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6 Tips To Make Your Skin-Care Products More Effective

6 Tips To Make Your Skin-Care Products More Effective

You spend a nice chunk of your paycheck on products that are supposed to make your skin glow, stay supple, and never age. These are often the products that you are most stingy using but need to slather on to see results.

Here are six easy tips to get the most out of your skin care products.

EXFOLIATE FIRST

Think of the surface of the epidermis—those dead cells—as a barrier. You have to remove it for products to get in, but go easy. Basic cleansers free up pores by removing dirt and oil, but to truly increase absorption, you’ll need an enzyme– or acid–based cleanser, such as Neutrogena Deep Clean Facial Cleanser (ideal for sensitive and acne-prone skin), a grainy scrub with small, smooth particles, or another type of gentle buffing tool. Try:

• A skin brush, like the Clarisonic Classic Sonic Skin Cleansing System or the Olay Professional Pro-X Advanced Cleansing System, daily.

• A resurfacing stick (a waxy balm packed with tiny crystals), such as Blinc Resurf-a-stic, one to three times a week.

GO IN ORDER

Your skin has a firm first-come-first-serve policy, so whatever goes on first penetrates best. Whether you’re fighting wrinkles, zits, or sun spots, the most active ingredients should be applied first. If you’re using two products for two different problems, apply one to bare skin in the morning and the other to bare skin at night so you’re guaranteed 100 percent efficacy from both. After treatments are in place, smooth on other items in order of density, from thinnest (antioxidant serum) to thickest (sunscreen or night cream). The exception is retinoids, which could irritate those with sensitive skin if applied first.

Clarisonic Skin Care Brush, $195, clarisonic.com
APPLY TO JUST-WASHED SKIN
Damp skin acts like a sponge, quickly absorbing whatever comes its way. (That’s damp, not wet.) This rule applies to almost every product—even retinoids. The only exception? Mineral-based sunscreen. It’s not absorbed, it’s designed to sit on the surface of the skin and reflect the sun’s rays. On damp skin, mineral blocks tend to run, give uneven coverage, and look chalky.
WARM IT UP
When you wash your face with lukewarm water instead of cold, you raise the skin’s temperature slightly, causing blood vessels and pores to dilate in an effort to cool you down. Plus, ingredients move through skin and interact with cells more quickly when the skin is warm.
TOP IT OFF
One of the best ways to boost absorption is to top ingredients with heavy, occlusive ointments. Thick ointments and creams with large amounts of petrolatum, natural butters, oils, and waxes make the best occlusive agents. But don’t start slapping Vaseline over every product from your medicine cabinet. If you’re prone to acne, you should skip this step entirely.
TRY SERUMS
When you want maximum impact from a fragrance, you buy the perfume, not the scented body wash. Similarly, you’ll find the strongest dose of active ingredients in serums—not, say, cleansers. A serum is a concentrated source of an active ingredient in a simple form that penetrates very quickly and completely, unhindered by lotion-type emollients that make it difficult for actives to sink in.
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