You've heard all the commercials. You've seen the magazine ads. Everywhere you turn, even on the Internet, companies are selling skin care products that promise to slow down the aging process and help you look and feel your best. The most important thing to remember when researching over-the-counter skin care products is to trust yourself. No one knows your skin better than you.
There are a lot of skin care products on the market, and it's easy to waste a lot of time and money trying to find the best solution. Take time to educate yourself before you buy. Think of what follows as a guide, but be sure to check with your dermatologist, internist, or family doctor if you have specific problems with your skin.
Assess Your Skin Before You Buy
Before you buy any over-the-counter skin care products, there are a few facts about your skin you need to know.
- Your skin type. Is it oily, dry, normal, sensitive, or a combination?
- Your skin complexion. Do you have fair skin that burns easily or light to medium skin that may burn? Or do you have a medium tone that usually tans or a darker complexion that only rarely burns? Or is your complexion so dark that you never burn?
- Your skin concerns. Do you want preventative maintenance to avoid premature aging? Do you have a skin problem, such as persistent acne, age spots, melasma (also known as "the mask of pregnancy"-- darkened areas on sun-exposed parts of a woman's face), or rosacea. You may also have sun damage, facial wrinkles, or fine lines that need special attention. Are your eyes puffy, or are there bags under them? These issues need special care.
- Your personal habits. Are you a smoker? Do you spend a lot of time in the sun? Do you take a daily vitamin? Do you eat a well-balanced diet? All these factors will affect how you should care for your skin.
With this information, you can wisely sort through skin care products to find the ones that will be best for your skin. Also, ask your dermatologist or a skin esthetician at your local health spa or skin care counter for recommendations.