Great Skin Care on A Budget

November is National Healthy Skin Month, and physicians from the American Academy of Dermatology want to set one thing straight: you don’t need expensive skin care products to have glowing, healthy skin. In fact, they say, wearing a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher before going outdoors is one of the most effective ways to maintain healthy skin.

“Every good skin care routine should follow three simple steps: cleanse, treat and prevent,” says Amy J. Derick, MD, FAAD, clinical instructor of dermatology, Northwestern University. “Sunscreen prevents wrinkles, sun spots and even skin cancer, making it the most effective skin care product you can buy.”

Beyond sunscreen, Derick says it’s important to identify your skin type before starting any skin care routine:

Sensitive skin may sting or burn after product use

Normal skin is clear and not sensitive

Dry skin is flaky, itchy or rough

Oily skin is shiny and greasy

Combination skin is dry in some areas and oily in others

“Expensive skin care products are not necessarily better,” Derick says. “Instead, it’s more important to buy skin care products that are formulated for your skin type. If your skin tends to be oily, select a product made for oily skin. If you have sensitive skin, look for the words ‘fragrance-free’ on labels.”

For additional ways to save, Derick recommends the following tips:

To select the most effective products for the price, pay attention to product ingredients. For example, if you have acne-prone skin, cleansers that contain either benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid can help clear some people’s skin. If you’re concerned about fine lines and wrinkles, look for products containing retinol. Make sure you’ve got the right product for you, so you won’t have to buy another one.

Consider using dual-function products, such as a moisturizer with sunscreen. Make sure the sunscreen is broad-spectrum and has an SPF of 30 or higher.

Cleanse your skin before applying skin care products and before going to bed. Cleansing removes dirt, oil and debris, and helps prevent clogged pores, breakouts – and the need to spend money on anti-acne products!

Get the most from your moisturizer by applying it to damp skin as soon as you get out of the shower to lock in moisture. For your face, look for moisturizers that say “oil-free” or “non-comedogenic,” because these won’t clog your pores.

Limit the number of skin care products that you use. Using too many products on your skin, especially more than one anti-aging product, tends to irritate the skin and make signs of aging more noticeable.

Apply sunscreen before going outside and reapply sunscreen every few hours or immediately after swimming or sweating.

Consider using petroleum jelly. This inexpensive product can have several uses, including moisturizing dry skin and nails and treating minor injuries. However, avoid using petroleum jelly on the face, as this may cause acne in some people.


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