Recessionista's Guide to Skin Care

Tube of factor 15 sun block lotion.Image via Wikipedia
Continuing with the last series, lets take a look at skin-care.

Facial Moisturizers
Most inexpensive moisturizers are as good as expensive ones and many of the claims on labels are marketing gimmicks.
1. A moisturizer has a lot to do with skin type and age. Choose between thicker night creams, lotions, sunscreens or tinted moisturizers depending on your preference.
2. You don't need to spend a lot on a facial moisturizer unless you want to. Ingredients are the best indicator of quality, not price.
3. Dry skin should look out for Alpha hydroxyl acids, and emollients such as vitamin E, aloe vera, shea butter, sweet almond oil, etc.
4. Oily or acne prone skin needs salicylic acid, glycolic acid and retinoids to help deal with zits and unplug blocked pores. Look for the label “Oil-Free” on the bottle.
5. Aging Skin needs exfoliating AHAs (alpha hydroxies) and BHAs (beta hydroxies) help remove the top layers of skin, which can reduce the appearance of fine lines. Look for ones with glycolic and lactic acid. Also look for antioxidants such as vitamin A, E and C.
6. Buy smaller bottles as moisturizers lose their efficacy once being opened or being exposed to sunlight. Those that include an SPF or Vitamins tend to have even shorter shelf lives.

1. For Dry Skin: Get sunblock rather than sunscreen since it contains essential nutrients such as zinc and titanium, which are especially helpful for those with sensitive, dry skin.
2. For Oily or Acne Prone Skin: Moisturizers that contain SPF help eliminate an extra (potentially pore-clogging) step in your routine. SPF is also extremely important to use in conjunction with acne medications because they usually increase your skin's sensitivity to the sun.
3. When shopping, check the ingredient listing to make sure that the product contains the following ingredients. If you buy beauty products that claim to have an SPF in them, such as moisturizers and makeup, verify that the ingredients qualify as a true SPF. Also remember that they are no match for a true sunblock or sunscreen.

• Sunblocks
  • Zinc oxide, Iron oxide and/or titanium dioxide.
  • These mineral heavy products will not be as water-resistant or as lightweight on the skin as a chemical sunscreen.
• Sunscreens
  • UVA: Avobenzone, oxybenzone (parsol 1789), benzophenone, sulisobenzone, dioxybenzone and meradimate.
  • UVB: Oxtinoxcate (octyl methoxycinnamate), octocrylene, homosalate, octisalate, cinoxate, ensulizole and aminobenzoic acid.
  • Lightweight and easy to wear, the water-resistant properties of sunscreen are better than sunblock.
  • PABA, which is slowly decreasing in use, is sometimes found in sunscreens and should be avoided if you have problem skin such as acne, eczema or skin allergies.
• Sunscreen and sunblock have 2 to 3 year lifespans. Always store them in a cool location, as heat destroys the chemical properties.

Facial Scrubs
A simple exfoliator or scrub designed for everyday use can easily be found in any pharmacy or drugstore. The majority of well known brands make scrubs that are priced to suit the average consumer.

The key though to finding the right scrub, regardless of its cost, is in the ingredients and the quality of the granules. Once you learn to decipher the ingredient list, you can easily discern between an efficient, well-priced scrub and an average scrub with an unreasonable price tag.

  • Cleansing Scrub -- The most basic, gentlest scrubs available are often suitable for daily use as long as you are not prone to acne or have sensitive skin. These are ideal for anyone with normal skin.
  • Medicated Scrub -- Those with acne-prone skin could benefit from a scrub with salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide. These scrubs often contain alcohol in them too, which is helpful for drying up blemishes. Be very careful when using scrubs on acne as harsh scrubbing can actually worsen acne.
  • Anti-Aging Scrub -- Choose a scrub that contains AHAs (Alpha Hydroxy Acids). On the other hand, if cost is a concern, don't be afraid to go for the cheaper brand. Since exfoliators get rinsed off the skin, the additives may not be as effective as using a moisturizer that contains the same ingredients.
  • Moisturizing Scrub -- If you have dry skin, using a scrub is quite important, however, do make sure that you look for one that contains nourishing ingredients such as cocoa butter, shea butter, jojoba oil, mineral oil or any other emollient.
With all facial scrubs, do be certain to use an SPF moisturizer as they will make your skin more sensitive to UV rays.

Facial Toners
A facial toner is that lovely product that you sneak in between washing your face and applying moisturizer in order to minimize the appearance of large pores and make the skin tighter and firmer. While they are not crucial to everyone's face care regimen, they can add a nice touch to your complexion if you buy the right product.

1. Figure out your skin type whether it's normal, dry, oily, combination, sensitive or acne-prone. Most toners and astringents are developed specifically to treat each skin type to maximize the benefits.
2. Pick out a few brands that can satisfy your budget and see what they offer. Don't worry about spending a lot. Since it's an intermediate step in your skin care regime and not a core component, you can be sure that even a drugstore brand will help refresh the skin.
Toners are sometimes called astringents (usually containing alcohol and salicylic acid for treating acne), tonics,clarifying lotions, refiners or fresheners.
  • Acne-prone skin deserves an exfoliating toner or an astringent with 2% salicylic acid.
  • AHA exfoliating toners are good for those with normal to dry skin, or a combination of the two.
  • Dry skin needs a moisturizing toner. Avoid those that have menthol, salicylic acid, or alcohol as they can dry skin more. If you want some exfoliating properties, a gentle AHA will do you good.
  • If you have oily or normal/oily combination skin, you would be best with an oil controlling toner. You may also enjoy a moisturizing toner during the summer. Then you can skip the moisturizer and just put on sunscreen.
  • Sensitive skin would be best using a calming or soothing toner.
Makeup Remover
Even the cheapest brands will do the trick. The only thing to be sure of before buying is that you are getting something that will be both gentle on your sensitive facial skin and non comedogenic so as not to cause breakouts.

If you wear waterproof makeup be sure to choose a makeup remover specifically designed for removing waterproof makeup (these usually contain mineral oil or glycerin). If you stick to mostly water based makeup then you only need a gentle makeup remover with a water base and no mineral oils or harsh cleansing agents.

Cheap and easy, the two most basic of makeup removers are Vaseline (petroleum jelly) and cold cream. They tend to do best for removing eye makeup and lipstick, but shouldn't be used on the rest of your face because they are capable of clogging pores. Another option is wipes or plain mineral oil and a cotton pad.

Facial Masks
1. Read the ingredient listings for items that will do what you really want. Clay is great for clearing up acne and shrinking pores, aloe vera, gel, AHAs are popular in moisturizing masks, etc.
2. Find a product to fit your lifestyle. Some products require waiting 15 to 20 minutes for it to dry and usage of two to three times a week for maximum benefits. If 40 minutes a week seems like too much, maybe shop around for a mask more compatible with your schedule.
3. Determine your budget. There is no truth in saying that an expensive mask will work better than an inexpensive one. The bottom line is that everyone's skin is different and if it works for your skin, then that's the best. Just keep in mind that with clay masks in particular, clay is clay. There is little need to spend a lot on clay unless you really want to.

And last of all the most crucial tip, 

Use the power of Google and read up on reviews online. Research your product/line thoroughly. There is a lot you can learn from other people's experiences and thus make the right choices. 

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  1. Agreed cent percent. :) I buy small bottles for moisturisers because I prefer to use the most recently manufactured products. Didn't know that mosturizers loose their efficacy once opened.

    Loved the tips. Thanks for sharing. :)

  2. @ Rati: Thks so much.. Glad to be of help!

  3. hi..awesome post...was very i have infinite doubts...d first one is arent we supposed to use retenoids in d daytime...??are there moisturisers that contain retenoids??
    about salicylic acid can u suggest a toner and a moisturiser that contains this ingredient??(i kno clean n clear and clearsil acne clearing cream contains it but it has only0.5% in it)..

  4. @ Nags: Yr doubts are most welcome.. I'll tell u what i know..

    1. Reteniods are *not* at all to be used in the day.. because they get degraded by exposure to sun.. you can read this post to get a clearer idea:

    2. Yes, there are moisturizers that contain reteniods, the most recent one i can think of is Ponds Age Miracle, even Renova has reteniod.

    3. I think Garnier light toner has salicylic acid.. am not sure though.. again this is an acid i don't really look out for as i have very occasional acne.. You cld try The Body Shop Tea tree collection.


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