Beauty

FLARE’s Flawless Skin Guide

Get a crash course in proper moisturizing


FLARE’s Flawless Skin Guide

A crash course in proper moisturizing
Click on each lesson below! >

Lesson #1

Lesson #2

Lesson #3

Lesson #4

Lesson #5

Lesson #6

Store shelves are stocked full tilt with lotions and creams making big promises, from brighter to matte to younger-looking skin. If you’re worried about making the wrong investment (remember, some dream creams can cost as much as a new pair of heels), improve your beauty-counter intelligence—and your skin’s condition—with this refresher course on face hydration. Dr. Lydia Evans, consulting dermatologist to L’Oréal Paris and dermatologist at the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center in New York, weighs in.

For a top-shelf list of the newest moisturizers to buy, be sure to pick up the November issue of FLARE.

 

 

Lesson #1

Know your skin type.
“Wash your face, wait about half an hour, then touch your skin,” says Dr. Evans. “If your skin feels dry, then you likely have dry skin.” If your skin doesn’t feel dry, graduate to the tissue test: use a tissue to blot your skin, covering your entire face with one sheet like a masque. If there’s no oily residue on the tissue, you have normal skin (lucky you); if there are oily blotches all over, say hello to oily skin; and if the oil is only visible in the T-zone (across your forehead and down the centre of your face to the bottom of your chin), you have combination skin.

 
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Lesson #2

The truth about dehydrated skin.
“Dehydrated skin can come from external application of things that are extremely drying without giving the skin back the moisturization it needs.” That includes microdermabrasion, acid-based facial peels and Retin-A prescriptions. Your environment—cold winter gusts and hot, dry office air—can rob your skin of moisture as well. And here’s the rub: oily skin can be dehydrated. What’s the telltale sign of moisture-zapped skin versus dry skin? Your complexion feels flaky and sensitive instead of tight. Hydrate thirsty skin with moisturizers that have humectants such as glycerin, urea, honey extract, hyaluronic acid or lactic acid.

 
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Lesson #3

The truth about dry skin.  
“Dry is not really a medical term, per se, but generally people who tend to have eczema, easily irritated skin, sensitive skin or never complain about oily skin—even in the dead of summer—have dry skin. Genetics dictates that.” If this sounds familiar, look for creams that boast emollients (versus humectants). Dr. Evans lists lanolin, petrolatum, mineral oil, squalene and glyceryl stearates among common emollients used in over-the-counter skin-care products.

 
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Lesson #4

It’s not always about your age.
Age ranges associated with most skin-care products are guidelines only. “If you have skin that falls within the normal bell curve, then shopping by age is a perfectly appropriate thing to do.” However, for example, if you’re a 20-something blond with blue eyes and you’ve been in the sun—sans SPF—since you were a wee one, consider using a moisturizer meant for a woman in her 30s or 40s. Or, if you’re in your 40s with just a few wrinkles and you’ve stayed out of the sun, a cream meant for a woman in her 30s might be just right for you.

 
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Lesson #5

Alcohol isn’t always bad for the complexion.
If your skin is dehydrated, don’t put down that lotion with cetyl alcohol listed among its ingredients; it’s actually a skin-quenching humectant. Isopropyl alcohol (aka rubbing alcohol), on the other hand, is a certified moisture thief, so stop using it as a toner or to cleanse your face (explore so many other skin-friendly options instead). And the kind you drink? “Alcohol [consumption] causes fluid shifts in the body. It’s a diuretic, so it will make you pee more. It will shift a tiny bit [of fluid] in your skin like it does in your body, but it’s not an overwhelming factor.” P.S. This isn’t carte blanche to binge drink. Always enjoy cocktails in moderation.

 
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Lesson #6

Faces mists hydrate; toners don’t .
“Toners are more useful for people who have oily skin or for people who tend to wear heavier makeup.” Use toner to clean out dirty pores, especially if you live in a smog-ridden locale or if you work somewhere hot and dirty, such as a restaurant kitchen. Facial water mists, such as purse-sized sprays from Evian or Vichy, on the other hand, can actually provide an extra boost of hydration. But work quickly; apply your moisturizer within three minutes of misting, otherwise your pricey spa water may evaporate and fail to quench your skin. 

 
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