As a dermatologist, I know that even the best quality skin care, when used improperly, will not produce the desired effect. Furthermore, using the wrong products for your skin type, is a waste of time and money. Here are the top five skin care mistakes I see women make most often – and my advice for how to turn them around:
1. CUT BACK ON MOISTURIZERS – Women are programmed from early on to apply moisturizer twice a day to prevent and to correct the signs of aging. Moisturizers just plump up skin temporarily as they trap water in the cells. But if you have oily or acne prone skin, your skin is not craving moisture. In fact, your skin produces too much oil. Even dry skin can be over moisturized, which results in a build up of dead skin cells that remain on the surface of your skin and making it dull and coarse. Your skin may need moisturizer when it feels tight and dry, or just certain areas of your face may benefit from moisturizing period. Get off the treadmill of overdosing on creams and emollients which healthy skin does not need to stay youthful.
2. DON’T BE STINGY WITH SUNSCREEN - Apply a good sunscreen, about 30 minutes before going outside. It can take that long for it to be fully absorbed by your skin. Sunscreen also needs to be reapplied throughout the day. Sunscreens with physical blocks (like titanium dioxide and zinc oxide) are more effective than chemical sunscreens and should be worn 365 days/year, even on cloudy days, when your skin will be exposed to UV rays for more than 20 minutes.
3. MOST WOMEN DON’T HAVE SENSITIVE SKIN –Sensitive skin is weak skin. No one is born with sensitive skin, but it occurs because the skin becomes lazy from too much moisturizer, and intolerant from perfumes, dyes and additives. If you think you have sensitive skin, you may be using only mild products –which only further weakens your skin so the problem continues or gets worse. The best treatment for sensitive skin is retinol because it strengthens skin, and enables skin to renew itself. A skin-strengthening product such as ZO Skin Health’s Radical Night Repair Plus is ideal to turnaround sensitive skin.
4. STICK WITH A GOOD REGIMEN: Stick with a simple regimen, from one company. If you mix and match brands, you’re more likely to have redundancy–too much of one ingredient–or not enough of another. Your regimen must include a good cleanser, treatment product (that activates cellular function), antioxidant (that suppresses free radicals), moisturizer (for occasional use), SPF 30 sunscreen, and nighttime repair product. If you have acne or oily skin, other specialty products will need to be added. The older you get, the more cellular function slows and the more repair you need. So you may need more products–or least products that work harder – in your 50s and 60s than you did in your 40s.
5. WATCH EXPIRATION DATES: Some skin care products will lose their potency after repeated exposure to light or air. Vitamin C, retinol, glycolic acid and hydroquinone are some of the best and most effective ingredients, yet all of them are particularly vulnerable. Airtight, opaque packaging helps, but it’s not fail-safe. If you notice that the skin care you are using has a funny smell or has turned brown or yellow, it is probably past its sell date and needs to be replaced.
ABOUT ZEIN OBAGI, M.D. – Board Certified Beverly Hills Dermatologist ZeinObagi, MD is the quintessential skincare expert and creator of ZO Skin Health, his new range that bridges the gap between therapeutic medical products and daily skin care. www.zoskinhealth.com
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