April 22, 2011 The older we get, the more important skincare seems to become. Taking proper care of your skin can keep you looking radiant and youthful for years to come. The dozens of helpful articles listed below offer tips on how to protect yourself from the sun’s harmful rays, how to navigate the confusing world of skincare products, how to address the cosmetic changes that occur over time and more. Like it or not, beauty is often determined by the health of your skin since it’s what we see first. The good news is that if you feel self-conscious about your skin, it can usually be fixed. Find out what’s going on with your skin at a microscopic level and learn what you can do to keep it in tip-top shape. Step 1 – Cleansing Most of us know that cleansing is an important part of good skin care. The purpose of a cleanser, or soap, is to surround, loosen, and make it easy to remove dirt, debris, germs, excess oils, and left-over products applied to the skin. Unfortunately, there are harmful effects of cleansers on the skin. Many people have dry skin because of their cleansing routines, not because their skin is normally dry. Often people think that their skin isn’t clean unless it feels dry and tight after they wash it. People get used to the way their skin normally feels. They come to expect that they will have dry, rough patches on the backs of their hands, itch in winter time, and sometimes have a dull complexion. They don’t know that their choice of cleanser could be hurting their skin. How do you know what type of cleanser to use and where? The first step is to understand your cleanser options: Bar soaps – The most irritating cleansers but the best to get rid of dirt and grime Liquid cleansers – A wide variety of tolerability – good for cleaning all but the oiliest skin Facial cleansers – The mildest cleanser but may not remove oil and dirt as well. Cleansing Bottom Line You don’t have to feel dry to be clean You have good options Use the mildest cleanser possible that still removes dirt, oil and debris Step 2 – Moisturizing Moisturizing is an essential step in good skin care. A good moisturizer can stop the dry skin cycle from spiraling into cracked, thick, flaky skin. An effective moisturizer will have a combination of ingredients that: Replenish the skin’s natural ingredients that help maintain its structure Cut down on damage from free-radicals Help the cells function more normally Good Moisturizer Ingredients In the past, moisturizers were essentially water and wax mixtures that worked by trying to hold water in the skin. The only real difference between these moisturizers was how they “felt” to the consumer. Now there is complex science behind the new state-of-the-art moisturizers that are available. Some ingredients that you’ll find in a state-of-the-art moisturizer are: Glycerol – Helps water and other moisturizer ingredients penetrate the skin to get where they are needed. Ceramides – Help replenish the skin’s natural oils. Hydroxy Acids – Help with exfoliation of dead skin cells Niacinamide – Helps the skin produce more natural oils, and may also help reverse the signs of sun-damaged skin, like brown spots and blotchiness How to Choose a Moisturizer Not all skin is the same, and not all moisturizers are the same. Picking out the best moisturizer for your skin depends on what your skin needs. Consider the following skin conditions when choosing a moisturizer: Moisturizers for dry skin Moisturizers for oily skin Moisturizers for normal skin Moisturizers for acne-prone skin Moisturizers for red skin Moisturizers for eczema, atopic dermatitis, or sensitive skin Moisturizers with sunscreen Moisturizer Bottom Line Don’t settle for your grandmother’s old cold cream. Pick a moisturizer with good ingredients for your skin, and enjoy your healthier skin. Step 3 – Sunscreen The final step in a good skin care program is using sunscreen, but it’s the most forgotten. It’s easy to tell if your skin is dirty or dry, requiring a good washing or some added moisture. We can see or feel that our skin needs some extra care. Unfortunately, most of the damage to the skin from UV radiation is beneath the surface and happens so slowly that we don’t realize how much damage is being done. Most people know that exposure to UV radiation can cause sun damage to the skin, including sunburn, photoaging, and increased risk of skin cancer. But did you know this damage also occurs when you walk from your house to your car or sit next to a window during the day? Even those little bits of exposure add up over the years and can cause wrinkles, dark spots and skin cancer. Sunscreen Decisions Dr. Lawrence Jaeger is a board certified dermatologist in New York City and Medical Director of Advanced Dermatology Associates, a state of the art medical practice with multiple locations in Manhattan and the Bronx. Dr Larry Jaeger and his group of board certified dermatologists and medical providers are expert in the diagnosis and treatment of all skin, hair and nail disorders and specialize in the practice of medical, cosmetic and surgical dermatology. They accept all Insurance Plans, HMOs, PPOs as well as Medicare and Medicaid.