The dermatologists in Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin want to take the scare out of skincare, sharing tips for navigating your skincare product needs.
Trick or Treat: Tips to avoid being tricked by skincare products
Have you been to your local pharmacy lately? Looked down the skincare aisle? There are literally hundreds of options for managing your skin. This can be a little overwhelming, even a little scary. This Halloween our dermatologists want to take the scare out of skincare, offering these tips for navigating the skincare aisle.
Understanding Alcohol-Free Skincare Products
Skincare products containing alcohol can cause dry, red, flaky skin. They can aggravate already-stressed skin. A simple solution is to use alcohol-free products. Easier said than done. Read the label on ten different products and you’ll find most contain alcohol. Are all these products bad for your skin? The answer lies in the type of alcohol contained in the product.
Ethanol is the alcohol that causes skin dryness. Ethanol alcohol evaporates quickly, taking your skin’s natural oils with it. This can lead to skin irritation and dryness. When checking labels, watch for denatured alcohol, isopropyl alcohol, ethyl alcohol, SD alcohol 40, ethanol, methanol and benzyl alcohol.
Fatty alcohols don’t cause skin dryness and are often referred to as moisturizing alcohols. Good alcohols to find on product labels include behenyl alcohol, cetearyl alcohol, cetyl alcohol, arachidyl alcohol, stearyl alcohol and myristyl alcohol.
Bottom line: not all types of alcohol found in skincare products are drying.
Staying Protected in the Sun
Protecting your skin from the sun is a year-round job and what can be more confusing than the ever-growing aisle of sunscreen products? You want to safeguard your skin, but should you be protecting against UVB, UVA rays or both? What exactly does SPF tell us and why are some of the SPF ratings off the charts? With skin cancer on the rise, selecting the best sunscreen product for your needs is more important than ever.
Both UVB and UVA rays play a role in premature skin aging and the development of skin cancer. UVB rays are the ultraviolet rays that cause your skin to burn. In the past, UVA rays were not thought to be harmful to skin, but studies have changed that thinking. UVA rays penetrate deeper into the skin and are now thought to be a major contributor to skin cancer.
SPF stands for sun protection factor, and it tells you the protection time the product provides against UVB rays (not UVA rays). “Sweatproof,” “waterproof” and “all day protection” are nice words, but sunscreen needs to be applied 30 minutes before going out into the sun (so it has time to be absorbed into the skin) and reapplied every two hours to provide the best protection.
Bottom line: use sunscreen every day, select a product that matches your activity (swimming, gardening, shopping), and make sure it provides an SPF of 30 and protects against both UVB and UVA rays.
Fragrance-Free vs. Unscented Products
You have sensitive skin and perfumes give you a headache. The answer? Use fragrance-free skincare products. But when the product says fragrance-free, is it truly free of fragrance? Well, that depends. Are you looking for a completely unscented product or just a fragrance-free product?
Many things are used to give our skincare products a specific smell. If you check the label you’ll find fruit and flower distillate waters, essential oils and even the word “fragrance.” A fragrance is a mix of various ingredients (sometimes a very long list), so it’s often easier for the skincare company to simply list “fragrance” as one of the ingredients. Fruit and flower distillate waters and essential oils change the smell of a product but are not considered a fragrance. For that reason, a company can add them to skincare products but still label the product as “fragrance-free.”
Bottom line: if you’re looking for an unscented skincare product, you’ll want to be sure the label does not list fragrance, essential oils or fruit and flower distillates. All of these indicate a product that has been scented.
The skin health experts at Dermatology Associates of Wisconsin are available to help you take the scare out of skincare. Call 855-337-6947 for an appointment or schedule one online.
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About Dermatology Associates of Wisconsin, S.C. & Forefront Dermatology
At Dermatology Associates of Wisconsin, S.C. and Forefront Dermatology, our caring and experienced dermatologists will personalize a treatment plan for each individual using the best and most appropriate technologies in dermatology. We strive to improve the communities we serve by decreasing the severity of skin disease through public awareness initiatives, personalized treatment plans, and effective collaboration with our partners in medicine that brings the best dermatology in your neighborhood.
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