Whether young or young-at-heart, male or female, irritations on your face sometimes come with obvious signs such as redness, rashes, and blotches. But, symptoms such as overactive oil glands, blemishes and dried-up skin cells are also common irritation signs that you might be ignoring. In fact, you might be treating a blemish or oily skin with more of the same irritants making matters worse. These irritations can impair your skin’s immune ability, cause inflammation and accelerate the aging
process; and no one wants that. Steer clear of these short and long term sufferings with a few of these strategies.
Read the ingredients of the products applied to your face. Don’t stop at the front of the bottle with its claims of wonder, turn it around and read just as you would read the labels on the food you eat. Terms such as “hypoallergenic” and “noncomedogenic” are not regulated by any government agencies and can be used by manufacturers without guidance; so learn to trust only you. Opt for products that have simple formulas because they lower the chance of irritation. Fragrances, though nice and a great selling point, are one of the primary culprits of irritation. Don’t be fooled by a product that seems to have no scent, sometimes the chemicals used in the product’s formula are so unappealing that a neutralizing fragrance is added. Also, stay away from products that have a high content of alcohol, usually listed as the first or second ingredient. Alcohol cleans and disinfects but dries out all skin types.
Know the exceptions to the ingredients rule; there are some inherently irritating chemicals that can be good for you. Alphahydroxy acids, preservatives and tretinoin (a form of Vitamin A) can bring benefits to your skin. If you have sensitive skin, place a small amount of a product with these exceptions on the inside of your wrist and don’t wipe it off – allow it sit. If an irritation doesn’t occur such as redness, swelling or itching, the product will probably be fine for your face. Purchase a small quantity and be cautious.
Keep your skin hydrated with a mild, fragrance-free moisturizer – all skin types.
Many people, especially those with oily or combination skin, feel that harsh cleansing of their skin will “dry” out the problem areas. However, over cleaning your skin simply strips it of moisture and destroys the protective barrier. This opens the gates to bacteria that can get into pores and create blemishes or rashes. After gently cleaning your face of the daily grime, makeup and/or sweat, add moisturizer. Even oily or combination skin types will benefit. For dry skin types or those who face the cold weather, moisturize throughout the day. In addition, drink plenty of water throughout the day. Water does hydrate your body inside and out and helps purge irritants from your skin.
Keep an eye on your antioxidants. Free radical oxidants are molecules that invade your skin and kill skin cells; this can cause inflammation, dry skin and early aging. You can’t stop the free radicals as they come from the environment; a puff of cigarette smoke, or chemicals in food and water. But a simple antioxidant, such as a multi-vitamin with A, C and E is great at neutralizing these oxidants.
Your face and smile are the first impression of how wonderful you can be – take the time and make an effort to take care of your skin and it will reward you for years to come.