10 Frequently Asked Questions About the Skin
DO YOU HAVE QUESTIONS ABOUT YOUR SKIN AND SKINCARE? Read this week's blog to understand your skin better.
Proper skin care is important. The skin plays a vital role in protecting your whole body from infection. Having healthy skin means you have a stronger defense against viruses, bacteria, and other microbes from entering your body.
Skincare may seem to be simple but it can get complicated and confusing.
Let’s explore some common questions people have when it comes to skin and skincare.
1. How do I find out what my skin type is?There are two common methods for determining your skin type. The first is the Bare-Faced Method. To do this method, you need to thoroughly wash your face with a mild cleanser, gently pat it dry and leave it bare for thirty minutes, meaning you shouldn’t apply any toner, serum, moisturizer, treatment, or oils. After thirty minutes, examine your t-zone ( cheeks, chin, nose, and forehead) for any hint of shine or oiliness. After another thirty minutes, make some facial expressions to feel if the skin is tight. If it is, then you most likely have dry skin. Your skin is normal or combination if there is noticeable shine on your nose and forehead. If there is shine in most parts of your face like your cheeks, forehead, nose, and chin, you have oily skin.
The second method is the Blotting Sheet Method, which is a more convenient and quicker way of learning your skin type. Gently pat a piece of blotting paper on the different areas of your skin. To see how much oil is absorbed by the paper, hold it up against the light. If there is no oil, then you have dry skin. If the blotting paper picks up oil from your forehead and nose, then you have normal or combination skin. You have oily skin if the blotting sheet is visibly wet from residue.
2. How often should I exfoliate?
Exfoliation is a process of sloughing off dead skin cells to diminish dullness and to enhance the skin tone. There are two types of skin exfoliants. The first is physical exfoliants which are grainy particles that shed off cells from the surface of the skin. The second is the chemical exfoliant which typically involves hydroxy acid to help disintegrate the bond between skin cells for them to be sloughed off more easily.
Experts recommend physical exfoliation two to three times a week depending on how your skin tolerates it. Exfoliating every day is bad for the skin as it can strip it of its natural oil which may lead to breakouts.
Chemical peels, on the other hand, should have a four-weeks between applications. However, if you experience some negative effects such as severe redness or burning, discontinue using it entirely. It is always best to consult a dermatologist before doing a chemical peel. You should also do a patch test before using a chemical peel.
Read more: AHA vs. BHA: Everything You Need To Know About Chemical Exfoliants
3. Do I need different products for my morning and evening skincare routines?
For many people, it is convenient to use the same skincare products in the morning and evening, especially if they do not have much time to follow a meticulous skincare routine.
However, you should understand that your skin is exposed to different conditions at different times of the day. During the day, your skin is exposed to dust, makeup, microbes, UV rays of the sun, and other environmental pollutants. Your morning skincare routine should prepare and protect you from all the pollution and stressors encountered during the day. Your morning skincare routine should involve products containing antioxidants such as vitamins C and E to help nourish, strengthen, and protect your skin from free radicals. Sunscreen is always a must in order to shield your skin from the UV rays.
Your evening skincare routine should focus on cleansing the toxins that accumulated during the day. Your skincare products should nourish the skin to accelerate your skin’s healing and regeneration process during the night. Ingredients such as retinol and hyaluronic acid work best at night.
4. Can diet affect acne?
Acne is a common skin concern wherein bumps form on the surface of the skin. These bumps commonly appear on the face, neck, back, and shoulders. During puberty, when hormonal levels are erratic, acne breakouts are triggered. For most people, acne usually goes away during adulthood.
Our diet affects our skin. Certain foods are known as high glycemic carbohydrates. These foods are made of simple sugars that spikes up the insulin level in your blood. Examples of food include pasta, white rice, white bread, etc.
When this happens, your sebaceous glands produce more oil which increases the chances of an acne breakout. Other foods containing dairy products, saturated fats, and trans fat also spike insulin levels and are also linked to inflammation that contributes to acne.
Low glycemic food like whole grains, legumes, unprocessed fruits, and vegetables may decrease the risk of acne breakouts. Some other food containing zinc, vitamins A, C, and E help reduce inflammation and acne breakouts. Other skin-friendly foods include yellow and orange fruits and vegetables, blueberries, tomatoes, green leafy veggies, turkey, nuts, salmon, and other fatty fish. When planning your meals, always take into account your food allergies.
5. How long should I use skincare products before I see results?
The epidermis, which is the outer layer of the skin undergoes continuous regeneration. All cells turn over every 28 days. During your 30s, your cellular turnover takes 27 to 45 days. It continuously slows down as you get older.
You can see the immediate results of cleansers and masks. Anti-aging products or other products that promise clear and blemish-free skin, such as serums and eye creams, should be continuously used for the duration it takes your skin to undergo a complete regeneration cycle to witness the results.
6. Which areas of the body need more attention?
Some sections of your skin are more sensitive than others. Your face, neck, chest, and hands are where the signs of aging become most visible. Your skincare routine should not only focus on your face, but should extend to your neck and chest as well.
Neck creams are specially formulated to prevent and minimize “turkey neck.” Turkey neck refers to the sagging and wrinkled skin on the neck that usually starts when your neck muscles become weaker and your skin loses its elasticity due to aging. Neck creams can also be used on the chest. Your ears also need extra care as they are one of the top three areas affected by skin cancer. Protect your ears by applying sunscreen every day. This is an area people often forget needs proper protection!
The skincare products you use on your face, neck, and chest can also be used on your hands where signs of aging are also evident as they are also exposed to harmful environmental factors every day.
7. Can I use retinol even if I have sensitive skin?
Retinol, which is a derivative and skin-friendly type of vitamin A, is famous for its various benefits such as unclogging the pores, exfoliating and smoothing the skin, diminishing pigmentation, fine lines, and wrinkles and treating acne. The downside of retinol is flaking and dryness but people with sensitive skin can still use retinol, according to dermatologist, Dendy Engelman.
Start out by using retinol only twice a week and then gradually increase use to every other night until it is tolerated by your skin. To avoid excessive dryness and flaking, you can prepare your skin by applying a layer of moisturizer, followed by your retinol. Avoid applying retinol on the corners of your mouth, nostrils, and eyelids. It takes around three weeks for your skin to adapt to retinol. During this time, you may experience a slight degree of irritation which is considered acceptable during this time since your skin is adjusting.
Pregnant and nursing women and those with sun-damaged skin should not use retinol.
8. Do I need an eye cream?
The skin around your eyes is more delicate than the rest of the face. It is also more prone to dryness and can easily show the signs of aging and fatigue. Squinting and other facial expressions, along with the constant movement of the eyes, contribute to the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
Sun damage and dwindling levels of collagen also contribute to signs of aging around your eyes. Fluids also build up around your eyes causing puffiness and dark circles.
Eye creams are specially made to target these concerns in the eye area. They are thicker than other creams and contain more active ingredients to moisturize, strengthen, tone, and firm the delicate skin around your eyes.
9. What is the difference between serums and facial oils? Do I need both of them in my skincare routine?
The main difference between serums and facial oils is the size of their molecules. Facial oils have bigger molecules so it can only penetrate the outer layer of the skin. Facial oils complement the natural oil that your body produces. The overall benefit of facial oils is to provide the skin with a layer of protection to help prevent water loss and maintain hydration levels of your skin.
Serums have various consistencies ranging from thin and watery to thick and gel-like. Serums work better for different skin concerns because they can easily penetrate the skin. They can contain up to 70%of active ingredients such as vitamins, hyaluronic acid, and retinol which make them effective at treating various skin concerns such as fine lines, wrinkles, and age spots.
Both serums and oils offer many benefits to your skin, so you can ultimately decide whether you need them both. The most important thing to remember is to layer them correctly. To ensure maximum absorption and efficacy, always layer your skincare products from the thinnest to the thickest.
10. Can my skin become acclimated to my skincare products, making them less potent?
Once you find the suitable skin care products that are suitable for your skin, you might be hesitant to try new ones. According to a skin expert, Dr. Schutz, your skin does not become resistant to the benefits. The active ingredients in your skincare products will continue to provide you positive results unless there is a drastic change in your skin condition because of other factors.
The only exception is retinol. Your skin builds up a tolerance to retinol, which means that your skin is ready for the higher strength retinoids but your skin does not build tolerance against their efficacy.
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