If you’ve ever felt overwhelmed when faced (pun intended) with picking out a facial cream, you’re not alone. There are so many products out there today that it can be hard to decipher what your skin actually needs – and what it really doesn’t.
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Dermatologist Melissa Piliang, MD, answers your questions and gives some simple advice on what to look for and avoid.
A: Get in the habit of using face creams in your mid to late 20s. It’s a good idea to use one cream during the day and another at night. You’ll also want to be sure that you choose the right product for your skin type. If you’re not sure what your skin type is, start by asking your dermatologist.
Using a face cream is important because it keeps the moisture and elasticity in your skin, which can help reduce wrinkles, age spots and other fine lines. Face creams also act as a protective barrier for your skin. Look for products that say noncomedogenic, which means that it won’t block your pores and cause you to breakout.
Day and night creams differ in what they are supposed to do for your skin. At night, you’re looking for a cream to penetrate deeper into your skin to help repair it. And with day creams, you’re looking for something to help protect your skin from the outside elements.
A: Day cream should be lighter and include:
Pro tip: Use a day cream with SPF year-round. You don’t realize how much sun exposure you get through windows or even getting in and out of the car.
Don’t let fancy packaging or a high price tag fool you. Household name brands often contain good ingredients too.
A: Night creams moisturize, sooth and repair your skin while you sleep.
Look for products that include:
A: It can be a struggle to find a product for skin that’s easily irritated or prone to dryness.
Read the product labels and look for the following ingredients:
A: If you have oily or acne-prone skin, then avoid oils, waxes and petrolatum. They’re too heavy and can plug pores and make acne worse (remember to look for the word noncomedogenic on the bottle).
Other ingredients to avoid include:
All-natural ingredients can be good, but plants, nuts and berries can cause allergic reactions for some people. Pay attention to these ingredients and what your reaction is.
A: Serums are lighter than moisturizers and are more concentrated with active ingredients. You can wear them during the day or at night. Serums are usually worn under a moisturizer and come as gels, lotions or liquids.
Because serums are typically very potent (and can be pricey), it’s recommended to speak with your dermatologist or consult your skin care specialist before trying one. Based on your skin type and goals, they can let you know if you’d benefit from a serum.