3-Step Cleansing: Showcase Your Skin

3-Step Cleansing: Showcase Your Skin

Excellent skin grooming isn't difficult, and doesn't have to be time-consuming or expensive. But it can be confusing.

There is such an array of cleansing products, it's difficult to choose a cleanser that is just right for you. Soaps are combinations of a fat source, either tallow (from the solid fats of cattle and sheep) or an oil (coconut, palm, peanut) and a salt-like alkaline compound which allows the dirt-soap mixture to dissolve in water for removal. Mild or gentle soaps contain a lot of moisturizing cream and are less alkaline, but rinse off less effectively.

Soap made with glycerine and alcohol are best for oily skin. Milled soaps last longer and lather well, while floating soaps have extra air and disappear rapidly. Specialty soaps sound good but actually add no extra benefit as they are not on the skin long enough to be absorbed. Liquid soaps contain the same ingredients as regular soap but are formulated with more water.

Cleansing lotions and creams combine mineral or synthetic oil and wax which melts on contact with warm skin. "Cold" creams contain menthol in the formula that evaporates, therefore cooling the skin. Some cleansing lotions are used specifically to wipe off greasy make-up or eye mascara.

Most people will benefit from having two cleansers: one for the treatment of oily areas and one for dryness. It is best to use milder cleansers on the face and hands, keeping in mind that your skin texture may change in different environments. Avoid using deodorant cleansers and highly perfumed cleansers on your face.

Exfoliation Sensation

Dry skin is an accumulation of dead skin on the surface. Regular removal of these dead cells can prevent many skin problems. Exfoliation smoothes wrinkles and rough skin by eliminating dead skin debris that can clog pores.

There are chemical (alpha- and beta-hydroxy acids and retinic acid) and mechanical (cleansing grains, waxy creams, abrasive polishing pads or loofahs) exfoliants. When using exfoliants, don't rub too vigorously on sensitive areas of the skin. Rub up and out on your face, against the direction of wrinkles while rubbing toward the heart on the rest of your body. It is best not to use abrasive exfoliants if you have acne -- you may spread the problem. Do not exfoliate any broken or irritated skin areas. Rubbing with a pumice stone helps eliminate dry skin on the soles of feet, elbows and knees. If time is an issue, exfoliate while in the shower or bath but be careful to keep the product away from your eyes when using exfoliants with sandlike grains.

Moisturizing comes from more than applying a day or night cream. It is a process of preventing excess dryness, removing dry, dead surface cells, bringing water to the skin's surface and preventing that water from evaporating.

Humectants like glycerin, honey, sorbitol or gelatin attract water to your skin's surface, but a good moisturizer must contain an occlusive (like a natural lipid) to decrease water loss by locking in surface moisture. Safflower, corn, wheat germ and almond oil are examples of unsaturated vegetable oil occlusives. Silicone oils act as an occlusive as well as a filter which makes the skin appear smoother.

No two skins are alike. But since Mother Nature so cleverly supplied us with such a complex cover, we owe it to ourselves to enhance what we naturally have.

Article copyright Canadian Health Reform Products Ltd.

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By Jennifer Farnell

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