Arts & Leisure

Skin Care Routine of the Week: Reminding Us All to Read the Ingredients

Let’s talk about skincare! My skin is super sensitive and dry, so this edition will be geared toward people who would like to hydrate during the winter months. There are no particular products I prefer for my skin; however, I am always cautious of the ingredients in the products I use. So, I have some suggestions of ingredients to look for and those to avoid.

If you have dry skin in general, in the winter, or combination skin, I would stay away from face washes containing salicylic acid. Instead, look for face washes with glycolic acid or glycerin. Salicylic acid will dry your skin out and is typically used to reduce the appearance of acne by decreasing the amount of oil in your skin. Importantly, it is used to remove warts, moles, hair, and birthmarks because it increases the skin’s moisture level and breaks down the substance in your skin that allows skin cells to stick together. Often salicylic acid is used in face washes to erase pimples and oily pores.

Glycolic acid is great for acne-prone skin, but it can easily take off a necessary layer of skin in winter for those with extremely sensitive skin and rosacea. Otherwise, it’s a great ingredient. At first use, glycolic acid may dry your skin, but using it on a regular basis can increase the amount of collagen and elastin in your skin—which helps keep your skin bright and healthy in the winter months.

Glycerin is a natural hygroscopic compound used in skin care products and food preservatives and is my preferred ingredient in face wash for the winter time. As a humectant—a substance which retains moisture—glycerin draws moisture from the surrounding air to keep skin healthy and hydrated. By using products containing glycerin, my skin stays hydrated without becoming too oily or excessively moisturized.

The area of skin under our eyes is typically one of the more sensitive spots on the face; it easily shows rest and age. A lot of eye creams are anti-aging, but it’s important not to use anti-aging products until your skin starts to fold or wrinkle. That said, no one that has youthful skin should be using eye creams that contain retinol. Retinol is derived from vitamin A and, like glycolic acid, helps generate collagen. But, retinol can irritate your face if you have sensitive skin and can make you break out because of its high potency. Also, it can over-dry skin.

Ingredients to look for in eye cream include glycerin, and hyaluronic acid. Hyaluronic acid, like glycerin, is a humectant that helps to maintain moisture. It can even hold 1000 times its weight in water per molecule which makes this ingredient a great candidate for dehydrated skin.

Generally, those who have dry skin should look for a heavier moisturizer with humectants such as hyaluronic acid, glycerin, and dimethicone, which can prevent itching and chafing. Mineral oils can also help lock in moisture. If you are also prone to sun damage, look for moisturizers with SPF. Additionally, vitamin E and jojoba oil work well with humectants to keep skin happy, healthy, and hydrated in creams and moisturizers.

And lastly: exfoliator! For those of us with dry skin, we should be careful about how often we use any sort of exfoliator during winter months. However, this completely depends on the product you use. Some exfoliators recommend use 2-3 times a week, while others recommend once a week. I tend to gravitate towards exfoliators that are used once a week during the winter so I can scrub my skin without irritation or redness.

If you are looking for a gentle exfoliator or want to make your own, sugar is a great and gentle alternative to salt. It will not upset the pH of your skin. On the other hand, salt is a stronger but more purifying exfoliant. Oatmeal is probably the best option for those who have dry and sensitive skin because it is calming and can scrub effectively. If you’d rather use an exfoliating oil, good choices for dry/sensitive skin are coconut oil, which also moisturizes, rosehip, aloe vera, which is also cooling and can eliminate puffiness, sweet almond, and apricot kernel oils, which are great for any skin type to use as a gentle exfoliant.

These tips should help you keep your skin happy, healthy, and hydrated for the winter months!