Health News

How to care for eczema-prone skin when you are constantly washing your hands?
How to care for eczema-prone skin when you are constantly washing your hands?

If you have sensitive or eczema-prone skin, constantly washing your hands can easily irritate your skin's sensitive barrier. Never before has washing our hands and face been so vitally important. However, for those living with inflammatory skin conditions like eczema - or even just very sensitive skin - the constant cleansing can cause irritation and flare-ups.


It's all about your skin's barrier

The skin acts as a barrier between the outside environment and the underlying soft tissue. Its role is to prevent moisture from escaping while preventing irritants from getting in. Excessive cleansing and exfoliating can rid the skin of its natural oils and can cause an overly dry, inflamed and sensitive skin.


Bring back the balance

You can look out for cleansers specially formulated for sensitive skin. Keep an eye out for those that contain soothing, hydrating ingredients, like glycerin, ceramides, vitamin E and panthenol. Also, if you’re in the middle of a flare-up, now is not the time to use exfoliants. Only once your skin has recovered can you gradually introduce them back into your routine.


Pat your hands dry – don’t rub

After washing your hands, pat it dry with a disposable paper towel or tissue rather than rubbing it with a towel, etc. Rubbing can be traumatic to the skin, especially if it is tender and inflamed to begin with.


Re-hydrate cleverly

After cleansing, it’s important that you restore your skin’s moisture levels, but you have to be careful about what you use. Hydrating, soothing ingredients are great, but if they’re mixed with potentially harsh ingredients like high strength retinol or alpha hydroxy acids, they might re-ignite a flare-up. Pay attention to what’s on your moisturisers ingredients list. Ideally, you want to ensure your products are free of potential irritants like sulphates, parabens and synthetic fragrances.

Following these guidelines will allow you to lessen the impact of regular hand washing on your delicate skin barrier. If your skin condition is very serious and you find that these measures are not effective enough, it is recommended that you get in touch with your treating dermatologist to seek expert advice. 

Why you should be using hyaluronic acid?
Why you should be using hyaluronic acid?

Hyaluronic acid is so much more than just another fancy-sounding ingredient on the product formulation list. Here are three reasons why you should add it to your skincare routine. Naturally found in skin, and hailed as one of the best skin care ingredients to help in the fight against aging - and incredibly beneficial for your skin’s good health too -  hyaluronic acid is a wonder molecule that benefits all skin types.


Why all this fuss around hyaluronic acid?

Hyaluronic acid is a polysaccharide molecule which is one of the main components of connective tissue within the skin. It forms a gelatinous matrix helping to stimulate collagen synthesis as well as assisting the skin to retain more moisture. More collagen and better hydrated skin equal a younger looking complexion.

When the skin is exposed to harmful social and environmental extremities such as UV rays which means sunburn, the skin becomes inflamed and the cells in the dermis stop producing hyaluronic acid. This also increases the overall degradation of collagen and elastin fibres. It is critical to supplement your skin daily with a product that contains hyaluronic acid to assist with moisture retention and to enhance the elasticity and tensile strength of the skin. 

What are blackheads and how to remove them?
What are blackheads and how to remove them?

When it comes to acne, blackheads are one of the milder forms. Unlike other kinds of acne, blackheads are not red or inflamed, but they certainly are persistent. They can turn an otherwise good-skin day into a mediocre one. So, in the quest for good-skin days every day, here is everything you need to know about how to improve blackheads and how to decrease the appearance of your pores.

Blackheads are a type of non-inflamed clogged pore and are also known as open comedones. Once exposed to the air, the top of the clogged pore oxidizes and turns black (hence the term “blackhead”). Whiteheads are also a kind of comedone; however, they are called “closed comedones” because they are covered by a layer of skin cells that prevents them from oxidizing. Learning how to improve blackheads can be a game-changer, because if you do not send them packing, they stick around for the long haul. Some blackheads stay for weeks and some for months if they are not extracted. Whiteheads, on the other hand, are often taken care of by the body—they usually clear up within one to two weeks.


What causes blackheads?

Now we know that blackheads occur over time as sebum (an oily substance), makeup and other environmental debris build up within pores. But why? There are a few factors that influence the formation of blackheads, among them:

  • Hormones: Blackheads most commonly crop up during puberty because hormone levels trigger a spike in sebum production. However, they can appear at any age. Shifts in the menstrual cycle, pregnancy and stopping the birth control pill can also trigger blackhead formation.
  • Smoking: Tobacco smoke can cause resistant blackhead formation, especially in women.
  • Occlusion: Use of occlusive (prevent or retard water loss) skincare and hair care products can trigger blackhead formation. Plus, things that physically come into contact with skin such as a headband, hat, phone or even your hands, can block the oil glands, congesting the skin and triggering blackhead formation.

Blackheads love to hang out on noses and chins, but that does not mean they do not wander. Beyond the face, you can also find them on the back, neck, chest, arms and shoulders. The reason? These areas have lots of hair follicles.


How do you improve blackheads?

Once you spot a blackhead, what is the best way to actually remove it? Slowly and gently. Try using exfoliants or exfoliating masks as part of your skincare routine; it is the easiest way to gradually release the debris from a congested pore. Follow up with a daily salicylic acid treatment. Salicylic acid is an ideal ingredient in oily skin—it penetrates the oil gland effectively and triggers exfoliation. Not all blackheads are alike; some may be larger and deeper than others. Resist the urge to squeeze any blackhead as it can injure the skin—and potentially trigger discoloration or scarring. Plus, you run the risk of introducing bacteria into pores. It is also best to skip the blackhead-removal tools; if misused, they can cause hyperpigmentation and increase inflammation. The best course of action to treat and prevent blackheads on the nose, chin, cheeks and anywhere else on the face is to adopt an effective skincare regimen. By simply adding one (or two or three) of these formulations into your regular routine, you will say hello to a clearer complexion in no time.

  • The best cleanser for blackheads - Look for a mild cleanser that will not strip your skin of moisture, which actually can trigger the overproduction of sebum and contribute to the formation of new comedones.
  • The best toner for blackheads - Adding a powerful punch of skin-boosting ingredients via a toner will help remove the last traces of pore-clogging dirt and debris that cleansers might leave behind. 
  • The best blackhead treatment - Consider adding a targeted acne treatment to your routine, one that has a combo of glycolic acid and salicylic acid, like Vichy Normaderm Corrective Anti Acne Treatment. Glycolic acid is an AHA that penetrates deep into the skin, scooping out and neutralizing pore-clogging impurities. Salicylic acid is a larger molecular size, so it stays on the surface of the skin longer and works as a chemical exfoliant—an excellent pore cleanser.
  • The best blackhead-removal mask - If you are looking to turn up the intensity on your skin pampering—and blackhead banishing—try a charcoal mask. Its end goal is to gently draw out the oil and dead skin that create those pesky blackheads, while increasing hydration.
Boost your skincare routine with a face mask
Boost your skincare routine with a face mask

Using a face mask was once considered an occasional indulgence in skincare routines, but today the skincare ritual has evolved. With innovations in textures and ingredients, these target treatments have become an essential part of our weekly (sometimes every other day) skincare routines. We are making your next trip to the beauty aisle a whole lot smoother by breaking down the most popular types of masks and explaining which formulas work best for your skin type.


How do face masks help your skin?

Face masks are like a therapy session for your skin. Whether it is a hydrating face mask or a peeling and glowing face mask, think of them as a booster for your go-to skincare routine. There is no simple answer to “What do face masks do?” but, in a nutshell, they can be an effective way to deliver a powerful rush of skincare ingredients in a concentrated form. Unlike a face serum or day cream, which do not give visible results right away, the best face masks can deliver instant gratification.

Face masks offer a variety of benefits for many skin issues, like removing excess oils, nourishing and hydrating dry skin and shrinking the appearance of pores. However, it is important to note that the epidermis (the skin’s outer layer) does a great job of protecting us from the environment, so be realistic about the results from a single treatment. Get the most from your mask by being strategic about what kind you are putting on your skin. Read the label, and make sure the mask has active ingredients like hyaluronic acid, vitamin C and charcoal to ensure that you will see meaningful results.

Do it yourself (DIY) skincare is becoming increasingly popular, but using a homemade mask has its risks. If you are wondering how to make a face mask at home, there are certain ingredients to avoid because some can cause more harm to your skin than good. Do not use lemons (because when it is exposed to the sun, lemon juice on skin can cause sunburn and hyperpigmentation), raw eggs (because it can cause a bacterial infection) and spices (because they can be irritating and stain skin).


Do face masks work for all skin types?

Whether you want to brighten dull skin, treat acne, soothe redness or reduce the appearance of pores, there is a face mask for every skin concern and skin type. Navigating the sea of mask options can be dizzying; a helpful way to cut through the clutter is to stick with a formula that works well with your skin type and has skincare ingredients that will give you the benefits you are after.

Best of all, there is no need to spend a fortune at a spa or a department store to find an effective treatment. Many drugstore masks have an impressive list of ingredients that are acne-targeted, hydrating, brightening, glow-boosting and more. These are the best face masks for every skin type.

  • Best face mask for acne

If you struggle with acne and are prone to breakouts, you are probably already treating blemishes with a spot treatment. Go the extra step and add a charcoal face mask to treat your whole face at once and help prevent future breakouts. Vichy Pureté Thermale Charcoal Mask targets redness and skin inflammation thanks to a blend of kaolin clay and charcoal, which also removes dirt, oil and debris from pores.

  • Best face mask for dry skin

Dry skin can benefit from a moisturizing face mask more than any other skin type because of instant hydrating gratification. Consider adding an aloe vera mask to your weekly routine. The plant-based ingredient is packed with vitamins, and its high-water content gives skin an instant glow. Another great option is a face mask with hyaluronic acid.

  • Best face mask for mature skin

If fine lines and wrinkles are stressing you out, a smoothing formula is just the trick. The best kind of face mask for aging skin is one that is filled with skin-plumping hyaluronic acid.

  • Best face mask for dull and dehydrated skin

If your skin is looking dull and flaky, consider adding a moisturizing night face mask to your routine. Overnight masks bring a whole new meaning to the words “beauty sleep.” Think of these nocturnal masks as a souped-up night cream designed to help ingredients penetrate more deeply as you sleep.

  • Best face mask for oily skin

Are clay masks good for skin? Yes! They are gentle enough for most skin types, but they’re especially effective at balancing out oily and combination skin. A good clay face mask draws impurities to the skin’s surface, where the clay soaks up excess sebum, which contributes to blocked pores. If you are looking for a mask for oily and acne-prone skin, Vichy Normaderm 3-in-1 Scrub + Cleanser + Mask combines a clay mask with a deep cleanser and an exfoliator.


How to use a face mask?

Wondering how often you should use a face mask? You can apply one to your cleansed, dried face once or twice a week. Start by pulling your hair back in a ponytail or with a headband and then apply the mask with your fingertips after cleansing your face; be sure to avoid getting the product on your hairline or on the eye contour area and in your mouth, and do not forget to pull the mask down to your neck.

Every face mask is different, so consult the label to determine exactly how long you should leave it on, especially if it is an exfoliating mask. For most formulas, however, the recommended time is 10 to 15 minutes. Remove it using lukewarm water and follow up with your serum and face moisturizer.

In terms of applying in the morning versus the evening, that is really up to you. Some masks make a great prep for makeup, while others have active ingredients, like retinol, that are better used in the evening.

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