With literally millions of skin care products on the market, it can be an overwhelming and daunting task choosing which skin care product to incorporate into your daily regimen. Don’t just go with any product that catches your eye. Not all skin care products are made alike, and some are exponentially better for your skin’s health and appearance than others. For the best results, compare the various skin care products available using criteria recommended by skin care experts and dermatologists.
Determine your skin type. Splash your face five or six times with lukewarm water. If after a few minutes your skin feels tight, you have dry skin. If not, wait 20 minutes and press a facial tissue against your skin. If you see oily spots on the tissue, you have oily skin. If you see greasy areas on your T-zone only, you have combination skin.
Stick to the basics. You'll only need three products to have an effective skin care routine. Begin by washing skin with a gentle cleanser that is formulated for your skin type; apply a daily moisturizer with an SPF of 30 and finish the evening with a night cream. Use these products regularly to pamper your complexion.
Pick your top skin care need—such as wrinkle and fine line reduction—and narrow your product choices to those that specifically target that need, recommend the American Academy of Dermatology. While it is tempting to choose a skin care product that purports to meet several needs, such as cleansing and moisturizing, the academy says such products are not as effective or may cause excessive skin irritation.
Read the ingredients lists on the various products you’re comparing. Verify that it contains a sunscreen ingredient if you plan to wear the skin care product during the day, according to skin care tester Paula Begoun. She says that effective sunscreen ingredients include avobenzone and zinc oxide. Ideally, the American Cancer Society reports that a daytime skin care product should contain an SPF of 15 or more.
Use products with active ingredients. If you are looking to reduce the signs of aging, the best product for your skin type should include a proven active ingredient. Some anti-aging active ingredients include: retinoids, peptides, kogic acid, alpha hydroxy acids, hydroquinone or salicylic acid. Only a few active ingredients have the authoritative scientific studies to prove that they can reduce any signs of aging. Other inactive or active ingredients do work. However, there are not any studies to back up the manufacturer's claims.
Toss out any skin care product that contains fragrances. A quick glance at the ingredient list, or even a whiff of the product through an open cap, can alert you to the presence of perfumes. The CNN Health website warns that fragrances in skin care products are the most common source of skin allergies and irritation.
Ignore the price while comparing the products. The American Academy of Dermatology says price doesn’t indicate a product’s quality, and that even cheap, drugstore brands are beneficial to your skin.
- "Don't Go to the Cosmetics Counter Without Me"; Paula Begoun; 2009
- American Academy of Dermatology: Selecting Age-Fighting Topicals
- American Cancer Society: Skin Cancer Facts
- Save yourself time by letting third-party reviewers, such as those by "Consumer Reports" or your favorite beauty magazines, do the research and comparison work. Reading reviews can help you quickly sort through your skin care options and identify high-quality skin care products, whether they're cleansers, creams or serums.
Joshua Duvauchelle is a certified personal trainer and health journalist, relationships expert and gardening specialist. His articles and advice have appeared in dozens of magazines, including exercise workouts in Shape, relationship guides for Alive and lifestyle tips for Lifehacker. In his spare time, he enjoys yoga and urban patio gardening.