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How to choose the best beauty products for your skin

By Alison Tisack, M.D.
Do you know how to choose the right products for your skin and daily regimen? Here are tips from a dermatologist to make sure you look and feel your best.

Whether you’re a cosmetics junkie always on top of the latest trends, or a minimalist who likes to stick with a few trusted basics, beauty products can be our best friends when it comes to keeping our skin healthy. They also help us look and feel our best and express our personal style.

Next time you’re shopping for new products, here’s my advice on choosing the right ones for your skin and daily regimen.

Sunscreen and moisturizer

No matter what your age, I always recommend sunscreen every day. It prevents sunspots, fine lines, and breakdown of the elastic tissue in the skin. Most importantly, it protects you from harmful ultraviolent rays that increase your risk of skin cancer. Choose an SPF of at least 30. Many daily moisturizers have built-in sunscreen, so it’s easy to put on and you’re ready to go.

Daily moisturizer is especially important in harsh climates like Michigan. Your age can help you determine what to choose:

  • Older people with dryer skin should opt for a creamier moisturizer. An anti-aging product with Retinol, available over-the-counter and by prescription, will help increase collagen production and decrease pigmentation.
  • Younger people should also use a daily moisturizer, but look for a light, oil-free, non-comedogenic product.
  • Acne-prone skins also needs daily moisturizer, but find one that isn’t inflammatory or irritating to your skin. Avoid anything that seems “greasy.”

Ingredients to avoid

People can become sensitized to certain ingredients and even develop allergies. If you have a reaction, switch to a different product right away. You can do investigative patch testing at home to figure out if a product is causing a reaction. Every night for one week, put a small amount of the product on the same spot on your inner arm and watch for a reaction.

If you have recurrent issues with your skin reacting to products, a dermatologist can do more exact patch testing to isolate an allergy.

Finding a good foundation

Coverage needs vary, and there are so many different kinds of foundation that choosing the right one can be daunting. If you wear foundation, follow these general guidelines:

  • Avoid very thick foundation that clogs the pores.
  • Acne-prone skin will benefit from a breathable, mineral-based product that is oil free.
  • Because older skin is dryer, a mineral-based makeup may actually make fine lines look worse. Choose a product with a cream base for a smoother finish.

What’s the shelf life?

Should you throw away that old makeup or moisturizer?

  • If it looks or smells off, pitch it.
  • Don’t leave products in your car – hot and cold weather can cause them to “go bad” faster.
  • Clean your brushes and applicators regularly to extend the shelf life of your products.
  • Blushes and powders – especially when used with clean brushes and applicators – will last years.
  • Pay careful attention to anything you use around your eyes. If you have recurrent eye irritation, infections or styes, bacteria in your eye makeup could be the cause. Replace mascara and liquid eyeliners if they are less than fresh.
Alison Tisack, M.D.

Dr. Alison Tisack is a board-certified dermatologist who sees patients at Henry Ford Medical Centers in West Bloomfield, midtown Detroit and Troy.

To make an appointment with a dermatologist at Henry Ford, visit henryford.com or call 1-800-HENRYFORD (436-7936).

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