Taking care of your skin – what do dermatologists recommend?

Jun. 16, 2020
Your skin is a superhero. It goes out to fight for you every day, battling bacteria, breathing and hydrating, and controlling your temperature. Skin care is the foundation – pun intended – of looking beautiful. But when you smear on those creams and powders, what are you doing to your skin? 
Anything that gets this close to you needs to be chosen with care. So what do dermatologists recommend?
Well there is no single answer – but most agree that skin care is simpler than the beauty industry would like to make it! The American Academy of Dermatology suggests focusing on three things – cleansing, moisturising and sunscreen. It also suggests that fragrance-free products are less likely to cause irritation. 
CeraVe is one of many brands that state they are fragrance-free. Their products are developed by dermatologists too. They keep their range simple and direct – cleansers, moisturisers and serums. And their not so secret ingredient is ceramides, waxy lipids that are naturally found in skin. 
The range includes body and face cleansers and moisturisers, with special products for psoriasis, eczema and bumpy skin. In simple blue and white packaging with a reassuringly clinical look. 
CeraVe may have been the first to incorporate ceramides into its original product launch in 2005, but many brands now boast of their replenishing and anti-ageing properties.  
No sulfates
Sulfates or sulphates are common lathering and degreasing ingredients used in shampoos, body washes and skin cleansers. But they can cause irritation to sensitive skin and eyes. Some dermatologists warn that their degreasing effect can be too harsh, removing essential oils and leaving your skin dry and unprotected. If this sounds like you, you can find shampoos, face cleansers and body washes that don't use sulfates, also labelled SLS (Sodium Lauryl Sulfate).
The purifying facial cleanser, make-up remover cleansing towelettes and purifying pore scrub products in the Nitrogena Naturals range are all sulfate-free. Other Nitrogena products, such as the Hydro Boost Cleansing Gel, do contain SLS so you need to check the labelling carefully. 
Shampoos without sulfates are easier to find, because of fears – promoted by some dermatologists and denied by others - that the degreaser can fade hair colour. Here Neutrogena offer their T/Sal Therapeutic Shampoo Scalp Build-Up Control, but again other Neutrogena shampoos such as T/Gel Therapeutic shampoo or the Triple Moisture Cream Lather shampoo do contain sulfates. 
Mineral magic
Greek scholars out there might think that comedogenic is something to do with making you laugh. Quite the opposite – it is making you bumpy, or spotty. One of the issues we all face with make-up is the risk that it can clog the pores, leading to poor skin tone or blemishes. Some substances are known to do this. So dermatologists coined a word for it. 
Non-comedogenic then, is what you want to look for if you are prone to acne or blackheads. Mineral make-up is a good choice here, as it tends to sit on top of the skin rather than be drawn into the pores. Mineral formulas also need less of the colours, additives and chemicals that hold a more liquid product together. 
A good brand here is Mineral Hygienics – they offer foundation, finishing powder and concealer as well as a good range of eyeshadows and mascara. Inorganic minerals don't attract mould or fungus, so they last longer and don't require added preservatives. 
Preservative problems
Parabens are preservatives included to protect against bacteria and fungi growing on all those tasty fruit extracts and coconut oils in your make-up. They are used in almost half of all cosmetics. 
Although they are probably harmless on your skin, all those cleansers and toners may affect the environment when washed down the drain. So they have joined the list of problem ingredients for many, and Paraben-free has become another go-to. 
Drunk Elephant is more than just a super name. This brand does not use parabens, sulphates or mineral oils in any of its products. They are also 100% fragrance and essential oil free. In fact they name six groups of substances that they avoid, including alcohols and silicones.  So what do they put in their in their moisturisers, masks and cleansers? They use lots of natural oils from passionfruit, apricot, and marula amongst others. Marula, if you did not know, is the fruit of a tree native to southern Africa, rich in Vitamin C and protein. And elephants, it is said, eat the fruit as it lies on the ground fermenting. That's the story behind the name!
But all that goodness comes at a price - upwards of $70 for 30 ml of C-Firma Day Serum, or 30 ml of A-Passioni Retinol cream.  So don't spread it on too thickly. 
All the beauty brands look to differentiate themselves, whether by what they contain or what they avoid. If your skin is sensitive it pays to listen to the dermatologists, and check your product labelling for irritants like these.
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