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Hi

I'm 22 in June and have decided it's time to look after my skin properly.  I just wonder what I should be using. At the minute I have started using the vitamin e range from the body shop (not sure if you have that in US) Anyway I use face wash, day and night cream and exfoliator once a week.

I don't know what else I need if anything. People talk about toners and serums but am I still too young for things like that? My skins dry especially after washing my face and showering. This new range seems to help with that though as most dry skin washes still make it tight.

I have nice skin other wise only the odd spot now and then, no redness really just a few lines on my forehead which looks kinda raisiny close up, but that's probably because it's dry.

Also I use bare mineral make up two or three times a week but that's only since I got it for Christmas thisyear. If it helps at all.

Sorry if I've rambled on. So basically at my age what exactly should I be using on my skin?

Thanks

Answer
Nice to meet you, Sophie. So far, you're going in the right direction when it comes to your efforts in trying to take care of your young skin. Kudos to you! Below, are some tips for how to care for your skin using the right products.

Continue with cleansing daily. Listen to what your skin is telling you. If your skin is saying it's dry and tight, and it feels dry and tight. Try to find cleansers that do not contain any sulfates (sodium lauryl sulfate, sodium laureth sulfate,ammonium lauryl sulfate, ammonium laureth sulfate, for example).

These harsh cleansing agents are extremely drying and damaging to the skin and hair. Be sure to use a cleanser that contains natural, less harsh, less drying cleansing agents. A good cleansing ingredient to look for, is Decyl Poly Glucoside in a cleanser. This cleansing ingredient is typically gentle, effective, non-drying and is derived in nature from corn sugar.

Next, continue to use an appropriate moisturizer for your skin type. One ingredient to look for in a moisturizing product is very good skin hydrator called Hyaluronic acid, for example. HA has line smoothing abilities and binds tons of moisture to your skin for the long term, without being oily or greasy. Please remember, Sophie, Grease plus oil does not equal moisture. Just a recipe for clogging pores, depending on the type of oil it is.

Using an exfoliator of your choice two to three times weekly is great. There are mechanical scrubs and masks you can use to exfoliate. These work by using gentle physical pressure to scrub away dead skin cells. With a mask, you remove with it a warm, wet wash cloth after it has dried.

Another option is, you can use a chemical exfoliator such as Glycolic, Mandelic, or Lactic acid (also known as Alpha Hydroxy Acids or AHAs). These AHAs cause a microscopic removal of dead skin cells from your complexion, giving you a radiant glow to your skin. These acids also help with reducing fine lines as well (like the raisiny ones on forehead, you mentioned). Since your skin is on the drier side, I recommend Lactic acid for exfoliation if you chose to use a chemical exfoliator. Lactic acid is gentle and has moisturizing features to it.

And finally, Please, please, please apply a sunblock of at least an SPF 20-30 about 15-20 minutes before going outside. This should be the very last step of your skin care regimen during the day. Look for a broad spectrum sun block containing the active natural sun blocking ingredient, zinc oxide. You will need full, broad-spectrum protection. What this means is your sun block should protect from both harmful UVA and UVB rays.

UVB rays are responsible for sun burn. UVA rays are responsible for causing prematurely aged skin and worse yet, skin cancer. Remember Sophie, the sun is no respecter of persons. It doesn't care how young or old one's skin is.

Consistently, going out without using the type of sun protection I spoke about, the sun will ruin your skin by making it look 5-10 years older than it really is, not to mention causing skin cancer at the worse case scenario. This is why I suggested looking for zinc oxide as the active sun blocking ingredient when looking for the right sun protection. Zinc oxide has you covered in this area.

Without using a sun block during the day consistently, over time, your skin will prematurely age. Premature aging can consist of, but not limited to any of the following:


>Dark spots

>Fine lines and wrinkles

>Dark under eye circles

>Sagging skin, loss of firmness

>Poor skin texture

Keep in mind, it isn't too early to use a serum on your skin. Preventive maintenance is great. Besides, nothing in life is guaranteed. You may want to delay the aging process as long as you see fit. Just because you'll age, doesn't mean the world has to know it. Your skin can certainly end up looking much younger than your years (when you get older) if you continue to take care of it. Again, kudos to you for realizing this.

Well, Sophie. I hope this helps. And best wishes to you in your effort to achieve and/or  maintain healthy, gorgeous skin. God bless.

P.S. Sophie, in my opinion, toners are a time consuming unnecessary step. toners are meant to balance the skin's pH level and remove leftover traces of dirt, and debris left over from the cleanser. Well, if a cleanser is pH balanced, and removes all traces of make up, dirt oil and debris in the first place, then there is no need to use a toner, no matter what age someone is.

The trick is, to use a cleanser that is pH balanced. The pH of healthy skin is 5-5.5. This is also what the pH of the cleanser you're using should be, to maintain a healthy pH. Your cleanser should also be effective at removing all traces of dirt, make up and debris. Then, no toner necessary. Again, hope this helps. Be blessed!

Tara

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Tara Logan-Hearn

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I will, according to my knowledge and experience, answer questions that involve providing information, tips, and advice in an effort to help one improve the following common ethnic and black skin care concerns:

Although make-up is not my specialty, I'm happy to help with advice on caring for the skin while wearing makeup. I affirm that I can not answer questions to which attention by a doctor is necessary.

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I've written for Bella Online, Beauty and Sugar, Self Growth and Oily Skin Blog. I've written the e-book entitled, "Achieving Flawless Skin of Color - 2 Easy Steps to Clear, Even-toned Skin From the Inside Out", which is now published.

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