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Cleansing does make a difference
Air pollution not only affects your lungs, but the particles cling to your skin as well. Some studies have even shown a correlation between high concentrations of particulate from air pollution and skin diseases. This makes it all the more important “to wash the day away” before bed.
Pollution compromises the skin’s barrier and its hydration level. But, if you scrub your face until it’s squeaky clean, you may be doing as much damage as not washing at all. Older skin often needs a gentler touch, in both the implement you use and the cleanser you employ. If your face is prone to irritation, opt for a soap-free cleanser that has a lower pH. Also, look for the words “gentle” and “fragrance free.” If your skin is dry, choose a creamy cleanser that includes ingredients such as glycerin and/or ceramides.
You can use an oscillating brush to cleanse your face, but be sure to clean the brush after every use and replace the brush head every three months. Select the right brush for your skin type for gentle exfoliation.
If you are using a washcloth, select a clean cloth every time you wash your face. A used face cloth can harbor bacteria or fungus that can wreak havoc on facial skin. When laundering washcloths, select the hottest wash cycle to sanitize them.
Beware of scrubs made of nut shells or fruit pits, they are too rough and sharp for the face.
After thoroughly rinsing, help to repair your skin’s protective barrier by applying a moisturizer immediately after washing your face. If you use a serum, apply that first, then your moisturizer.
In the morning, the first thing you should apply before moisturizer is sunscreen, 30 SPF or greater!
Sunscreen — the most effective anti-aging cream
Did you know? Sunscreen labels are new and improved! To fully protect your skin, look for “broad spectrum” protection against both UVA and UVB rays. Select sunscreen rated 30 SPF or higher. If you’ll be in or near the water, choosing a water resistant sunscreen will be helpful, but you still need to reapply it every hour or so. The word “waterproof” is no longer allowed on sunscreen labels, as they were never truly waterproof. And, don’t forget about your lips! Look for broad spectrum and SPF 30 in lip balm as well.
There have been numerous studies that prove use of sunscreen can reduce your chance of getting skin cancer. But sunscreen comes in more than just a bottle. At many sporting goods stores you can find sun protective clothing and hats. For clothing, the rating is UPF. Staying in the shade is helpful as well if you have sensitive skin.
Besides avoiding skin cancer, all these measures will help your skin to stay more youthful looking. The number one beauty secret to avoid wrinkles and dark spots is to protect yourself from the damaging rays of the sun.
Manage stress — improve your skin
Stress can affect your skin, hair and nails. Recent studies on mice scientifically demonstrated the link between stress and inflammatory skin conditions. Stress can worsen skin conditions like acne, eczema and psoriasis. Times of great stress can even cause hives. It can also lead to hair shedding. Many times, stress is accompanied by lack of sleep, which can leave you looking less than your best.
So, don’t be surprised if Dr. Golomb suggests stress-relieving activities in addition to a prescription for your inflammatory skin condition or rash.
Reducing stress benefits all the systems in your body, including your skin. The American Psychological Association recommends five steps to lessen stress:
- Take a break from the stressor
- Smile and laugh
- Get social support from friends or family
Hand sanitizers are useful, but have limitations
Did you know that hand sanitizers are considered an over-the-counter drug and are regulated by the FDA? Use of hand sanitizers does help in preventing the spread of flu.
The containers of sanitizer you see in public, and probably the ones you have purchased, most likely use alcohol as the primary disinfectant. You might see “ethanol” listed on the label. One drawback to this ingredient is that it is flammable.
Another germ fighting ingredient that can be used in lieu of alcohol is “quaternary ammonium compound.”
Triclosan was used in hand sanitizer and in over-the-counter antibacterial soaps, but Triclosan and Triclocarban are two of 19 now banned ingredients by the FDA.
It’s important for you to know, that none of these ingredients are fool-proof in killing all viruses, bacteria and other disease causing organisms.
The best use of a hand sanitizer is when you don’t have access to soap and water. A hand sanitizer is not going to remove dirt like the mechanical cleansing offered by washing your hands. Also, an alcohol-based hand sanitizer will dry out your skin, irritate it with prolonged use and possibly give you dermatitis. Actually, recurrent hand washing can do the same thing. Frequent use of hand cream with glycerin can combat this, however, if the itchy bumps have appeared, a topical corticosteroid can calm down the dermatitis.
In the fight against germs, hand sanitizers are an essential weapon, but they’re just part of the arsenal in preventing disease because they don’t kill everything.