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Does your skin turn red and blotchy at the slightest provocation, particularly when you've used a fragranced skincare product? Is your skin easily irritated by extreme temperature fluctuations? If so, like 40 percent of the population, you have sensitive skin.How to Treat It
Products created for sensitive skin have one thing in common: minimal ingredients (fewer than 10 are recommended) with no unnecessary bells and whistles such as dyes and fragrances. Since sensitive skin is often dry, a simple splash of water will effectively remove any surface oils in the morning. Wash with a very mild cleanser in the evening, when you have makeup and the day's debris to get rid of. While you might think that you should go nowhere near an exfoliating scrub, you still need to help your skin shed that dead upper layer quickly -- rest assured that a gentle scrub will get the job done effectively. Next, moisturize, which is important both to increase skin's resilience and to boost its ability to protect itself from environmental irritants. Always use a daytime moisturizer with sun protection. Finally, choose a night cream that's targeted for sensitive skin. Some experts even recommend baby moisturizers, which are particularly gentle.
Do you feel like you're on a never-ending mission to quench your skin's thirst? Does your skin always look dull, with visibly dry patches and flakiness? If so -- surprise, surprise -- you have dry skin.How to Treat It
According to David Colbert, MD, a dermatologist and the founder of New York Dermatology Group, dry skin is very common, and is usually a result of aging and environmental factors. "Every year our skin's outer layer is less able to hold on to water," he says. Therefore, you have to look for gentle cleansers and rich moisturizers to make up for this deficit. Start the moisture-boosting process with a creamy, nonfoaming cleanser. Next, exfoliate once a week to rid yourself of those pesky dry patches. Finally, moisturize liberally both day and night with products containing proven hydrating ingredients such as glycerin and hyaluronic acid, which is found naturally in our skin but diminishes over time.
If you're always patting away shine, retouching your faded makeup, and hiding blemishes, you have oily skin. "Gauge your skin in the middle of the day. If your entire face feels slick, that's the sign," says Fran Cook Bolden, MD, a New York City-based dermatologist. (Many women with "combination skin" fit into this category, and can treat their oily T-zones accordingly.)How to Treat It
Fight your natural inclination to cleanse your skin roughly in hopes that this will help clear its surface. Oily skin actually needs a routine that controls oil while preserving the skin's moisture levels. Pick a gel cleanser and follow with a fine-grained exfoliator. In the morning, use sunblock during the summer, or an oil-free lotion the rest of the year. At night, skip moisturizer in favor of a salicylic acid-based spot treatment if your skin is acne-prone. If your skin feels dry, top it off with an oil-free or glycolic acid-based moisturizer.
Are you suddenly seeing wrinkles, particularly around your eyes? What about your skin's texture: Does it seem less smooth than it used to? Finally, do you have beauty marks, which look like freckles on your nose but like spots on the rest of your face? If this sounds familiar, it's time to step up your skincare regimen to help keep signs of aging at bay.How to Treat It
First, choose a cleanser with anti-aging ingredients, such as soy extracts, which feed your skin vital nutrients and can ward off future damage. Next up is an exfoliator, essential for boosting your skin's sluggish cell turnover rate (which in turn will increase smoothness). Finally, your daytime moisturizer must contain sun protection as well as antioxidants. Together, these ingredients help guard against lines and wrinkles. In the evening, you can use a moisturizer with a higher percentage of active ingredients; many are designed to work with the skin's natural ability to repair itself.