequence based on the amount included in the formula. For example, a product with alcohol listed near the top of the list would have more alcohol than one that lists alcohol as the final ingredient. If you have dry or sensitive skin, you would want to choose a product that has a minimal amount of alcohol. (It’s actually best to avoid alcohol altogether). As a consumer, you can compare products this way and more effectively choose what is best for you.
About the Author
Loretta Lanphier, ND, CN, HHP, CH is a Doctor of Naturopath, Clinical Nutritionist, Holistic Health Practitioner and Clinical Herbalist in Houston, TX and Founder / CEO of Oasis Advanced Wellness. Under her leadership, OAW is known and respected as one of the leading companies in providing safe, clean and hi-tech natural health and wellness solutions for whole body wellness. Because of the need for high-end natural and organic skin care products, Dr. Lanphier has developed Lanique Botanicals, an all-natural skin care line which promotes natural health and anti-aging solutions for the skin. All Lanique Botanicals and OAW developed products are free of toxic ingredients, heavy metals, irradiation, excipients and preservatives and are certified organic, organic, wild crafted or of the highest purity and quality that we can obtain while still providing the utmost degree of active ingredients. All product batches are laboratory tested to ensure that you are getting exactly what the label states. We will never knowingly compromise health in order to provide a cheaper product or to get a product out quickly. Lanphier is Editor and contributor to the worldwide Free E-newsletter Advanced Health & Wellness. Please visit us at Oasis Advanced Wellness or www.oasisserene.com