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home>>beauty & fashion>>skin care>>skin care products>>Are Your Cosmetics Wreaking Havoc on Your Skin?

Are Your Cosmetics Wreaking Havoc on Your Skin?

by: Faye Spencer

We all have times when our skin looks less than gorgeous. At those moments we inevitably reach for the miracle products -foundations, concealers, powders-we rely on to cover up the flaws wed like to hide. Yes, makeup is a great temporary fix, and its a wonderful tool for enhancing our best features. But depending on cosmetics to cover over your troubled complexion could actually be making the problem even worse.

Cosmetic Acne - What Is It?

If you use makeup regularly, then those blemishes youre trying to hide could actually be caused by your cosmetics. You can usually tell if your acne has been triggered by a chemical, topic agent because it will look somewhat different from the genetic or hormonal type thats often characterized by red bumps and pustules. Cosmetic acne is more rash-like and generally made up of tiny pinkish or flesh-colored bumps. These bumps can appear anywhere you apply the cosmetics - on your forehead, cheeks, chin or nose, or even on your neck.

People who mistakenly think that these little bumps are chronic low-grade acne of the type that requires topical creams or antibiotics may be tempted to cover up with even more makeup. They pile on the foundation, smothering the skin and creating a more persistent and noticeable rash.

Its important to recognize that this isnt true acne of the type caused by internal factors. Cosmetic acne is all about what you are putting on top of your skin. Therefore, it requires a different treatment. If you want to get rid of cosmetic acne there is a very simple fix: just stop using the makeup thats causing it! In most cases, the acne will clear up within a few weeks of throwing out the offending cosmetics!

What Cosmetics Should You Use?

Does all the above mean makeup is a no-no? Of course not! But in order to avoid potential flare-ups, choose your cosmetics carefully. Opt for formulations made without oils and look for makeup marked "non-comedogenic," which means that they have a lower likelihood of clogging pores. Avoid heavy, thick or greasy substances. And dont be afraid to go bare-faced - we all tend to exaggerate our own flaws, but they are usually much less noticeable to other people. Its good to let your skin breathe as much as you can.

What if you are experiencing isolated breakouts along the hairline or on other parts of the body? You should take a good long look at all the creams, soaps, shampoos and other substances youre putting on your skin in order to determine what could be causing the condition. Sometimes using heavy conditioners can clog the pores around the scalp and even on the neck or back (especially if you have long hair that hangs down and touches your skin). Try switching to a lighter formula, or be vigilant about keeping your hair away from your skin.

If its your body soap that seems problematic, you may want to switch to a formula that offers extra exfoliation to keep pores clean. Consider one that contains the acne-fighting ingredient salicylic acid, which sweeps away dead skin cells and prevents clogs from forming in the pores.

Methods of Application

Finally, remember that sometimes its not just what we are putting on our skin that is wreaking havoc on our complexion - sometimes its how we are applying those substances that needs to change.

For example, scrubbing too hard when applying your facial soap can encourage your skin to produce more oil, leading to acne flare-ups. Rinsing with hot water instead of lukewarm can also promote breakouts, so keep your sink and shower water at a comfortable but not too steamy temperature.

And whatever you do, dont dip your fingers directly into pots of foundation or apply concealer wands directly to blemished areas. Doing so allows oils on your fingers and acne bacteria to take up residence inside your cosmetics - and next time you use that foundation or concealer you risk spreading acne to your fresh, clean skin.

So make it a point to use disposable cosmetic sponges, Q-tips and tissues to keep your makeup pristine, and wash your cosmetic brushes regularly. Toss out any makeup thats been sitting in your cabinet for longer than a few months to ensure that whatever you put on your face is clean and free of potential skin hazards!

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