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how to use skin products

You invest in quality skin care products with the best intentions, but do you know how to use them correctly? It can be a difficult enough to choose skin care products that are effective and appropriate for your skin, knowing how to use them correctly only adds to the challenge.

Do I use this every day? Do I use this in the morning, at night or both. In what order do I apply my products? Should I use these products together? With so many questions about using skin products, I thought it was a good idea to share a few basic guidelines. There is such a huge variety of skin products, not to mention a variety of skin type, it would be impossible to list every possible regimen. This is only a generic guideline. I recommend consulting with a skin professional to customize a skin care regimen appropriate for your

Layering skin care products in order

To maximize the benefits of your skin care products you need to use them in proper order. Not everyone will use all of these products, simply use them in order as they apply to you. In general you will use skin products in order of consistency, lightest to heaviest. Starting with cleanser, followed by any liquids such as a toner or a topical antibiotic. After cleansing and toning you will apply any serums, followed by any gel products, then creams and sunscreen is the last thing you apply.

Topical antibiotics
Eye Cream
Makeup Primer

Scrubs may be used before or after a cleanser. Personally, I usually use a scrub first and then use a cleanser to ensure that all the little scrub granules are removed

Facial Masque
A facial masque is used after cleansing. Depending on the mask you may cleanse it off, wipe it off or rinse it off. Follow the directions on the label. If you are using a facial scrub, you should use the scrub first and then follow with a mask. Be cautious of using a scrub and a mask together, if either product has active ingredients such as glycolic or salicylic acid. Most over the counter products are not very strong, however combing them may cause some irritation. After removing the mask you may use serums, gels and creams.

Sunscreen is the most important thing you will apply to your skin. You should choose your sun protection responsibly and use it religiously. I do not recommend using moisturizers or cosmetics with SPF ( with a few exceptions). The sun protection in most of these products do not provide sufficient sun protection and even if they did you probably would not apply enough of the product to adequately protect your skin, so you will still need to use a actual sunscreen. Some of the ingredients used in sunscreen do not play well together and if you use a moisturizer with an ingredient that doesn’t work well with an ingredient in your sunblock, they may reduce the protection you are getting.

When to use skin products, AM/ PM or both.

Cleanser AM/PM
Toner AM/ PM
Topical antibiotics AM /PM. ( as needed)
Antioxidant AM
Hydroquinine products AM / PM
Exfoliants PM (usually)
Peptides AM or PM
Moisturizers AM and/ or PM
Sunscreen AM Every day! Reapply every two hours with extended sun exposure.

You should cleanse your face in the morning and again before you go to bed. It is also a good idea to cleanse after sweating, this is especially important for young athletes with acne. Although most cleansers are fine to use twice a day, there are some cleansers that should be used only once a day. Cleansers with active ingredients such as salicylic acid, glycolic acid or benzoyl peroxide may cause irritation if used twice a day. If you are using an “active” cleanser at night use a basic cleanser in the morning or vice versa.

Most toners can be used twice a day, however there are some exceptions. If you are using a product with an active ingredient such as glycolic acid, salicylic acid or Benzoyl peroxide you may want to limit use to one time a day. This will depend a lot on the strength of the product and what other skin products you are using.

Topical Antibiotics
Topical antibiotics should be applied to clean, dry skin. Topical antibiotics can be drying if used excessively, I usually suggest to use them as needed. If you have very oily skin with active inflamed acne, you can probably tolerate using a topical antibiotic twice a day. I also suggest using the topical antibiotic after exercising or anything that causes you to sweat. Athletes should cleanse face and shower as soon as possibly, then apply the topical antibiotic.

Topical Antioxidants
Topical antioxidants should be used during the day to help combat the many free radicles we encounter during the day. Topical Vitamin-C also helps prevent sun damage. Some antioxidants are also believed to enhance the effectiveness of sun screan.

There are many, many skin care products that contain antioxidants, however those found in serums usually penetrate the best. A serum that contains at least 10% L-ascorbic acid is ideal. Although L-ascorbic is thought to be the most important of topical antioxidants, I believe that variety is important. No single antioxidant works against all free radicals and they work well when paired up. For this reason you may choose to use a Vitamin-C serum and another topical antioxidant product such as Prevage MD.

If you are using a copper peptide, their are some considerations. If you use tretinoin (Retin-A) at night, you may want to use copper peptide during the day. Copper peptides can make you topical Vitamin-C inactive, so if you use a topical Vitamin C, use the copper peptide at night or alternate days. Copper peptides act as an antioxidant and stimulate collagen synthesis in moderate use, however they can have an opposite effect if used in excess.

When I say to exfoliants, I am referring to skin care products that contain exfoliating agents such as Tretinoin or AHA’s. Exfoliants should be used at night, however you may use one exfoliant at night and another in the morning. An example would be using Tretinoin (Retin-A) at night and Obagi Exfoderm in the morning.

How you use a moisturizer will depend on your skin and the product it’s self. In general I do not put a huge emphasis on moisturizers. I personaly find the benefit of moisturizers to be mostly temporary and cosmetic, however there are some exceptions. The exceptions include sunburned or compromised skin, women post menopause, certain medical conditions, and those under going cancer treatment. If you have recently had a chemical peel or laser treatment, it is usually recommended to use a moisturizer several times a day. I recommend using a moisturizer during the day to benefit from it’s cosmetic effect.

Skin care products you should not use together

Antioxidants and Benzoyl Peroxide
Benzoyl Peroxide products work by introducing oxygen into the skin to inhibit bacteria proliferation. The oxygen will oxidize other skin care products such as topical antioxidant. When you use a peroxide product with an an antioxidant, they essentially cancel each other out.

Benzoyal Peroxide & Hydroquinone
Using hydroquinone together with benzoyl peroxide, hydrogen peroxide, or other peroxide products may cause a temporary staining of your skin. This staining can usually be removed by cleansing the skin.

Copper Peptide & Vitamin – C
Copper Peptides can inactivate topical Vitamin C. If you use both products, use the Vitamin C during the day and the Copper peptide at night or alternate days.

Avobenzone and Zinc Oxide
The three ingredients that are approved by the FDA to protect against UVA rays are avobenzone, titanium dioxide, and zinc oxide. You should always choose a sunscreen that contains at least one of the three ingredients. The challenge is that Avobenzone has been shown to degrade other sunscreen ingredients such as oxybenzone, octinoxate, zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. I am not sure if the United States even permits the combination of Avobenzone and physical sunscreens in skin products. (I have been trying to confirm if this is still true)

Avobenzone and Mineral Makeup
Mineral makeup is made with physical sunscreens and is not compatible with Avobenzone.

Skin care products you should use together

Cleanser and Clarisonic Cleansing Brush
Many people will spend less than 20 seconds cleansing their face, leaving behind makeup, dirt and oil. The Clarisonic Cleansing Brush uses sonic frequency of more than 300 movements per second to deep clean the skin and is set on a 60 second timer per use. Cleansing with the Clarisonic brush will remove 6x more makeup and 2x more dirt and oil than cleansing alone.

Vitamin C and Sunscreen
Using a topical Vitamin-C product can help enhance the benefits of your sunscreen. Topical Vitamin C is considered a photoprotectant. A photoprotectant does not work the same way as sunscreen, instead it protects skin from both UVA and UVB, by neutralizing the UV rays. When choosing a topical Vitamin C be sure to select a product with L ascorbic acid of 10% or more.

Hydroquinine and Tretinoin (Retin-A)
Hydroquinone and Tretinoin work synergistically. Both Hydroquinone and Tretinoin are very effective on their own, when you combine them you will enhance the effectiveness of both products.

Tretinoin and AHA’s
Tretinoin (Retin-A) can be used with mild AHA’s. A good example would be, the Obagi Nu-Derm system involves using Tretinoin at night and Exfoderm or Exfoderm Forte in the morning. Exfoderm uses a very mild Phytic acid and the Exfoderm Forte uses glycolic acid. Care should be taken when combining tretinoin with AHA’s. Tretinoin is a medical strength product and should be used under the supervision of a skin professional

Mineral Makeup and Physical Sunscreen
Although you should avoid using a chemical sunscreen with mineral makeup, you can use a physical sunscreen with a mineral makeup. Mineral makeup is made with Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide, so it will be compatible with any physical sunscreen you use.

Mineral Makeup with Tretinoin (Retin-A)
Tretinoin causes the skin to be dry and flakey. Most traditional makeup will only enhance the flaking. Just try to use liquid makeup on flakey peeling skin, it’s not pretty. Most powders are made with talk, which is a cheep filler and it will cause the skin to be more dry. True mineral makeup does not contain any talc. Mineral makeup also has anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce the redness experienced with the use of tretinoin. Another benefit is that it is a physical sunscreen, it will not irritate sensitive skin and is easy to reapply through out the day.

The content provide in this post is intended to be informative and does not replace medical or professional treatment.

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Read MoreMay 30, 2012 5:59 pm - Posted by Kristy