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Vitamin C skin care – The challenge

June 12, 2011 Leave a comment

Vitamin C is often regarded as a wrinkle fighter or an anti-aging agent. The main objective of ‘Vitamin C skin care’, in scientific terms, is to increase the synthesis of collagen (a structural protein that is found in skin).  The additional benefit of ‘Vitamin C skin care’ is related to its capability of countering free radicals which cause damage to the skin.

Vitamin C skin care, however, faces a major challenge today. This is related to the oxidation tendency of Vitamin C skin care products. On coming in contact with any oxidising agent (e.g. air), the Vitamin C in the Vitamin C skin care products,  gets oxidised; thus making the Vitamin C skin care product useless (in fact counter-effective). The oxidised Vitamin C imparts a yellowish-brown colour to the Vitamin C skin care product. This is something that you need to check before buying a Vitamin C skin care product. Even after you buy a Vitamin C skin care product, you need to store it properly and keep checking that it’s still good to use (i.e. it hasn’t attained a yellowish-brown texture).

The manufacturers of Vitamin C skin care products have tried to deal with this (oxidation) problem in multiple ways (and research on Vitamin C skin care products is on the top of their list). One such method of retaining effectiveness of Vitamin C skin care products for a long term is to keep a high concentration (say 10%) of Vitamin C. However, this makes the Vitamin C skin care products even more expensive. The Vitamin C skin care products are already pretty inexpensive and making them even more expensive will throw the product manufacturers out of business. The other way is to use Vitamin C derivatives (like ascorbyl palmitate and magnesium ascorbyl phosphate). These are not only more stable but also inexpensive.  Even though the derivatives based products are not as effective as the Vitamin C skin care products, their stability against oxidation is a very desirable feature that makes them very attractive.  Moreover, these are known to be less irritating too.

Talking of effectiveness of Vitamin C skin care products, it’s important to mention that not everyone responds to Vitamin C treatments. So it’s not a magic potion in any way.  If you don’t see a noticeable difference in your skin, it might be because of your skin not responding to Vitamin C treatment (and the Vitamin C skin care products might not be at fault, at all).

As more research goes on, one can only keep our fingers crossed and wait for a complete solution to the challenges faced by ‘Vitamin C skin care’ today.

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Which is the best skin care product?

June 12, 2011 1 comment

There is really nothing like a best skin care product. There really can’t be anything like ‘The best skin care product’, because skin care products work differently for different people (based on the skin type to some extent). A product that is the ‘best skin care product’ for one person might end up being the worst for another person. So, a more logical question to ask would be ‘What is the best skin care product for my type of skin?’. However, this still is not completely logical. We tend to segregate people into 4 groups based on their skin types – i.e. dry skin, oily skin, normal skin and sensitive skin. However, this classification is just too broad to be used definitively in determining the best skin care product. We can say ‘best skin care product for a dry skin’ or ‘best skin care product for an oily skin’ are better statements than just ‘best skin care product’. But really, that is what it is – ‘better’; still not accurate.

So, it really comes to rephrasing the question to – ‘What is the best skin care product for me’. Yes, this is exactly the question that you should be asking, and unfortunately there is no easy answer for this. Arriving at the best skin care product for self will need some effort on your part.

First of all, you need to understand how the skin care products work. This is simple. You can consider all skin care products to be composed of 2 types of ingredients – Active and inactive. The active ingredients are the ones that actually work on your skin. The inactive ones just help in delivering these active ingredients to your skin. Both the ingredients need to work for your skin, in order for the product to be effective (and move on to become the best skin care product for you).

Besides the ingredients, the way you apply your skin care products is equally important. In fact, this is even more important. If you do not know how to apply skin care products, you might forever be hunting for the best skin care product for yourself, when that has already passed you. Moreover, it’s also important to decide on the frequency of application (of the skin care product). The environmental factors – temperature, humidity and pollution level, also affect the selection of best skin care product. Here are a few rules that you could use to ensure that your best skin care product is really the best for you:
* Cleanse your skin before applying that best skin care product.
* Use a makeup remover instead of plain water and remove your makeup before going to bed.
* The effectiveness of active ingredients is reduced when applied over another product e.g. over moisturiser. So apply that best skin care product first and then apply a bit of moisturizer if needed.
* Apply the products on moist and warm skin.
* You will have to experiment with a few products before you arrive at the one that is the best skin care product for you.
* Do not exfoliate too much or too hard.
* Vary your skin care routine as per the seasons (winter/summer etc), changes in environmental factors and changes in your skin type

Note that the best skin care product cannot be determined overnight. It’s only through experiment (and awareness) that you can find the ‘Best skin care product’ (for you).

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Choosing a facial skin care product

June 11, 2011 8 comments

Talking about skin care, ‘facial skin care’ seems to top the chart. There are loads of facial skin care products available in the market. The most common facial skin care products are the ones that are used as part of daily routine. These include things like cleansers and moisturizers. Toners and exfoliation ones are well known too but not many people use them as such.

The general classification of facial skin care products is based on the following:

* Gender (so there are facial skin care products for men and there are facial skin care products for women)
* Skin type (facial skin products for oily skin, facial skin care products for dry skin, facial skin care products for normal skin and facial skin care products for sensitive skin)
* Age (facial skin care products for old and facial skin care products for young)
* Skin disorder (i.e. facial skin care products for treatment of various skin orders like eczema, acne etc)

So that is your starting point for choosing a facial skin care product that suits you. A good way to start is by determining your skin type first. Also note that the skin type changes with age, so the facial skin product that suits you today, might not suit you forever and hence you need to constantly evaluate the effectiveness of your facial skin care product.

The facial skin care products are available in various forms i.e. creams, lotions, gels, masks etc, and a lot of people try to pit one against the other in their discussion on which form is best. However, one can’t really rate one form as better than another form. What suits you (and whatever you are comfortable with) is the best form of facial skin care product for you, really.

However, it’s important to note that these products work differently for different people. So the best thing is to try the facial skin care product on a small patch of skin (e.g. ear lobes) before actually going ahead and using it.

Another important consideration is the state of your skin. If you are suffering from a skin disorder of any kind, it is best to seek the advice of a dermatologist before you actually make your selection and start using a facial skin care product.

Once you have selected the facial skin care product for yourself, you also need to ensure that you use the facial skin care product in the right way i.e. follow correct procedures for application, use the correct quantity and make the facial product a part of your skin care routine.

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Are Natural skin care products the answer to all problems?

June 11, 2011 Leave a comment

When it comes to skin care products, you will find that a lot of people are very particular about using only natural skin care products. They treat all the synthetic products as harmful to the skin.

So, are natural skin care products the answer to all of our problems? What if a natural skin care product is not available for the treatment of a particular skin disorder? Are the synthetic skin care products so harmful that they should be banned?

Different people have different answers to these questions. However, the reality is that due to presence of synthetic preservatives, it’s really tough to find a natural skin care product that is 100% natural. There are natural skin care products that have natural preservatives, but their cost might be detrimental. Moreover, such natural skin products have a shorter shelf life and hence are not preferred by the manufacturers of natural skin care products.

Some people carry a wrong notion that since natural skin care products are natural, they cannot cause any harm to the skin. The suitability of a skin care product is not based on whether it is synthetic or natural. An unsuitable natural skin care product can harm you in almost the same way as a synthetic one. So, use natural skin care products, but be open to synthetic ones too (you might need them when a natural solution is not available)

Your selection of a natural skin care product should be based on 3 factors:

* The skin type (dry, oily, normal, sensitive) of the person who will use that natural skin care product
* The climatic conditions in which it will be used e.g. hot and humid condition would warranty the use of oil-free natural skin care products.
* The process for application/use of the natural skin care product. A good natural skin care product (in fact any product) can seem useless if not used in the proper way.

You can also make natural skin care products by yourself, by using the recipes that are readily available on the internet and in the books at book stores.

Use of organic fruits and vegetables is also popular as a natural skin care procedure. Some essential oils, herbal oils, are useful too and are known for their moisturising and antiseptic properties

However, using a natural skin care product does not mean that you can exercise carelessness with other aspects of skin care. Natural skin care products should be used like supplements to the following ‘essential’ recommendations: healthy eating habits (avoiding oily food), regular exercise, drinking a lot of water (8 glasses everyday), and cleanliness. This will then form a perfect and completely natural skin care routine that will help maintain a healthy beautiful skin for longer time.

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