How to Correctly Apply Skin Care Products

It’s well established that the same skin care product may work well for one person and be less effective or even completely useless for another. Skin care specialists often attribute this to differences in individual body chemistries, and while for some people this can certainly be true, for other people product ineffectiveness is often caused by incorrect application.

So if you want to fully benefit from the skin care products you use and make sure they deliver the expected results you need to learn how to apply skin care products correctly. This article explains in detail the correct way for skin care products application.

Any skin care product consists of two groups of components – active and passive. Active ingredients are those that provide biological action (the treatment effect) on your skin, while inactive ingredients help to protect and/or improve delivery of the active ones. Here the effectiveness of skin care product depends on 3 factors: 1) whether the active ingredients work; 2) whether they are present in sufficient concentration and 3) whether they are delivered to the essential deep layers of your skin in sufficient amounts.

While the conditions 1) and 2) above are the properties of the product and can’t be changed without changing the product, the condition 3) is very much dependent on how you apply the product to your skin and hence can be controlled by you. To ensure optimal absorption of active ingredients and thus maximize the effectiveness of skin care products – here is a list of actions you should take:

  • Apply to clean skin. The best time to apply skin products is right after taking bath, shower or washing. Moderate amount of moisture enhances absorption of product into your skin and thus improves delivery of active ingredients. PRECAUTIONS: a) Never use hot water on your skin as this damages the skin and accelerates its aging. Water should be comfortably warm, not hot; b) When applying comedogenic products (such as those containing petroleum jelly or glycerin, e.g.) cool down your skill with cold water to close your pores before applying any cream or lotion.
  • Apply to damp skin. Skin care products are best applied to slightly damped skin as water helps active ingredients to get dissolve and better delivered to the deeper layers of your skin. So don’t wipe your skin dry after washing or showering; instead, pad it gently with a towel leaving it slightly moist.
  • Apply to warm skin. Warm skin pores also improves absorption of active ingredients by enlarging the skin pores. So if you skin cooled down after bath or shower, warm it up by lightly pressing a damp towel soaked in warm water to the skin. This will open up your pores and ensure better absorption of the product.
  • Use moisturizing cleansing products. Most regular shower gels, shampoos and hand washes contain harsh chemicals and detergents (e.g., SLS) that rid your skin of protective layer and make it excessively dry. So instead of using regular cleansing products use moisturizing soaps and lotions (such as Cetaphil soap or Cetaphil cleanser) or just use water without any cleanser at all.
  • Exfoliate skin before application. Old or poorly maintained skin contains a layer of dead cells that prevents active ingredients from penetrating into the skin. Some people use acid-based exfoliators (such as AHA-based or glycolic acid based), and although these are useful for occasional skin rejuvenation, they are too harsh when it comes to frequent exfoliation required for preparing skin to product absorption. For our purposes it’s better to use a mild scrub, which is gentler and safer option.

An effective natural scrub can be easily prepared at home by mixing table sugar with some water or gentle moisturizing cleanser (Cetaphil cleanser, e.g.). Just mix a tablespoon of sugar with a few drops of water or the moisturizing soap and apply to your face to lightly exfoliate the dead cells layer.

  • Avoid skin rubbing or pulling. Never stretch, pull or rub the skin. Apply skin care products with short, firm strokes. Afterwards, gently pad the skin with your fingertips for 20-30 sec to improve absorption.
  • Check penetration with a test cream. Certain active ingredients cause tingling sensation once they rich your dermis – the deep skin layer on which skin care products should work. A simple test to check penetration can be done with any cream containing capsaicin (a natural component present in chilli peppers), e.g. Zostrix® cream.

If your skin is properly cleansed, a little moist, warmed and exfoliated then after applying capsaicin cream you should feel tingling inside your skin which is a reliable sign of proper active ingredient penetration. If that’s the case then your skin is ready to absorb skin care products. If you feel nothing – then either the active ingredient doesn’t act on you or you might have skipped some of the essential preparation steps listed above. If so – roll back and do them.

NOTE: You don’t need to do the tingling test every time you apply skin care product. Do it a few times after cleansing, then after wetting, then after warming and finally after scrubbing your skin and see after which of these steps the test cream reliably produces skin tingling. Once you establish what skin preparation procedures work for you, just stick with them.

In summary, to ensure the best possible effect of skin care products make sure you follow the right application guidelines we gave you above, and then you can be certain that you making the most of what skin care products are able to give you.

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Filed under: Skin Care Guide

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