Tag Archives: skin care tips

Try The “Tissue Test” To Determine Your Skin Type

If you’re trying to choose the best skin care treatment for your skin, whether it be cleansing, moisturizing, or toning, the first step is always the same: determining your skin type. Which should be easy, right? How far off the mark can you be? But truthfully, we’re all a little unsure, and if you’re reluctant to admit confusion, you’re not alone.

You see, as it turns out, determining your skin type can be more difficult than you might think. That’s because skin type changes as you age. Acne-prone teens can grow into adults with dry sensitive skin and clear skinned twenty-somethings can develop breakouts later in life. Heaters, air conditioning, changes in weather and other external factors can also affect skin behavior. If you’re among the many who are not sure which skin type category your fall under, you may want to try the “tissue test” for an accurate read.

Woman smiling

The Tissue Test

  1. Cleanse your face. Use a gentle cleanser to wash your face and pat dry. Remove all traces of makeup. This will clear away the daily accumulation of oil and dirt, leaving your skin in the best shape for the test. Be careful to avoid over washing.
  2. Wait an hour. This will give your skin time to return to its most natural state, restoring pH balance after cleansing. Try to avoid touching your face during this time.
  3. Dab your face with tissue.
  4. Pay most attention to your “T-zone,’ the area including the nose and forehead.

Results

Normal Skin
If you have normal skin, your skin will show no oil and no flaking skin, and feel smooth and supple. If you have this, congratulations, this is the most desirable type.

Oily Skin
A greasy tissue means greasy skin. Oily skin is also characterized by large pores and a shiny complexion.

Dry Skin
If your skin feels taut or shows dead skin flakes it means you have dry skin. It is also common for people with this skin types to have small pores. Moisturize, moisturize!

Combination
If your skin shows all three traits of the above type, join the crowd. Combination skin is the most common skin type. Usually, this means the skin in the T-zone is oily, while other parts are normals or dry.

Woman smiling

Skin Problems
In addition to having a “type,” there are two common “problem” categories that your skin can fall under.

Sensitive skin
If your skin reacts easily to regular facial products, developing redness, itchiness, or rashes, your skin is sensitive.

Acne-Prone
Teenager of not, if you see spots, you’ve got acne-prone skin. Look for a good product with benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid on the market, or visit a dermatologist for advice.

Did you do the tissue test? Did it work for you? Let us know, and tell us what works best on your skin type.

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Lifestyle May Be Your Skin Care Savior

Your skin will not lie. You can say you never ate that sugary food, didn’t go out in the sun without sunscreen, didn’t skimp on sleep; the list goes on, but your skin will give you away every time. You can lie all you want, but that blemish, sunburn, or wrinkle will be there to testify against you.

Face it, there’s only one way to prevent your skin from revealing your sins, and that is to stop sinning. It’s time to accept the fact that the only way to keep your skin quiet is by keeping it healthy. Here are some lifestyle changes to help you choose the right path to healthy skin.

Woman in nature

Protect Your Skin From the Sun
One sure way to prevent skin from premature aging is to protect it from the sun. There is no surer way to prevent age spots and wrinkles or to lower the risk of skin cancer. Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 15 and apply generously, repeating every two hours, or more, if you’ve been swimming or perspiring.

Try to avoid the sun between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., when its rays are strongest and do your best to stay in the shade.

Wear protective clothing. Tightly woven long-sleeved shirts and pants, and wide-brimmed hats provide the best protection from the sun. There are also laundry additives on the market which give clothes an extra layer of UV protection for a number of washings, as well as sun protective clothing with built-in protection from ultraviolet rays.

Stop Smoking
Smoking narrows the blood vessels in the outer layers of the skin, decreasing blood flow and depleting skin of nutrients and oxygen. The result is older looking skin and wrinkles.

Additionally, smoking is a danger to collagen and elastin production. Collagen and elastin are the fibers that maintain skin’s strength and elasticity.

Woman smoking

Also, the faces that you make from smoking? The pursing of the lips? The squinting? Also likely to cause wrinkles. How can you prevent this? Quit smoking. Ask your doctor for tips and treatment advice.

Be Gentle
Even simply daily cleansing can tax your skin. You can keep the toll to a minimum by limiting bath time. Hot water can remove oil from your skin, and the longer you spend bathing, the greater the loss of moisture. Keep bath time down and try to use warm water, rather than hot.

Swap strong soaps and detergents for mild cleansers to keep skin better hydrated.
Shave carefully, using shaving cream, gel, or lotion prior to shaving. Use a clean sharp razor and shave in the direction in which the hair grows to ensure the smoothest shave with the least skin nicks and cuts.

Pat skin dry after washing to make sure some moisture is left on the skin and follow up with an SPF containing moisturizer that is suited to your skin type.

Eat well
Never underestimate the importance of a good diet for skin health. Eat your veggies, fruits, lean proteins, and whole grains. Research suggests that diets high in unhealthy fats and processed carbohydrates may age skin prematurely, while vitamin C-rich foods may promote younger-looking skin.

Woman meditating outdoors

Control Stress
Stress can increase skin sensitivity and lead to breakouts and other problems. You can manage stress by setting limits and decreasing overwhelming activity in exchange for things you enjoy, or doing low-intensity exercises like yoga and pilates.

Turn Off Your Cell Phone
According to Dr. Francesca J. Fusco, if you keep your head down often while scrolling or texting, you may begin to notice lines in your neck. She suggests hanging photos at eye level in rooms in which you text the most as an enticement to keep your head up during phone use.

Let us know how you have changed your lifestyle to improve your skin health. We want to know!

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Streamline Your Beauty Routine

If you keep apprised on beauty news, you’ve probably been intrigued by the 10-step beauty routine. While it is hard to deny the apparent agelessness of Korean skin, keep in mind that Koreans prepare for this from an early age. While Western children are learning how to consolidate their earnings and 401Ks, Korean children are busy learning how and when to apply their essences and ampoules and the benefits of the double cleanse.

Woman smiling in nature

True, modern Western women do need to be concerned about their skin, but they also need to be concerned about being superheroes, and sometimes that doesn’t leave time for a ten-step beauty program. If we’re going to multitask, why shouldn’t we ask the same of our beauty products? Here are some ways of streamlining your beauty routine for maximum beauty with minimum energy.

All In One Cleanser
Eliminate the need for multiple products by purchasing and all in one cleanser. Find a whole family friendly soap in a neutral scent to act as a shampoo, bubble bath and body wash.

Dry Shampoo
Need to clean, but have no time to wash and style. Spray some dry shampoo into your roots to absorb excess oil. You can also boost volume by massaging dry shampoo into your roots with your fingers to add a little texture to fine, thin hair.

Eye pencil

Jumbo Eye Pencil
Avoid the hassle of separate shadows, liners, and highlighter. Use a bronze or nude jumbo eyeliner crayon to do triple duty. Use it as an eyeshadow by coloring lids from crease to lash line and then contour cheeks by drawing a light line just below your cheekbones and blending back toward your hairline.

Triple Nutrition Oil
A blend of natural oils. like olive, almond, and avocado, can work on your dry skin and your flaky scalp. Use it head to toe for great skin and lustrous hair.

Tinted Lip Balm
Just one tube of tinted lip balm can bring color to your cheeks and lips. Just dab a little on the apples of your cheeks and blend with your fingertips for a natural, rosy tone.

Tinted lip balm

Complexion Correction Perfection
Surpass your basic lightweight foundation by using one which incorporates an anti-aging complex with a broad spectrum SPF to protect from sun exposure.

Glow on the Go
For instant radiance, try a blotter paper booklet filled with pages pressed with blush and highlighting powder. Simply tear out a page and rub on areas where the light naturally hits. Use the reverse side to blot excess oil.

What do you use to streamline your routine? Tell us your favorite time savers!

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Unisex Skincare Products That Work

Should couples share everything? Gwen Stefani seemed to think so. The lyrics to the No Doubt song, “Bathwater,” feature the blond vixen claiming to “love to wash in (her man’s) old bathwater” and even makes references to “sharing a toothbrush.” Sure, we’ve heard of girls to throwing on their man’s jackets, undershirts, colognes, and watches, and we’ve seen guys borrowing the occasional nail polish and eyeliner, but how about when it comes to personal hygiene? Although there has yet to be recommended the use of the communal toothbrush, there are some products that work well for both sexes. So in the name of equality, let’s explore a few.

Serum
While serum should always have antioxidants and corrective properties tailored to your skin, there are some hydrating formulas which can soothe the skin for you after cleansing, while doing the same for him after shaving. Ideal formulas have no scent and work for all skin types, but remember, no hogging!

Couple cleansing together

Cleanser
Perhaps the biggest difference between men’s and women’s skincare routines is the cleansing part. Women cleanse religiously, while men seem to be more sporadic about it. However, despite the regularity, or lack thereof, one thing is for sure. Both sexes need a cleanser that removes debris, dirt and oil.

Everyday Moisturizer
If you and your man tend toward oily skin, you probably want to pool your earnings into a large tub of a lightweight moisturizer with antioxidants, botanicals, and minerals to reduce shine and balance skin. Also, keep in mind that he may be more comfortable using something in a gender neutral package, so try to keep the frills to a minimum.

Scent Free Shower Cleanser
Use this while showering together or separately. Look for something creamy and Ph balanced to smooth skin while it cleanses. Again, scent-free is recommended for sharing; nothing with too much perfume or cologne.

Couple using skincare together

Face Mask
While the image of a woman in a face mask has been fodder for American sitcoms for generations, men are now equally entitled to this skin clearing vehicle. Share a clay mask to open clogged pores and soak up sebum with a natural buffer to slough off dead skin cells.

Lightweight Sunscreen
His skin may be thicker than yours, but that doesn’t mean it’s not susceptible to sun damage. A non-greasy, lightweight, untinted sunscreen will work for both of you, so look for something with broad spectrum protection and an SPF of 30 or above. Be sure that both of you cover face as well as neck.

Lip Balm
You owe it to each other to keep your lips equally kissable. Find a colorless, weightless balm with added UV protection and keep reapplying throughout the day.

Do you share hygienic products with your better half? What do you think? Are there benefits to sharing? Let us know!

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Aging And Skin Elasticity

If there is an observation to be made about aging, it is that there is an increase in the elasticity in your waistband of your pants and a decrease in the elasticity of your skin. Unfortunately, while our pants get stretchier it seems our skin just gets saggier and we begin to wish that the skin on our faces was as plump as the skin on our mid-sections. If you are noticing the effects of gravity on your skin, there is hope! There are a few things you can do to make sure the skin on your face stays as resilient as the elastic on your sweatpants.

Protein
Your skin is made up of two main proteins; collagen and elastin. Elastin gives your skin its stretchiness and collagen provides your skin with structure. As you get older, these proteins begin to break down, as does your bodies ability to produce them. While you may not be able to control the intrinsic causes of aging skin, such as genetic makeup, there are factors that you can mitigate.

Woman in sun
Aging Caused By the Sun

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, even a minimal amount of exposure to the sun without proper protection can cause premature aging. Photoaging, or aging caused by the sun, not only breaks down the collagen existing in your body, but also prevents the production of new collagen. The result? Saggy skin.

Dehydration
The Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology says skin needs about 10 to 15 % water content to maintain its supple appearance. Dehydration causes skin to thin, putting it at risk for sagging and wrinkles. Even if you are getting adequate amounts of water, you may still experience dehydration caused by drinking too much alcohol, exposure to inclement weather or disease.

Woman smoking
Smoking
Yellow stains, thinning skin, and lip lines are all things that a smoker is likely to develop. A study in the journal Archives of Dermatology says that smoking inhibits collagen synthesis. In addition, lighting up increases enzymes called (wait for it) matrix metalloproteinases (spelling bee word) that can degrade collagen and other proteins in your skin. The researchers also found that these changes occurred independently of absence or use of sun block.

What Can You Do?
It is never too late to change, and, thankfully, there are some small alterations you can make to maintain skin elasticity. Wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 and avoid sunlight between 10 am and 4 pm when the sun is at its harshest. Drink plenty of fluids, including lots of vitamin C enriched juices to help build collagen and use moisturizers for hydration.

Certain skin creams can be used to replace antioxidants lost through smoking and sun exposure. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, creams with alpha-lipolic acid, co-enzyme Q10 (CoQ100 and selenium are effective at restoring antioxidant compounds Laser resurfacing and radio frequency are other options for improving skin appearance.

How do you bounce back when your skin doesn’t? Let us know how you keep your skin supple and plump!

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Skin Care Tips For Every Body Part

When it comes to skin care, our faces usually get the most amount of attention. After all, our faces are usually the focal parts of our bodies, and the most exposed. However, one only needs to look at Michelle Obama’s arms, Heidi Klum’s legs, and Cameron Diaz’s back to know that the other body parts can speak multitudes. And besides, if you’re going to show off that rose tattoo on your neck, or the unicorn on your shoulder blade, you better make sure that the skin surrounding it is up to snuff.

Whether it’s providing the canvas for a new tattoo, or emulating your favorite celebrity, the skin on all parts of our body needs equal and individual care and you need to know how to provide it. Read on to learn how to pamper your skin from head to toe.

Woman who takes care of her skin
Face
Let’s start at the top. The most basic elements of facial care are protection and hydration. That means making sure your skin has a strong moisture barrier and limited exposure to damaging free radicals. Moisturizer and SPF is an absolute necessity. A moisturizer with a built in SPF of 15 or higher packs a great one two punch, or use products separately to keep your face well protected. The thin skin around your eyes may require extra care. Cosmetic physician Dr. Monica Bandaker suggests eye creams which contain caffeine which minimizes dark circles under the eyes by constricting blood vessels and brightening skin.

Neck
If faces are the number one skin priority, the neck has to be a close second. To avoid signs of aging on your neck, always apply sunscreen. Although neck creams tend to be stronger than facial creams, you may choose to use a facial cream containing retinol to avoid purchasing separate products. Bonadaker says that retinoic acids are “the most studied group of active ingredients for the skin to increase cell turnover, shrink pores, brighten skin, and correct acne.”

Ears
Believe it or not, ears are one of the three most likely areas to be affected by skin cancer, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation. Don’t neglect them when you’re slathering on the sunscreen.

Arms and Legs
When it comes to alligator skin, the arms and legs are the most commonly affected areas. Moisturizer to the rescue. Banadaker suggests, “creams containing uric acid, which help with the exfoliation of the top dead layer of skin.”

Woman with clean hair
Scalp
Although most of us think dandruff when it comes to scalp related skin problems, it is also a common area for skin cancer to develop. Since slathering hair with sunscreen is not an option, a hat is the best bet for scalp protection. As for the dryness, choose moisturizing shampoos and conditioners, and choose lukewarm water over hot when you rinse.

Back
If bacne is the bane of your existence, perspiration is probably at the root of the problem. Dried sweat clogs pores and leads to breakouts. Make sure to avoid letting sweat dry on your body after a workout and apply an exfoliant to help keep skin blemish free.

Hands
If you want to post selfies of your manicured nails or fabulous rings, you need to be sure to keep your hands in prime conditions. Wear rubber gloves when using harsh cleansers and apply moisturizer nightly. Thick petroleum creams, such as vaseline, are especially potent healers of dry hands.

How do you make sure all the parts of your body stay beautiful? Let us know your all over pampering techniques!

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Try Acupuncture To Improve Your Skin

woman getting acupuncture
It seems that at one time, the thought of having needles stuck in your body was more likely to conjure images of Pinhead from “Hellraiser” than Elle Macpherson and Gwyneth Paltrow. However, in these days, it seems like the concept has become much more desirable. Besides Macpherson and Paltrow, Oprah Winfrey and Jim Carrey are just some of those joining the long list of celebrities who swear by the power of acupuncture. There is a lot of proof that acupuncture is quite effective, and even more effective than many traditional treatments. Here’s a closer look at the ancient art of acupuncture.

What is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is a practice involving the insertion of needles into points that lie along the channels, or meridians of energy in your body connecting your body’s organs. This stimulation caused by the needles is thought to unblock energy to achieve qi, a balance of the body’s vital energy. Acupuncture has its origins in China and is thought to have begun 2,000 to 3,000 years ago.

How Does it Work?
While it is still not clear exactly how this phenomena is explained, it is speculated that it works by stimulating Raphe’s nuclei in the body, which increases serontin production. This is then thought to set off reactions which modulate inflammation and other parts of the immune response system. Since many skin conditions are linked to inflammation, it follows that acupuncture would likewise have a positive effect on the skin.

Acupuncture and Skin
Dr. Raja Sivmani, assistant professor at UC Davis and fellow researchers set out to evaluate the effects of acupuncture on several skin conditions including acne, hives (ueticaria), itchy skin (pruritis), and atopic dermatitis, a type of eczema causing dry skin. The team’s findings were based on past studies conducted in the US, China. Germany, Korea, Taiwan, and Sweden. Here are some of the results.

Studies of acupuncture treatments for atopic dermatitis were very promising, showing positive results to be significantly higher for those who underwent acupuncture treatments as opposed to those who received a placebo treatment or none at all. In the case of urticaria, or hives, acupuncture proved to reduce the duration of episodes more effectively than placebo acupuncture and resulted in a greater decrease in the wheals caused by this condition. One study showed that the wheals disappeared completely and increased the time between episodes for about a quarter of the patients.

One case reported acupuncture as capable of relieving dermatitis, while another was shown to be more effective than herbal medicine and vitamin C in clearing rashes caused by neurodermatitis. Four studies revealed acupuncture to be effective in treatment of HPV wart, facial elasticity, breast inflammation and excessive sweating. More conclusive studies have yet to be done on the effectiveness of the treatment on chronic inflammatory conditions, like acne.

Have you ever used acupuncture? Tell us about your experience! Your opinion counts! We love to hear from you!

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