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Skin care begins with cleansing. A cleanser is used to remove dirt, oil, make-up and dead skin cells. It helps unclog pores and helps prevent skin conditions, such as acne. Bar soap is the most common, and least inexpensive, type of cleanser, but is not recommended for use on the face for the following reasons:
Bar soap has a high pH (in the area of 9 to 10), and skin's natural pH is 5.5, which means that soap can change the balance present in the skin and this can cause the overgrowth of some types of bacteria, exacerbating acne. Also, most bar cleansers have thickeners that allow them to assume a bar shape that can clog pores, leading (once again) to acne. They are also not the best for aging skin as they can remove natural oils from the face that form a barrier against water loss. Many cleansers incorporate moisturizers to help prevent drying out the skin. There are literally thousands of cleansers on the market, in all different price ranges, and the best way to determine whatís best for you is with a little trial and error. Largely itís a personal preference combined with affordability. More than anything else, sun protection will help to prevent the aging of your skin, Over exposure to the sun is largely responsible for wrinkling, blotchy pigmentation, thinning of the skin, broken blood vessels, dryness, uneven color and some sun related skin diseases, including skin cancer. Daily use of sunscreen products with at least an SPF of 15 along with protective clothing such as full-brimmed hats, long sleeved blouses and shirts, will greatly reduce the aging of the skin and the possibility of skin cancer. Sunglasses will help reduce crows feet by reducing the squinting which comes from sun exposure without eye protection.

A good moisturizer is the next step in basic skin care. As with cleansers, there are thousands of different moisturizers from which to choose on the market today. Moisturizers are complex mixtures of chemical agents specially designed to make the external layers of the skin softer and more pliable, by increasing its hydration (water content) by reducing evaporation. Naturally occurring skin lipids and sterols as well as artificial or natural oils, humectants, emollients, and lubricants, may be a part of commercial skin moisturizers. Moisturizers prevent and treat dry skin, protect sensitive skin, improve skin tone and texture, and mask imperfections. Some moisturizers also contain sunscreen, making it convenient, since a separate sunscreen is not necessary.

Other things that contribute to healthy skin and help prevent premature aging include:
Avoidance of smoking
A healthy diet, including lots of fresh fruits and vegetables
Drink plenty of water
And donít forget to smile!


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